Some late heroics by quarterback Derek Hart lifted No. 3 Warren Central to its seventh 5A state championship, a 42-36 double overtime win against conference rival No. 1 Carmel.
With the state’s leading rusher, Shakir Bell, on the sidelines with an injury, Hart converted on a pair of fourth-down plays when it mattered most. Down 28-20 with nine seconds remaining, he lobbed a pass to Maurice Magee in the corner of the end zone. Magee landed a couple of feet out of bounds, but the sideline official ruled that he was forced out by Carmel cornerback Matt Seward. Much to the displeasure of Carmel fans, the play was ruled a touchdown and the Warriors converted the two-point conversion.
In the second overtime, Hart ran off tackle on 4th-and-1 and plunged into the end zone for the win. Warren Central had stopped the Greyhounds on a fourth-down pass from the three-yard line prior to the winning touchdown drive.
Carmel head coach Mo Moriarity was vocal about his displeasure with the call on the touchdown at the end of regulation, telling the media after the game that "this never should have went to overtime".
Carmel quarterback Adam Shaffer, the 5A Mental Attitude Award winner, went 17-of-31 passing for 248 yards and five touchdowns, tying the championship game record. Receiver Nick Logan caught seven balls for 159 yards and three scores.
Bell racked up 238 yards and two touchdowns, leaving him as the state’s leading rusher with 3,086 yards and 38 touchdowns in 14 games. Hart was 15-of-36 passing for 185 yards, a touchdown, an interception and three rushing touchdowns.
Warren Central head coach John Hart became the third coach in state history to win a state title with two different teams, his other coming in 2007 with 4A Evansville Reitz. The Warriors finished 13-2. Carmel (13-2) has reached the state title game each of the past four seasons, but have gone just 1-3.
Reitz continues dominance in 4A title run
A week after beating No. 1 Cathedral 31-10, No. 6 Evansville Reitz had to contend with No. 7 Lowell in a rematch of the 2007 4A state championship game, which Reitz won 33-14.
This year, the Panthers again took home a title in dominating fashion with a 23-9 win. Reitz (15-0) won all of its games by double digits this season, having held 10 of their opponents to a touchdown or less.
Wide Receiver Cuda Dimmett got off to a hot start, catching 42- and 46-yard touchdown passes as the Panthers jumped on top of the Red Devils (13-2) early. Reitz built a 20-3 lead by halftime, and while Lowell responded with a two-yard score by running back Brandon Grubbe, the Red Devils never got any closer than nine.
Dimmett caught four balls for 124 yards, and quarterback Matt McIntosh went 9-of-17 passing for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Jeff Hudson did a little of everything in the win: catching four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown (his 13th of the year); throwing Dimmett’s second score; playing strong in the secondary; kicking a field goal and blocking an extra point. Grubbe rushed 30 times for 160 yards in the loss.
West Lafayette takes 3A title behind quarterback's big game
No. 2 West Lafayette has improved each of the past two years, winning eight and 11 games after seven straight losing seasons. Everything came together for the Red Devils in 2009, as West Lafayette scored three first-half touchdowns en route to a 24-10 win over No. 8 Evansville Memorial (10-4).
Quarterback/free safety Daniel Wodicka had a big game for West Lafayette, going 13-of-24 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown, contributing a team-high 115 yards on the ground, and coming up with an interception and a fumble recovery. Running back Andrew Woodard ran 17 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
Memorial came into the game averaging over 33 points per game and riding a 10-game winning streak. The offense clicked in the semi-state against No. 1 Bishop Chatard, propelling the Tigers to a 37-21 win, but managed just 189 yards of total offense against West Lafayette and did not score until late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Grant Gribbins, the state’s leading passer, managed just 123 yards and two interceptions on 20-of-30 passing.
Bishop Luers upends No. 2 Monrovia for eighth 2A title
Monrovia’s dream season seemed to be destined to end in a 2A title after the Bulldogs beat No. 1 Cardinal Ritter in the regional, but Monrovia fell short against Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, 24-17 in championship game.
Luers won its eighth state title and its fourth this decade. Despite the recent success, the Knights’ five losses, all to bigger conference foes, kept them out of the top 10. Luers went on a postseason run that included a 31-point win in the semi-state and a 54-53 double-overtime thriller at Lewis Cass. After allowing 17 points to Monrovia in the first half of the title game, the Knights clamped down on defense and shut out the Bulldogs in the second half, while scoring 10 points in the third quarter to seal the win.
Ken Mullen rushed 15 times for 74 yards and two scores, while quarterback James Knapke went 10-of-16 for 140 yards for the Knights. Running backs Austin Parks (20 carries, 167 yards) and Garrett Johnson (13 carries, 89 yards) each scored a touchdown for Monrovia.
Lafayette Central Catholic completes perfect season with Single A title
The class A championship game featured two undefeated teams, both of whom had breezed through most of their competition this year. Something had to give as Lafayette Central Catholic met up with Fountain Central, and the Mustang defense gave a lot as West Lafayette jumped out to a 28-point halftime lead and finished off Fountain Central with a 52-0 win.
The Knights set a record on defense, allowing Fountain Central only seven yards rushing, 267 yards below their average. Meanwhile, West Lafayette's offense, which was leading the state at 52.4 points per game, was balanced and prolific as usual. Quarterback Chris Mills went 12-of-18 passing for 230 yards for four touchdowns and scored one on the ground.
The Mustangs came into the championship averaging over six touchdowns and more than 400 yards of offense per game, but mustered just 188 yards against West Lafayette and never made it past the Knights' 40-yard line.