Senior staff writer
Greenwood’s first football regional championship in 27 years certainly had its share of oddities Friday against Mississinewa on a frigid night at the Woodshed.
No. 11 Woodmen needed 88 plays on offense and 26 first downs to keep the ball out of the Indians’ hands long enough to grind out a 34-27 win.
The Woodmen scored on all three possessions in the first half, twice on a pair of 15-play drives and on a nine-play drive for a 21-14 halftime lead.
The Indians cut the lead to 28-27 in the fourth quarter on Heisman Skeen’s 86-yard TD run.
Oddly, Mississinewa coach Curt Funk went for a two-point conversion with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the game.
That’s when Greenwood senior linebacker Logan Roddy made the defensive play of the game by knocking down the attempted two-point pass to preserve the lead.
“I saw the reverse coming my way and saw him (quarterback Cade McCoin) toss it up,” Roddy said. “I ran right at him, jumped and slapped it away.”
Greenwood (11-2) used up 7:26 on the clock with a 15-play, 63-yard drive that ended on the 12 on downs with 29 seconds to go. On the Indians’ first play, linebacker Isaiah Drew intercepted a pass for a pick-six and the final 34-27 count. After the kickoff Greenwood defensive back Alex Walker plucked the game-ending interception.
“It was unbelievable, the resiliency with which our kids played,” Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said. “I’m proud of our kids and everything they have done to get to this point.”
Greenwood’s scores came from Seth Gallman on runs of 6 and 8 yards, a 30-yard pass to J.R. Myers, a 3-yard run by 245-pound running back Anthony Williams and Drew’s interception.
Gallman, accounted for 214 yards of offense and led Greenwood’s backfield along with Brandon Rosado, 93 yards, and Nick Willham, 51 yards.
The Woodmen travel to No. 10 East Central (10-3) for a 4A semistate matchup. The winner faces No. 1 Lowell (13-0) or No. 8 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (10-3) for the state championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
For the third time in four years, Lutheran will play in a 1A semistate championship game.
The No. 2 Saints dominated host Arlington 50-15 as all-time rushing leader Andre Jones scored Lutheran’s first four touchdowns for commanding 30-7 lead. Jones wound up with 160 yards rushing; teammate Trevor Russell added 123 yards.
Marcus McFadden ran for two TDs, and Dante Atkins capped the scoring with a 6-yard run.
The Saints (11-2) return home for the semistate showdown against No. 5 Eastern Greene (10-3) at 7 p.m., Friday. The winner faces No. 4 Monroe Central (12-1) or No. 1 Pioneer (13-0) for the state championship at noon Friday, Nov. 24, at the stadium.
Lutheran is 22-9 in post-season play under 10th-year coach Dave Pasch.
Streak is over
Center Grove’s bid to reach semistate six straight times ended Friday with a 32-21 loss to No. 7 Avon.
The No. 11 Trojans (6-6) led 14-6 on early TD runs by freshman sensation Carson Steele, who finished with 269 yards on 31 caries.
Avon (11-2), coached by Greenwood native Mark Bless, took command in the second quarter for a 22-14 halftime lead, bolstered by three CG turnovers.