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Warren Central knocks off Carmel in overtime
October 23, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By Jason Haddix
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
CARMEL — A blind draw selection for the IHSAA sectional pitted two teams, which have won seven of the last nine Class 5A football championships, against each other Friday night at Carmel High School.
For the third time in the last six meetings between the two football powers, it took triple-overtime to settle the score as the No. 11 Warren Central Warriors outlasted the No. 4 Carmel Greyhounds 31-24 to set up a matchup with top-ranked Lawrence Central next week.
Carmel (8-2) jumped out to a two-touchdown first-quarter lead, but the Warren Central defense tightened up and held the Greyhounds scoreless for the remainder of regulation to force overtime.
“Any team would have bailed down 14-0, but we just kept fighting,” Warren Central interim coach Steve Tutsie said. “That is a true mark of adversity and so emotional. I have never been around a situation like this before. It has been one thing after another.”
Tutsie, who took over the team after the resignation of former head coach John Hart, said that through the adversity his team has faced this season, they have stuck together with the help of the “Warren Central family,” even when most wrote the team off.
The Warriors’ comeback started in the second quarter when senior running back, Shaq Breeding broke a 30-yard touchdown run to get within 7 points of the Greyhounds.
“Keep fighting. We have been here,” Tutsie said was his message to his team. “Everybody is going to give up on us…keep fighting. We are not going to give up.”
A mix of run and pass for the Warriors, including a Breeding 22-yard scamper and a 22-yard pass to Raymond Epps, set up a 1-yard game-tying touchdown run by Anthony Cooper-Taylor.
“We committed to the run and our offensive line moved them [Carmel] off the ball,” Tutsie said. “That set up the play-action which was huge.”
The Warriors’ offense was led by Breeding’s 145 yards on 32 rushing attempts and by Epps’ 125 yards on four catches – both getting in the end zone once.
“We knew we were going to have a tough game against Carmel, so we came out here working as one,” Epps said. “I give it to my O-line and my quarterback; without them I can’t get anything.”
Carmel had a chance to win in regulation as they drove to the Warren Central 35 when Carmel coach Kevin Wright called on Billy Stumbo to kick a 52-yard field goal. A delay of game penalty forced him to call a deep pass, which fell incomplete to close out the fourth quarter.
For the second time this season the two teams need overtime to determine the outcome.
The Warriors took the ball first in overtime, and on third down Cooper-Taylor ran in from four yards out to give Warren Central a 21-14 lead. Carmel answered when John Lampe scrambled on fourth down to avoid the defense and hit Austin Roberts as he was falling backwards in the end zone and blanketed in coverage with a 16-yard touchdown.
“I threw my headphones, I will probably have to play for the headphones,” Tutsie said. “I thought…fourth (down) again, but we came back, the kids didn’t follow coach Tutsie because I was a little upset.”
In the second overtime, both defenses held and forced field goals to make it 24-24
Warren Central opened the third overtime with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cooper-Taylor to Epps and after the PAT it was 31-24.
“Epps was pretty big, he came back just in time,” Cooper-Taylor said.
This was Epps first game back for the Warriors since a shoulder injury had him sidelined since the beginning of September.
Tutsie called Epps a special player and said his game-winning touchdown was set up by his team’s ability to run the ball on the Carmel defense. He added that the offensive plan was to run the ball, and he commended the offensive line for controlling the line of scrimmage.
“This was our chance for redemption,” Cooper-Taylor said. “It was showing the state we could win. We knew we could, we just had to show it.
“We got to ride the train all the way to state.”
During the post-game interview, Tutsie became emotional on a couple of occasions. His pride was evident and overwhelmed him while responding to reporters.
“First of all, anybody that knows me, I am about Warren Central High School,” he said. “It is special to me but it is all about our kids.
“Nobody knows what these guys had to endure,” Tutsie said. “You loose your coach in May and man, we just kept fight through every bad break, every adversity and gosh dang the good guys won today.”