The State Championship rematch between No. 1 Carmel Greyhounds (8-0, 6-0 MIC) and No. 2 Warren Central Warriors (7-1, 6-1 MIC) was circled on everyone’s calendar well before they both went 7-0 to setup this meeting. It didn’t disappoint.
Both defenses entered the game allowing fewer than 100 combined points over 7 games while their offense was averaging 32 (Carmel) and 29 (Warren Central) points a game.
The night began right where last week left off. It was 53°, raining, and the Greyhounds playing their best football. Warren’s #83 Tramell Smith called for the fair catch at kickoff when Carmel elected to kick away from speedy #5 Jaylen Coe. The backfield of #32 Cliff Thomas, #25 Tirone Young, and Coe with the help of quarterback #2 Jordan Leach’s footwork began moving the ball. After a pass to Tramell Smith to the 40 of Carmel, a run by #22 Damonte Williams was stopped for a loss of 5 by DE #85 Dylan Grimm and OLB #4 Noah Burks. On 2nd and 14, Burks again broke through the line and sacked Leach. An incomplete pass into the end zone brought up 4th and 16 at the 46. Warren punted to the Carmel 15.
Carmel’s first two plays disguised their game plan with two runs by RB #5 Shakir Paschall and QB #13 Isaac James. Then James threw a deep ball to WR #14 Collin Pearson who was heavily guarded by Warren’s CB #11 Wilmer Cole. Pearson made an incredible catch and was off to the races for a touchdown, the first Warren’s defense had given up in the first quarter this year. #1 Nick Stacy knocked in the PAT and it was 7-0 Carmel.
Stacy again kicked away from Coe and Warren started at the 30. Running back #15 Isaac Avant picked up 5 on the ground before #26 Dakarai Fulton was stopped for a 1 yard loss on the following play. On 3rd and 6, Leach rolled left but was quickly met by pressure and his pass was intercepted by #22 Luke Parker at the Carmel 42.
Carmel’s running game picked up yard after yard pushing the ball to the Warren 20. James threw a pass into the flat to #87 Jake Herr for 10 more. An offside on Warren put Carmel on the 5 where #21 Chris Perkins shrugged off two tackles for the TD. PAT was good. 14-0 Carmel with 26.9 seconds left in the first.
The Warriors were not shaken. After a 5 yard return from the 30, a steady dose of Jordan Leach and Tirone Young on the ground and a slant to Tramell Smith to brought Warren to the Carmel 28. Leach made a great sell of a hand-off for a 14 yard keeper down the left side. Two plays later Leach punched it in for a touchdown. Kicker #14 Schuyler Nehrig hit the PAT and Warren had battled back to 14-7 Carmel.
Warren Central got a deep kick down to the Carmel 1 and #3 Jalen Walker brought up to the 12. Carmel stumbled with two consecutive penalties pushing them back to the 2 yard line before Chris Perkins got back to the 9 bringing up 2nd and 11. Isaac James was intercepted by Warren’s big free safety #18 Mykelti Williams at the 35 and returned it to Carmel’s 21.
Tirone Young put the ball on the 14 on 1st and 10 and then on the 10 after a short run to the left. Leach kept it for a 3 yard gain, but his helmet came off and was forced off the field for the following play. Carmel took advantage of the change with an all-out blitz on QB #10 Phillip Austin and MLB #56 Jesse Clifford got the sack. The following Austin pass was nearly intercepted by CB #15 Landon Sinnis which setup a 28 yard field goal by Nehrig, his second of the season, with 4:50 in the second.
Carmel’s offense slowed on the next possession for a 3-and-out and punted to the Warren 30 where it was Coe bobbled the catch for no gain.
Warren moved methodically up the field on the final possession of the half with careful clock management. With 16.2 on the clock, 2nd and 10, Leach threw an excellent pass to WR #6 Donnell Johnson for a 29 yard gain to put Warren on the 3. Out of timeouts, Leach spiked the ball with 8.2 left. Mykekti Williams replaced Leach at quarterback for the final play, but was stopped short on the 2 where the half closed.
The second half was the polar opposite of the first and both defenses turned it up to 11. Carmel got to the Warren 29 on the first possession, but the next 5 were all 3-and-outs.
In an odd occurrence, with 1:43 in the third, a flag was thrown for what many thought was an unsportsmanlike play. It turned out to be two players face masks that had become tangled and the flag was picked up. Carmel took possession with the punt and moved the ball with a few short runs before the end of the third. The fourth began with Jalen Walker breaking tackles for a 15 yard gain. Three plays later and the drive had stalled out on the Warren 35 where they turned it over on downs.
Two more 3-and-outs later and Carmel was punting to Coe. In a questionable call, it was ruled that Coe touched the ball before backing away and Carmel recovered on the Warren 30.
Carmel got it down to the 14 with 3:59 left, but had to settle for the 25 yard Stacy field goal.
Leach worked the quick-outs on their final possession working it to the Carmel 35 on 3rd and 1. Leach went deep for an incomplete pass bringing up 4th and 1 where he took the draw to the 29. Leach kept his legs churning to pick up 7 more before being stopped for no gain on the next play. Warren took the timeout with 1:16 left. On 3rd and 3, Leach threw an incomplete pass. Leach again tried to go for it all on 4th and 3, but it was incomplete. A flag was thrown for a personal foul, but it was well after the play which had already resulted in a turnover-on-downs. Carmel took the victory formation and the 17-10 win over Warren Central.
Carmel hosts Lawrence Central (3-5, 3-3 MIC) and Warren Central travels to St. Xavier (Cincinnati, OH) (5-2, 2-1 GCC) next week.
All images appearing in the Indiana Sports Report web site are the exclusive property of Indiana Sports Report, the photographer and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Indiana Sports Report and/or the photographer.
All Content and Images (c) 2013-2016, Indiana Sports Report. All Rights Reserved.