Southsider Voice correspondent
After a winless four-game start, Perry Meridian finally emerged victorious when downing Franklin Central on Friday.
Perry Meridian junior Jordan Marion returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to up the Falcons’ 21-20 lead to the final 27-20 margin in a Conference Indiana matchup.
“We struggled early, but we’re growing; we’re all growing together,” Perry Meridian coach Scott Marsh said. “This win is great for the kids. You want them to win because they play their hearts out.”
Franklin Central rediscovered its offense, scoring three times. Quarterback Chris Arnold ran for 112 yards and passed for 74. The Flashes had scored only two touchdowns in their last three games after defeating Decatur Central 26-21 in their season opener.
The Flashes were plagued by Perry sophomore quarterback Tristen Tonte, who gained 111 yards on 21 carries and completed 10-of-14 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown to junior Brevin Lee. Everett Clark ran for 62 yards with Aaron Austin adding 50.
The Falcons entered the Southside tussle on the heels of a disappointing one-point loss at Terre Haute South after holding the hosts to only nine first downs but succumbing to big plays. Defensively, the Falcons gave up 159 points in their first three games.
“We dominated (Terre Haute South) but we lost,” Marsh said. “As coaches we have seen progress because we have had decent stats, but we weren’t able to put them away. We have a physical defense that plays hard.”
Offensively, the Falcons are following the path of right tackle Kyle Ball, a 6-3, 310-pounder who continues to draw NCAA Division I attention.
“He’s a sledge hammer,” Marsh said. “We’re right-sided when we run, and he’s the reason. Our success on the ground is determined by running behind him. He’s a bona fide big-time player.”
Marsh said he hopes that Tonte continues to improve. The first-year varsity quarterback racked up 185 yards of offense against Franklin Central.
“He is gaining more and more confidence,” Marsh said. “We’ve been trying to figure each other out; we want to use his skill sets in the best way possible.
“Defensively, we are physical in the box from tackle to tackle. Everyone knows we are not fast so we’re trying to get players in the best place possible so we can play to our strengths.”
Power outage can’t dim Cardinals’ outstanding play
Except for halftime, Southport had plenty of power Friday against visiting Bloomington South.
A lengthy power outage at Perry Stadium forced a one-hour delay during halftime in a battle of unbeaten teams. Indianapolis Power & Light linemen were able to restore power so the game could continue although ending around 11 p.m.
Leading 24-10 at the half, the Cardinals sent the Panthers (4-1) reeling in the third quarter on Kevin Wagner’s 1-yard touchdown run and a 32-yard scoring strike from Luke Johnston to Evan Higgs.
Southport racked up 526 yards of offense with 355 yards in the air as Johnston completed 23-of-30 passes and two touchdowns. The Cardinals, No. 5 in the Class 6A coaches poll, are 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Conference Indiana play.
Five other area teams also picked up victories, including first-time winner Center Grove.
Beech Grove’s high-powered offense put up a season-high 60 points in a homecoming romp over Howe as QB Chase Andries and receiver Jamal Brumfield combined for TDs of 19, 10, 33 and 45 yards. Brumfield opened the scoring with an 85-yard kickoff return. The Hornets are 4-1 and have tallied 214 points in their four-game winning streak.
Roncalli, No. 9 in 4A, dominated visiting Scecina by piling up 486 yards of offense and six touchdowns, three of which were scored by running back Nate Fries. The game was deadlocked at 7 early in the first quarter before the Rebels rolled to a 41-7 victory.
Greenwood (5-0) stayed on top of the Mid-State Conference after dominating Plainfield in the second half. The Woodmen, No. 14 in 4A, trailed 10-7 at the half but bounced back on TDs by Tanner Skeel and Jon Gallman, a workhorse who gained 134 yards on 33 carries in the 21-10 win.
After losing to the top three 6A teams in the state from the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference – Warren Central, Carmel and Ben Davis – Center Grove dominated North Central 57-0 for its first conference win Friday. The Trojans, No. 9 in 6A, rolled to 449 yards on offense with six players scoring touchdowns. Calvin Daggett led the way with three scores.
Lutheran moved into a share of the Indiana Crossroads Conference lead with a convincing 49-28 win against Park Tudor. Dalton Nidey scored on runs of 1, 9 and 13 yards, and Andre Jones ran for scores from 45 and 15 yards. The Saints, No. 11 in Class A, and Beech Grove are 3-1 in league play.