FORT WAYNE – Bishop Dwenger announced its return to the state finals in a decisive manner Friday.
We expect this, senior tight end/defensive back Ryan Wattercutter said of the 38-0 win over East Chicago Central in a Class 4A semistate at Zollner Stadium. We have expected this the whole year. Some people have doubted us, but we just use that as motivation.
No. 11 Bishop Dwenger (11-3) will face top-ranked Columbus East in the 4A state finals at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It will be the Saints’ first state finals appearance in three years. Columbus East (14-0) beat No. 2 New Palestine (13-1) 49-14 in the southern semistate.
This is an awesome feeling, Dwenger senior quarterback Mike Fiacable said. This is our last time as seniors at Zollner, and we wanted to leave our mark. We wanted to leave everything on the field, and that’s what we did.
Seemingly getting better each week, the Saints beat No. 8 New Haven 42-7 in last week’s regional.
I think (the semistate win) was (even more dominant), Watercutter said. We pulled players out (early) in the second half. (East Chicago Central) has a good team with good athletes, but we did everything we could to contain them.
Dwenger was so overwhelming it didn’t even need Fiacable, who threw three first-half touchdown passes. In the second half, Fiacable stayed on the sidelines with ice taped to his injured left wrist. Fiacable threw two touchdown passes to Watercutter, who also had an interception, and one to Gabe Espinoza.
I just go with what the coaches say, and they didn’t want to risk anything happening, said Fiacable, who missed his entire junior season after tearing his ACL.
The Saints will make their eighth state finals appearance, equally divided between 3A and 4A. Coach Chris Svarczkopf is making his fourth appearance at state, finishing as the 4A state runner-up in 2002, 2008 and 2010.
Dwenger had records of 6-7 and 7-5 since their last state finals appearance in 2010, a 31-20 loss to Cathedral at Lucas Oil.
That’s something they have wanted to do for the last three years, Svarczkopf said. I am very happy for them.
East Chicago Central (11-3) won its first-ever sectional and regional titles in the previous two weeks and came into the game averaging 37 points per game. But after giving up 45, 47 and 38 during a three-game losing streak late in the season, the Saints’ defense has given up only 32 points in their last six games.
Dwenger picked off six Cardinal passes. Zach Norton had two interceptions and returned one 35 yards for a touchdown.
We came out and played great and had a great game plan, Norton said. The secondary did what they had to, and the front seven played great. They had some great speed, but we knew if we had stuck to what we had practiced and studied on film we knew what they were doing, and we could stop it.
The Saints led 31-0 at halftime and gave up only 49 total yards in the first half.
This was a very, very good first half, Svarczkopf said. (The defense) came to play, and they earned it tonight.