By Al Stilley
Senior staff writer
Four Southside football teams have a crack at conference championships during the final two nights of the regular season.
Center Grove (7-0, 6-0 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference) can claim the crown outright Friday at home against Lawrence North (2-5, 1-4).
Beech Grove (5-2, 5-1) can grab a share of its first conference title since 1972 against visiting Triton Central (4-3, 3-2). The Hornets of the Indiana Crossroads Conference shared the Central Suburban Athletic Conference crown 43 years ago with Warren Central and Lawrence Central.
Southport (5-2, 4-1) remains in title contention in Conference Indiana, and Greenwood (4-3, 3-1) still seeks a share of the Mid-State title.
Coach Eric Moore’s 6A No. 1 Trojans clinched a share of the MIC Friday by thumping visiting Pike 59-14. Titus McCoy led the charge by scoring CG’s first two touchdowns and running for 173 yards. Tristan Clark ran for 92 yards, and Jackson Hohlt rushed for 90 as Center Grove’s ground game racked up nearly 500 yards.
Beech Grove ruined Ritter’s homecoming in a 43-40 shootout, defeating the host Cardinals at Marian University for the first time in 12 tries. Hornets quarterback Chase Andries threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Montrez Hearon was the top receiver with five catches for 84 yards and one score. Junior Dylan Allen, sophomore Isaiah Hulse and junior Chance Littlejohn led the defense. Andries opened the game by returning an interception for a 98-yard TD.
Southport defeated Terre Haute South 41-13 as Luke Johnston threw four touchdown passes and junior Andrew Mappes ran for 107 yards. Junior Blake Evans caught 11 passes for 158 yards and three TDs. Defensive leaders were senior Edgar Aleman, sophomore Sam Rust and juniors Jalen Williams and Ethan Vanover.
After winning three Mid-State games, Greenwood fell to visiting 5A No. 7 Decatur Central 28-0. The Hawks spoiled homecoming for the Woodmen by dominating the first half, holding Greenwood to 23 yards of offense while building a 22-0 lead.
Greenwood coach Mike Campbell was undaunted by the loss and said, “We showed that we are very young. We played hard, but we’re not satisfied with the outcome.”
The Hawks’ size, speed and experience were too much for the Woodmen.
DC’s unyielding defense held Greenwood running back John Gallman to 66 yards and pressured sophomore quarterback Seth Gallman into only one completion in 14 passes.
Aided by two pass interference calls against the 5A No. 7 Hawks (6-1, 4-1), Greenwood (4-3, 3-1) drove to the 9-yard line but was stopped on an incomplete fourth-down pass. Greenwood senior Jackson Daugherty intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter that stopped a Hawks’ drive on the 7-yard line, but the Woodmen could not move the ball.
“We didn’t capitalize on a couple of mistakes they made,” Campbell said. “The loaded up the box (defense) and they slowed our releases (receivers). They had a nice scheme. We couldn’t duplicate their athleticism and speed.
“We showed we are young. We played with class and character. We’ll take this game and build on it. It was a good game because we saw a team that could go downhill on us with an option-style offense. This will help us get ready for Franklin and the sectionals.”
The Woodmen visit Franklin on Friday; a win would set up a showdown for a share of the league title against visiting 5A No. 6 Whiteland Oct. 16.