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Almost three down, three to go

It’s hard to believe that high school winter sports in Indiana begin in less than three weeks, but we at The Courier-Times will focus on that a little later.

As I type this RR&R column on Oct. 12, the traditional Columbus Day (or Indigenous Peoples Day, take your pick), almost three fall sports are over for local area high schools and three still are going on.

In girls golf, Blue River Valley’s Maci Chamberlin was the only local player to reach the regional.

In boys tennis, Knightstown won its fourth straight sectional championship but was edged 3-2 by Rushville in the Richmond regional semifinals.

In the individual singles state tournament for boys tennis, New Castle junior Trent Alfrey was eliminated by undefeated senior Jack Stirn from Franklin County.

But we aren’t done with boys tennis just yet, as Knightstown’s No. 1 doubles duo of seniors Connor Pyle and Kyle Johnson take their 23-0 record (5-0 in the tournament) to Fishers Saturday for a regional championship match in the state doubles tournament against Brownsburg seniors Ean Alexander and Ben Bayler (14-8, 4-0 in the tournament).

Pyle and Johnson have played doubles together for four straight season and are undefeated during the regular season during the past three.

If you wanted to watch them play in the New Castle sectional, you needed to get there early as their flights against opponents didn’t last all that long.

Riz hopes that Pyle and Johnson go all the way and win the individual state doubles championship.

Last week primarily was soccer week for me, as Monday through Thursday plus Saturday I covered five soccer sectional games involving our four local teams. Unfortunately, they went 1-4 in those games, and we had no local teams win sectional championships.

This is my 18th year covering fall sports for The Courier-Times, the first 11 as a sports correspondent and the past seven as sports editor, and I still don’t understand the offsides call in soccer.

It seems to me that if a player is fast and can get down the field to the ball quickly and ahead of a defender, he or she shouldn’t be penalized for it. Perhaps I’m missing something.

One thing I like about covering soccer is that there is a running clock at all times except for brief stoppages of play after a goal is scored or when there is an injury down on the field. You kind of know when the game is going to end and can plan accordingly.

On my way to Hamilton Heights High School last Tuesday (Oct.5) to cover the New Castle girls soccer team’s sectional game against Jay County, I was driving on old Ind. 132 between Pendleton and Lapel when I came upon a dude driving a golf cart on the road.

The cart had a slow-moving vehicle sign but no license plate attached and, of course, was driving much slower than the speed limit. Because that road is not highly traveled, I easily passed him and continued on my way.

But did I miss something? Is it now legal to drive golf carts on roads and city streets without being properly registered?

I remember in an episode of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, “Leave It To Beaver,” Ward helped Wally and the Beaver build a motorized car, Beaver and Larry took the car out on the city streets of Mayfield, and a policeman pulled the boys over and issued Beaver a ticket for not being a licensed driver and not having a license plate on the vehicle even though the car was only a “one-lunger.”

The judge ended up expunging the violations from Beaver’s record (because of his age) and told Wally and the Beav they should get rid of the car.

I’ve seen golf carts driven on city streets here in New Castle and elsewhere. If it’s now legal to drive golf carts on city streets and highways without being registered, so be it. I just hope nobody gets killed or seriously injured because of it.

Getting back to sports, excluding boys tennis involving Pyle and Johnson, three fall sports still are going on for local high schools: cross country, volleyball, and football.

I look for several local runners to reach the cross country semi-states on Oct. 23, but it’s a major hill to climb after that to reach the state finals Oct. 30 in Terre Haute. I hope at least one of our local harriers makes it to that final weekend.

I’ve seen all six of our local high school volleyball teams several times this season. I try to be honest with you readers, and from what I’ve observed and because of the sectionals they are in, I think Hagerstown in Sectional 41 and Blue River Valley in Sectional 56 have the best chances of capturing a sectional championship.

The football tournament draw was this past Sunday. I really, really want at least one of our five local gridiron teams to win a sectional title so I can cover a regional championship game, and I think this year Tri has the best chance to make that a reality.

Of course the matches and games still need to be played and the races need to be run, and I hope my correspondents and I can get to as many of the fall sports events remaining as we can so you can read about what happened.

David Risley is sports editor of The Courier-Times

Football Raiders fall to Royals

MIDDLETOWN — The Shenandoah High School football team had hopes of staying undefeated in the Mid-Eastern Conference and extending its four-game winning streak when it hosted Eastern Hancock Friday night at Dale Green Field.

The visiting Royals had other ideas, however, and defeated the Raiders 20-14 to finish their MEC slate with a 2-1 record and improved to 5-3 for the season.

Shenandoah saw its records slip to 2-1 in the MEC and 4-3 overall.

The Raiders still have a chance of being tri-champions of the MEC with Eastern Hancock and Class A No. 2 unbeaten Monroe Central if they can defeat the visiting Golden Bears this coming Friday night in the regular season finale.

In last Friday’s game, the Royals got all three of their touchdowns through the air, as Cole Rainbolt, Zach Arnold, and Landon O’Neal caught a TD pass apiece. Aaron Redmon was successful on two of three PAT kicks.

Eastern Hancock quarterback Houston Swan was 12-24-0 tossing the pigskin for 144 yards and the trio of touchdowns.

Rainbolt caught six passes for 65 yards, O’Neal grabbed four balls for 32 yards, and Arnold had two catches for 47 yards.

When the Royals ran the football, Rainbolt was their primary ballcarrier with 26 carries for 79 yards. Swan had five carries for 17 yards and Arnold seven carries for 22 yards.

Shenandoah scored touchdowns on a Dylan Ayres run and a pass from quarterback Carson Brookbank to Drake Stevens. Landen Redick went 2-for-2 on PAT kicks.

Brookbank was 10-14-1 throwing the football for 95 yards and the TD. Stevens caught five passes for 62 yards, Ayres two for 24 yards, Evan Fries two for four yards, and Mayson Lewis one for five yards.

The Raiders had 129 yards rushing. Ayres carried 12 times for 58 yards, Brookbank nine times for 58 yards, and Noah Bowen five times for 13 yards.

Defensively for Eastern Hancock, Kain Sotelo led in tackles with 13, followed by Chase Riggs 10, Brayden Tincher eight, Logan Hoskins six, and Caden Nation five. O’Neal recorded a pass interception and Riggs had a fumble recovery.

Shenandoah did not provide defensive parameters for its players.

The Royals’ Redmon punted three times for 28.3 ypk average, while the Raiders’ Lewis punted four times for a 27.5 ypk average.

Knights defeat host Panthers in football

KNIGHTSTOWN — The Knightstown High School football team hosted Northeastern Friday night at Don Willard Field in its final home game of the season and lost 66-10.

The Knights improved to 4-2 in the Tri-Eastern Conference and 4-4 for the season while the Panthers dropped to 1-6 in both the TEC and overall.

Northeastern rolled to a 60-7 halftime lead, scoring 35 points in the first quarter and tacking on 25 more in the second period. The entire second half was played with a running clock.

An interesting thing about this game was that Knightstown ran almost twice as many plays (62) as did Northeastern (32). But points, not the number of plays run or any other parameter, are what’s most important in a contest.

The visiting Knights had 18 first downs (compared to 11 for the Panthers) and rolled up a whopping 561 yards of total offense, 426 rushing and 135 passing.

Northeastern quarterback Carson Terrell was 5-10-0 throwing the football for those 135 yards and tossed a trio of touchdown passes to Noah Ammerman.

Ammerman had four catches for 101 yards and Ashton Martin one grab for 34 yards.

The Knights utilized six running backs, and four or them rushed for more than 80 yards apiece. Martin carried the ball five times for 105 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, Damon Wilson had four carries for 125 yards and a TD, Dylan Isaacs had three carries for 84 yards and a TD, and Eli Hemmelgarn had three carries for 81 yards and a TD.

Also for Northeastern, freshman Zane Schneider had a trio of carries for 22 yards and freshman Colton Creech had two totes for nine yards.

Dylan Icaacs scored on a two-point conversion and kicked two extra points, and Trace Farris had a two-point conversion.

Twenty-three players for the Knights recorded at least one tackle, led by Justin McGuffey with 12, Trevor Isaacs and Ty Killen with nine apiece, and Martin eight. McGuffey had two QB sacks and J. Hollingsworth and Martin one each. Killen had a pass interception.

The Panthers did not post any of their individual player parameters on MaxPreps by press deadline.

This coming Friday, Knightstown ends the regular season at undefeated Centerville while Northeastern hosts Hagerstown.

BSU wins at WMU for first time since 2003

KALAMAZOO, Mich. —Another fast start on offense, and some more solid defensive play, helped the Ball State football team even its Mid-American Conference record with an impressive 45-20 victory over Western Michigan Saturday afternoon at Waldo Stadium.

For the second straight weekend, fifth-year senior quarterback Drew Plitt found an open receiver on the Cardinals’ (3-3, 1-1 MAC) first play from scrimmage. This time, it was freshman wide receiver Jalen McGaughy who would haul in the pass and run into the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown, just 11 seconds into the game, to give Ball State a 7-0 lead over the Broncos (4-2, 1-1 MAC).

It was the first of four touchdown passes of at least 21 yards for Plitt, who finished the game with a season-high 310 yards through the air. Plitt has now thrown for at least 300 yards in a MAC game six times in his career, with Saturday’s total being his fourth-best overall effort in league play.

On the other end of two of those touchdown passes was senior wide receiver Yo’Heinz Tyler who led all receivers with 93 yards. Tyler’s first touchdown was a 21-yard grab which tied the score at 14 with 11:05 left in the second quarter. The second was a 24-yard snag which pushed the Cardinals ahead 31-20, effectively sealing the victory.

Plitt’s other touchdown pass was a 33-yard strike to fifth-year senior Justin Hall for what proved to be the game-winning score late in the third quarter. Hall, who finished the game with three catches for 49 yards, also ran one in from five yards out with 9:35 remaining in the contest. Hall now has 16 receiving and five rushing touchdowns over his career.

Capping the scoring, and an impressive showing for the Ball State defense, was fifth-year senior safety Brett Anderson II who picked up a fumble and ran it in from 18 yards out to give the game its final score of 45-20.

It was the fourth turnover of the afternoon for a Broncos team which had turned the ball over just twice in the first five games of the season. In fact, junior inside linebacker Clayton Coll’s interception of WMU quarterback Kaleb Eleby as WMU was driving to regain the lead late in the third quarter was Eleby’s first pick in 188 pass attempts.

Eleby’s last interception came in Muncie, during Ball State’s 30-27 come-from-behind victory on Dec. 12, 2020 to clinch the 2020 MAC West Division title and a berth in the 2020 MAC Championship game.

Ball State fifth-year senior Jaylin Thomas would add a second interception to the Cardinals’ stat line on the next possession. Those four WMU turnovers, starting with a fumble forced by fifth-year senior Bryce Cosby in the second quarter, led to 28 total points.

In addition to the turnovers, the Cardinals defense came up with a pair of big red zone stops and forced the Broncos to settle for field goals for their final two scores. The first stop came midway through the second quarter when WMU had first and goal from the seven. The second stop came early in the third quarter when WMU had first and goal from the four.

In addition to his forced fumble, Cosby led the BSU defense with 10 tackles, including one sack. Coll finished the night with seven tackles along with his 25-yard interception return, while Thomas tallied eight tackles to go along with his pick.

Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Tavion Woodard also had a pair of forced fumbles, including the one returned by Anderson for a touchdown.

Also factoring in the scoring for Ball State was sophomore kicker Jake Chanove who connected on a field goal from 27 yards out as time expired in the second quarter to tie the game at the half.

Ball State will make a return trip to the state of Michigan this Saturday when it travels to Ypsilanti for a 2 p.m. kickoff versus Eastern Michigan at Rynearson Stadium.

Lone Panther Scorer in title game

Knightstown’s Owen Newkirk attempts a corner kick against Centerville during the second half of Saturday afternoon’s championship game of boys soccer Class A Sectional 42 at Don Willard Field. Newkirk scored the only goal in the contest for the tourney-host Panthers to give them a 1-0 lead at intermission, but the Bulldogs rallied to nip Knightstown 2-1 for the championship. This photo was suppose to appear with Tuesday’s story about the game, but did not.