Senior staff writer
Center Grove’s football team goes for its second state championship Nov. 28 at Lucas Oil Stadium because of its most shining moment Friday on its home field.
Titus McCoy had scored on a 10-yard run in the second overtime of a 6A semistate playoff thriller against visiting Avon. With Center Grove trailing No. 7 Avon 33-32, it was decision time after McCoy’s TD to go for only one point for yet overtime or a potential game-winning two points.
The No. 1 Trojans decided on two and inserted defensive standouts Jovan Swann and Cameron Tidd into the offensive line. McCoy, who had 198 yards on 36 carries, bulled his way behind the pair and junior lineman Clay Hadley.
When McCoy scored, it wiped out four consecutive years of frustration for the Trojans, who had made their way to a semifinal matchup only to be rebuffed by Ben Davis, Warren Central, Lawrence Central and Carmel.
“I was the Marv Levy of Indiana coaches,” Moore grinned in reference to the former Buffalo Bills coach who reached four Super Bowls without winning. “We’ve played (five semistates) against powerful teams, great athletes and great coaches.”
Avon (10-3), coached by Greenwood native Mark Bless, was an exceptional foe. Quarterback Brandon Peters, a University of Michigan recruit, threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns and also put the Orioles ahead 33-26 on a 1-yard run in the second overtime.
McCoy, as usual, was the rock of the Trojans’ ground game. His 2-yard run tied it at 17, and he scored TDs in both overtimes.
Center Grove quarterback Joey Siderewicz, a third-generation player, completed six passes for 72 yards and a second-quarter 28-yard TD pass to Jackson Hohlt.
The Trojans (13-0) earned their third trip to the state finals to face Penn (12-1) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. Center Grove won the championship trophy in 2008 in a historic comeback against Carmel, defeating the Greyhounds 36-33 after trailing by 19 points.
No. 4 Penn defeated Carmel 16-10 to reach the state finals. Penn downed the Trojans 21-0 in the 2000 championship game in Moore’s second year at the helm. Penn owns five state titles but has not won since defeating the Trojans.