By Anthony Mock
Hamilton Southeastern ended Warren Central’s streak of 26-straight playoff victories last year in convincing fashion. The Class 5A No. 9 Warriors got revenge in a big way on Friday, crushing the unbeaten No. 2 Royals 49-21.
“Our defense played really well,” Warrior head coach Jon Hart said. “(Hamilton Southeastern) had something like an 18-2 turnover ratio, and we managed to force four. That’s really what created the separation (in the score).”
Warren Central fumbled on the opening drive and was stopped on downs on its second possession, allowing Hamilton Southeastern to take the lead, 7-0. After a missed Royal field goal, the Warriors took the game over.
Warren Central scored the next five touchdowns, all on the ground, and took a commanding lead. Hamilton Southeastern cut the deficit to 35-14 after quarterback Jordan Hoffman hit receiver Charlie Duffy on a 19-yard pass, but the Warriors scored twice more on the ground to squash any chance of a comeback.
Warren Central’s strong stable of running backs racked up 450 yards, 246 of which came on Eric Williams’ 18 carries. Fellow senior George Cheesebourough tallied 166 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. The Warrior defense held the Royals to 311 total yards of offense, putting the clamps on Hoffman, who went 10-of-27 passing for 172 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Warren Central’s (7-3) sectional semifinal game will be at home against Fishers (7-3). It seems like somewhat of a mismatch, the Warriors having more state titles – five – than the Tigers have years in existence, three. Still, Fishers has played a tough schedule and beaten some solid teams, not something that Hart is going to overlook.
“They run a very unique offense and it gives opposing defenses a lot of trouble,” Hart said. “I think our experience is helpful, but there have been plenty of instances of new or young teams going a long way, like (Major League Baseball’s) Tampa Bay (Rays). The greatest upset in Super Bowl history was by a young (New York) Jets team. Especially in the second or third round (of sectional), you have to be prepared. Otherwise it’s one-and-out.”
Ben Davis Passes Test at Pike
Ben Davis wanted to prove that it was for real after last week’s upset of then-No. 1 Carmel. They did it on Friday, exacting a 34-14 revenge beating on Class 5A No. 6 Pike, who eliminated the Giants in the second round last year.
Ben Davis managed to limit Pike’s star running back Dakota Tyler to just 20 total yards on 16 touches and the Red Devils as a whole to 66 yards rushing. Pike came into the game averaging over 30 points per game over its last five contests, all wins. Despite only managing two touchdowns in the contest, the Red Devils were still in it in the second half.
Trailing 13-7 in the third quarter, Pike recovered a Miles Wright fumble on its own 35. The referee ruled that the runner was down, however, so the Giants retained possession and running back Chris Dudley proceeded to gallop 34 into the end zone to take a 20-7 lead. Ben Davis never looked back after that, outscoring Pike 14-7 in the final quarter and advancing to next week’s match-up at Brownsburg (5-5).
The Giants spread the workload around evenly on offense between running backs Wright, Dudley and Asher. Asher led the way in terms of yards, tallying 115 on the ground and catching a 25-yard pass. Dudley and Wright ran for 109 and 99 yards, respectively, and each score a pair of touchdowns.
Tough Irish Defense Smothers Roncalli
The rivalry between city Catholic schools is always palpable, especially between class 4A powerhouses Cathedral and Roncalli. No. 4 Cathedral got the best of the Rebels, eliminating them in the first round of the sectional for the third-straight year, 21-8.
Roncalli managed just 47 total yards in the first half and 211 overall. Cathedral managed only 159 yards of offense, but did not need much as the Irish defense was all over Rebel quarterback Kevin Banich. Banich went 15-of-29 passing for 181 yards, but was sacked eight times, picked-off twice and could not manage to find the end zone until the fourth quarter. The Irish also scored their first points of the game off of a blocked punt by Kakpindi Jamiru, who scooped the ball up and ran it for the touchdown.
Running back Nick Najem led the Irish with 43 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Quarterback Kofi Hughes put the game away in the third quarter with a 29-yard pass to Sean Collins. Hughes had 77 yards on 3-of-7 passing.
Cathedral (7-2) will play at Greenfield-Central (4-6) on Friday.
Other Big Upcoming Sectional Games
Southport (9-1) at Avon (8-2)
Avon held Arsenal Tech (5-5) to just 91 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers en route to a 49-3 stomping. The Orioles tallied 200 yards on the ground and had three different running backs find the end zone.
Southport rode on the shoulders of superstar running back Nick Turner, who had 204 yards and five touchdowns against Perry Meridian (0-10). The Cardinal defense gave up 292 yards passing, but the Falcons had little recourse after going down 28-0 in the second quarter on their way to 56-35 loss.
Center Grove (9-1) at Bloomington South (8-2)
Center Grove tallied 444 rushing yards against Terre Haute South (3-7) in a 49-14 win. The Trojans were led by running back Luke Swift with 126 yards on 11 carries and had six different players reach the end zone.
Bloomington South survived in overtime against Columbus North, 40-37.
Shelbyville (9-1) at East Central (9-1)
Shelbyville is coming off a win against Franklin County where it scored 42 unanswered points on the way to a 49-7 win. Running back David Brown, who recently committed to Ball State, had 134 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
East Central beat Connersville 59-7 in the opening round.
Broad Ripple (7-3) at Plainfield (8-2)
Running back Zane Fakes led the way for Plainfield with 209 yards and three scores as the Quakers trounced Frankfort 28-7.
Broad Ripple, fresh off a Indianapolis Public Schools Athletic Conference championship, won its first playoff game since 1996 against Northwest, 23-8. The Rockets were led by running back Martell Baker, who had 151 and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Bishop Chatard (8-1) at Greensburg (7-3)
Defending champion Chatard is coming off of a first-round bye, while Greensburg slipped past Batesville, 34-28.
Heritage Christian (9-1) at Shenandoah (9-1)
Fresh off a tough loss to 1A No.1 Cardinal Ritter, Heritage Christian came out firing against Union County. Quarterback Jason Kirtley went 14-of-18 passing for 251 yards and threw seven touchdowns in a 53-7 win.
Shenandoah had a considerably tougher test against 7-3 Triton Central. Running back Luke Hamm scored the Raiders’ first two touchdown en route to a 28-14 victory.
Sheridan (9-1) at Lafayette Central Catholic (9-1)
No. 3 Sheridan began its quest for a fourth-straight state title in impressive fashion with a 55-6 win over Tri-Central. No. 6 Lafayette Central Catholic is coming off of a 40-14 win against Park Tudor.
Boys Tennis: Chappelle Gets Second State Title
North Central sophomore Nick Chappelle capped a 25-0 season with a second-straight state singles championship.
Chappelle had a fairly tough semifinal match against Robin Marchione of Hanover Central, 6-4, 6-4. Once that was through, Chappelle took on senior Billy Heuer of Munster and won handily, 6-2, 6-2. Heuer had only two losses all season, both at the hands of Chappelle.
Zionsville’s duo of Nick Laconi and Joe Hammond squeaked out the state doubles title, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 against Daniel Desper and Derek Romer of East Noble.
Cross Country: North Central Senior Wins Semi-State in Upset
North Central senior Emily Mossler put all the pre-race picks to rest as she ran the semi-state meet at Northview Christian Life Church in Carmel in record time.
Mossler’s time of 18:13 was more than four seconds faster than the runner-up, Franklin Central’s Jasmine Al-Anzi, and two seconds faster than the previous course record time, which was set by Center Grove’s Sarah Higgens only last month.
Higgens, the pre-race favorite, rounded out the top three individuals, while Carmel easily took the top team spot with 44 points. The Greyhounds were 75 points better than their nearest competitors and placed three runners in the top 10.
The boys’ meet was won by North Central freshman favorite Futsum Zeinasellassie with a course-record time of 15:16.6, edging out a pair of Fishers runners, Drew and Alex Shields, for the win. Carmel took the overall team title with a score of 53, 40 points better than runner-up Fishers.