The Lutheran-Scecina football showdown Friday stood as no ordinary matchup between the two highly-ranked teams.
Undefeated Lutheran entered the game as No. 1 in Class A, while Scecina was No. 2 in AA. Then put two of the state’s best small-school running backs - Lutheran’s Marcus McFadden and Scecina’s Tyishaun Woods – on the field for one of the state’s top matchups.
Each running back accounted for more than 250 yards total offense with McFadden scoring three times, once on a fumble recovery for a 30-yard score. Woods scored on an 80-yard pass play and a 5-yard run. And they are on target to surpass 1,000 yards rushing again.
This Indiana Crossroads Conference tilt featured more than the two running backs.
Lutheran’s opportunistic defense stopped the Saints (4-2) enough times to mold a 42-21 win at home and continue its command of the league.
“This was our most complete win this season,” veteran coach Dave Pasch said. “We seek to play like a championship team every week. We play good teams every week. This (ICC) has to be one of the best small-conference teams in the Midwest.”
When it was over, McFadden gave all the praise to the o-line. The starters were senior Peyton Knight (225 pounds), juniors Tyler Richards (265) and Hayden Filipovich (210), sophomore Christian Pulliam (260), and freshman Jacob Roberts (215).
“I’m looking to follow my big guys,” McFadden said. “A lot of our plays, we lead around the edge, we pull and I get behind them and let them do the job for me.”
McFadden also explained what he sees as the blocking pattern forms: “I look at the way the defense positions themselves. If they are outside, I’m going to cut inside; if they are inside, I’m going to cut outside. When they (defense) are out of position, we are going to work off it.”
The shifty running back is among 13 seniors, including Knight, running back Dante Akins and receivers Logan Beard and Jalen Elliott.
McFadden (linebacker), Filipovich (lineman) and linebacker Montasi Clay, whose interception led to the Saints final TD, were the top Saints on defense.
The Saints latest win had its impact upon seniors.
“We’re not all the way there; we definitely can improve every week,” McFadden said. “We want to be in Lucas Oil (state championship game); that’s the final goal. We’re seniors and we want to finish with a bang; do something Lutheran’s never done before.”
The Saints senior class has played in nine playoff championship games and against 23 ranked teams in their four seasons.
Beard, a seasoned senior, also looked at the Saints’ fifth win as a big step.
“We’re really taking it one game at a time,” the 6-0 pass-catcher said. “We’re playing together, especially when we face adversity in each game – we’re coming together as one. We’re pushing hard one game at a time.”
Beard continued, “Coach (Dave) Pasch lectures to us to become senior leaders to bring everyone ‘up’ and to stay positive. We (seniors) are growing up and maturing with each game. This year we’re ready to play.”
Pasch said he huddled with the seniors Thursday in final preparation for Friday night lights.
“This group (seniors) has done a lot,” Pasch said. “We approached this as what could be the conference championship game. That was the environment for this game. We have big-game experience against great opponents. At this point with our experience, there are no excuses. We won because we made the fewest mistakes.”
Pasch added that the Saints played together Friday with confidence, composure, and precision.
And those are the characteristics of a championship team.