Halle Archer has been the heart of the Switzerland County women’s football team since the moment she stepped onto the pitch three years ago. With her ability to control the center, handle the ball and put her team in the right position, she is the engine that keeps the Pacers going.
But with several key graduations from last year’s record-breaking team, Archer had to add a new responsibility to her game – team leader – and it’s a role she’s played to perfection in 2022.
Archer is the Madison Courier Girls Football Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons and it’s hard to argue the selection. With 29 goals and 15 assists, she was an attacking force in which few opposing teams had an answer.
But it was his leadership that stood out and helped lead the Lady Pacers to an undefeated regular season and their second straight section title.
“I absolutely had to step in and be like Raylinn (Kappes). Raylinn always talked to us and told us what to do,” Archer said of her former teammate who graduated a year earlier. “So I was like, OK, I have to do this. I knew coming in that I had to tell everyone what was going on and make sure the pitch was well run and we didn’t look like a mess there.
The Pacers looked anything but messy in a spectacular season. Other than draws at Oldenburg Academy and New Albany, Switzerland County was untouched until the region where the Pacers suffered their first and only loss to powerhouse Providence.
Archer wasn’t the Pacers’ only weapon, but on an all-star team, she stood out. On the rare occasions when the team had their backs against the wall, it was Archer they turned to and who came to bail them out.
“Halle has stepped up in scoring and has been a playmaker as well. She leads the team in goal and assists and gets a lot of attention, a lot of double teams and sometimes triples so she is able to shoot or pass the ball for a goal,” Switzerland coach Courtney Dayadharum said.
Archer’s season has also caught the attention of other people. She was the MaxPreps Indiana Girls Football Player of the Week once and the Ohio River Valley Conference Player of the Week four times, as well as an all-conference and all-section performer.
Archer was happy with the season, but like everyone involved with the program, she was disappointed with the loss to Providence. This year marked the second year in a row that Switzerland have been ousted by Providence in the regional and they are looking forward to a potential third encounter.
“It definitely didn’t end the way we wanted. We were hoping to be state finalists. We had a nice group of veterans and then we had young girls who really played their part in midfield,” Archer said. “We will definitely get stronger next year. We have a few freshmen coming up playing club football. I think there are eight freshmen coming in and at least seven of them are playing clubs. Losing Dakota (senior) (Richards) will hurt and it’s sad, but we will have good players.
Archer is the fourth consecutive player from County Switzerland to win the top Madison Courier award, following Maddie Anderson (2019), Archer (2020) and Kappes (2021).
Archer has already turned to basketball, where she’s the leading scorer on a Lady Pacer team that broke a 2-1 record in Friday’s game against the Rising Sun. But his thoughts never stray too far from football.
As Archer looks forward to next season, she’s also starting to consider potential college destinations. Dayadharum knows that Archer will also be a force at the next level.
“She has really done a great job this season knowing when to keep the ball on her feet and knowing when to let go. But sometimes it lasts too long,” Dayadharum said. “I think once she figures out what to do, she’ll be very hard to stop.”