INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Bishop Chatard Trojans were always a step or two ahead of the Hamilton Heights Huskies.
On offense, the Trojans found a way to slip through and jump ahead. On defense, they were always there before the Huskies had a chance to turn up field.
The Trojans scored right from the start and never looked back as they beat Hamilton Heights 30-13 Saturday to claim the Class 3A football state title.
It was a tough game, Hamilton Heights gave us a lot of trouble up front, but our defensive coaches did a great job in preparing our players – it was a great team win, Trojans coach Vince Lorenzano said.
Pete Hartley ran for 172 yards and a score and Sam Neighbors threw for 159 yards and a touchdown for the Trojans.
It’s the last time the Trojans will compete for a Class 3A title, at least for a while. Because of the IHSAA two-year success rule, approved before the season started, they will move up to Class 4A next season.
Corey Beck threw for 197 yards on 19-of-43 passing for the Huskies, who fell in their first state finals.
When Chatard’s Stan Jackson fell on the ball in the end zone after forcing a fumble with 1:22 left to play to go up 30-13, it was clear the Trojans would win their third straight state title.
Chatard opened the game on an eight-play drive that ended in a 27-yard field goal by Chase Sadler.
Hartley ran 19 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and Neighbors made a 41-yard pass to Fagan to get down to the Hamilton Heights 19-yard line.
The Trojans forced the Huskies to punt after three plays and then scored on the next play, a 45-yard run by Hartley to take a 10-0 lead with 5:48 left in the first.
Chatard’s Joe Fagan, who caught two passes for 74 yards, trotted backward into the end zone on the second play of the second quarter for a 33-yard touchdown reception to give the Trojans a cushion with a 16-0 lead with 11:18 left to play in the first half.
The Huskies didn’t get their first score until the second half. A 15-yard penalty was called against the Trojans on the kickoff return to open the second half.
The Huskies started on the Trojan’s 47-yard line and eventually scored on a 33-yard touchdown pass to Landon Cunningham with 9:41 left to play in the third.
Hamilton Heights failed the 2-point conversion attempt and trailed 16-6.
Our kids kept battling, Hamilton Heights coach Mitch Street said. I think they might have been a little shell-shocked early because of the physicality of the game, but we came out the second half and kept battling.
The Trojans closed the door on the Huskies when Neighbors threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Henry Hill to go up 23-6 with 10:21 left to play. And the Huskies scored a final time on a 12-yard reception by Spencer Dull to make it 23-13 with 3:54 left to play.
CLASS 4A – CATHEDRAL 56, MISHAWAKA 29: Senior quarterback Connor Rice completed 11 of 13 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, leading Cathedral to its third straight Class 4A football title.
Cathedral (10-5) had 514 yards. Running back Gino Gillum had 132 yards and touchdowns of 4, 1, 15 and 6 yards. The four rushing touchdowns tied the 4A record.
Gillum set up his 1-yard score by returning a second-quarter punt 66 yards, another Class 4A record.
The Irish broke from a 14-14 tie after a hectic first quarter to a 35-14 lead at the half.
Quarterback Sam Schrader led Mishawaka (11-4) by gaining 190 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 23 rushes.