THE INDIANA FOOTBALL DIGEST'S 2014 HONOR ROLL – SEMISTATE ROUND
BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
Spencer Corey booted a 25-yard field goal as time expired to guide New Palestine (14-0) to a 30-28 upset of top-ranked and defending state champion Columbus East (13-1) in the Class 4A southern semistate. Alex Neligh passed for 139 yards and one touchdown and ran for 104 yards and one tally as the Dragons scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to snap Columbus East's 28-game and 10-game tournament winning streak. James Young added 103 yards on the ground and one touchdown, Sterling Curan added 13 tackles, and Gabe Estes had 12 stops to help New Palestine reach the title game for the first time since 1990. Markell Jones ran 34 times for 157 yards and one touchdown in his final game and finished as the single-season rushing leader with 3,536 yards and 360 points for the Olympians. K.J. McCarter was 8-of-12 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 76 yards, and Sam Dwenger racked up 16 tackles for Columbus East.
Jacob Earl carried the football 18 times for 189 yards and scored one touchdown as North Vermillion (14-0) claimed its first semistate title with a 37-19 win over Indianapolis Lutheran (10-4) in the Class 1A southern finale. Cody Wright added 19 rushes for 99 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 97 yards and one score, and Ethan Lee tallied 101 total yards and one touchdown catch for the Falcons, who scored 27 unanswered points to erase a 19-10 deficit. Jake Reid tossed for 174 yards and one score, and Andre Jones added a scoring run and catch for the Saints.
Chase Dawson connected on a 33-yard field goal with one minute left, leading top-ranked and defending state champion Andrean (14-0) to a 17-15 win over Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (11-3) in the Class 3A northern semistate final. Trevor Berg rambled for 135 yards and two touchdowns as the 59ers won their 29th straight game. C.J. McCarter ran for two touchdowns, including an 18-yard scamper and two-point conversion to give the Knights a 15-14 lead with just over five minutes left. Noah Wezensky passed for 155 yards, and Elijah Jett recorded 10 tackles for Bishop Luers.
Kurtis Wilderman completed 11-of-13 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown and also ran for two scores, leading Evansville Mater Dei (14-0) to a 42-18 win over Monrovia (11-3) in the Class 2A southern semistate final. Drayke Richardt chipped in 93 yards on the ground and one score on 17 attempts and caught five passes for 71 yards for the Wildcats. Trevor Ellis had 19 carries for 271 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs, who finished the season with a state-best 5,805 yards rushing.
Evan Christopher found the end zone twice, including a four-yard touchdown in overtime, leading defending state champion Indianapolis Cathedral (8-5) to a 27-24 win over Bloomington South (11-2) for the Class 5A southern semistate crown. It was the only lead of the game for the Irish, who will be going for their fifth straight state crown. Max Bortenschlager added 168 yards passing with a touchdown pass and run, and Caleb Cross chipped in 106 yards on the ground for Cathedral, which has now won a state-best 29 consecutive tournament games. Bryce Stancombe threw for 258 yards and two touchdown passes to Logan Kirby, Richard Williams ran 29 times for 127 yards, and Tommy Richardson added 17 tackles for the Panthers.
Justin Mersch scampered 16 times for 289 yards and four touchdowns as Pioneer (13-1) racked up 554 yards on the ground on its way to a 62-7 win over South Adams (7-7) in the Class 1A northern semistate title game. Austin Mersch chipped in nine carries for 108 yards and two scores, and Nick Price recorded 12 tackles for the Panthers, who are making their first visit to the title since winning the 1A crown in 1997. Derek Wanner paced the Starfires with 106 total yards and a touchdown pass.
Jake Hendershot threw for 166 yards and a touchdown pass and added 78 yards rushing, lifting Tri-West (12-1) to a 14-6 win over Heritage Hills (12-2) for the Class 3A southern semistate crown. Colton Jobe chipped 137 yards of offense and a scoring reception, and Tyler Watson racked up 14 tackles for the Bruins, who return to the state finals for the first time since winning the Class 2A title in 2004. Logan Wilkerson tossed for 244 yards and tallied 10 tackles for the Patriots, who were limited to 27 yards rushing.
Eric Mazany passed for 89 yards and two touchdowns as LaPorte (8-5) rolled to a 35-7 win over Fort Wayne Snider (10-3) in the Class 5A northern semistate final. Charles Salary went over 2,800 yards rushing with 35 carries for 178 yards and two scores to help the Slicers to their first visit to the state championship game. Matt Otwinowski and Noah Boardman recorded 11 tackles apiece, and Casey Cornett added three extra-points and field goals of 23 and 29 yards for LaPorte. Isaac Stiebeling threw for 141 yards and one score for the Panthers, who were held to minus-29 yards rushing in the first half.
Tyler Weller rambled for 264 yards and two touchdowns and passed for a third tally, leading New Prairie (13-1) to its first semistate title with a 28-10 win over Northridge (11-3) in the Class 4A northern final. Weller also came up with a touchdown saving tackle in the first half, and Drake Dierdorf added two catches for scores for the Cougars, who surpassed the 5,700 yard mark for rushing this season. Cam Ridenour tallied 233 yards on the ground and one score for the Raiders.
Dylan Wright racked up 196 yards rushing and two touchdowns, helping Rensselaer Central (14-0) hold on for a 17-14 win over Lafayette Central Catholic (10-4) for the Class 2A northern semistate championship. Nathan Ziese's 22-yard field goal in the third quarter proved to be the difference for the Bombers, who are making their first state title game appearance. Jackson Anthrop ran for 128 yards and one score for the Knights.