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By Al Stilley
Southsider Voice correspondent
Beech Grove’s football team is for real.
The Hornets are riding a three-game winning streak after dismantling previously unbeaten Scecina 54-22 Friday at Manual High School’s Ray Schultz Field.
Beech Grove overpowered and defeated the Crusaders for just the second time since 2005. Scecina had averaged 40.25 points per game against the Hornets in their last four meetings before Friday’s turn of play.
Coach Mark Weller’s Hornets have scored 50 or more points in each of their last three games while averaging 459.5 yards of total offense. They racked up a season-high 532 yards against Scecina and are atop the Indiana Crossroads Conference with a 3-1 record after opening the season with four league games; all of their wins have come on the road.
“This is an unbelievable feeling,” Weller said. “I’m so proud of our seniors. This is their fourth year together; things have really started clicking in all aspects.
“Any time you can knock off programs like Speedway and Scecina back-to-back, it shows how far we’ve grown. Our kids are staying focused; they executed. They closed it out, and that’s something we haven’t enjoyed game after game. This is their first experience with winning (three in a row). They’re starting to see their hard work and dedication pay off.”
The Hornets and Crusaders (3-1, 2-1) combined for eight touchdowns and only one defensive stop apiece in a frantic first half, which Beech Grove turned around in the final minute. Leading 30-22 with 52 seconds left in the half, Beech Grove’s defense stopped Scecina on fourth-and-one on the Hornets 26.
The Hornets were not content with their slim lead.
Sophomore quarterback Chase Andries scrambled for nine yards. And then on second down, he unloaded a short pass to LaMonte Richardson, and the fleet junior running back did the rest for a 65-yard TD that demoralized the Crusaders. The Hornets led 38-22 at half.
Richardson scored twice in the third quarter on runs of 87 and 5 yards for the final margin and finished with 235 yards rushing on 14 carries. Andries, a true double threat, threw for three TDs and ran for one more while racking up 283 yards of total offense.
Andries already has 1,360 yards of total offense on the season. Richardson is the rushing leader with 463 yards.
“They bring an added dimension,” Weller said. “Chase can run it and throw it, and LaMonte can take it inside or outside. Our opponents can’t load up on the run or the pass, and that’s a credit to our offensive line.”
The Hornets gave up 206 yards in the first half but tightened their defense in the third quarter with two interceptions and by stopping the Crusaders on the 10.
By defeating Scecina, the Hornets turned the conference title chase into turmoil. Beech Grove, Scecina, Triton Central, Lutheran, Ritter and Monrovia have only lost one game each in league play. Speedway and Park Tudor have three losses each.
Beech Grove is host to No. 7 2A Monrovia on Friday and No. 10 2A Ritter on Oct. 3 before visiting Triton Central on Oct. 10 in games that will go a long way in deciding the conference championship.
Three teams roll
Southport, Roncalli and Greenwood came up with timely wins Friday.
The Cardinals, No. 6 in the 6A coaches poll, built a 21-7 lead over Terre Haute North before hanging on for a 21-17 Conference Indiana win. Southport QB Luke Johnston completed two TD passes and threw for 311 yards. North picked Southport’s defense for 334 yards. Bloomington South tests the Cardinals at Perry Stadium on Saturday for first place in the league.
Roncalli’s defense limited host Plainfield to only six first downs and a third-quarter field goal in a 27-3 win. Rebels QB Casey Gore threw for 166 yards, including a first-quarter 80-yard TD to Robbie Strader.
Mid-State Conference leader Greenwood (3-1, 2-0) overcame 116 yards in penalties at Mooresville, mostly pass interference calls that were questioned by coach Woodman Mike Campbell, and defeated the Pioneers 38-26. Greenwood junior running back Jon Gallman ran for five TDs and 205 yards.