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No. 4 Roncalli runs away with sectional semifinal victory
October 29, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By Jason Haddix
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
GREENWOOD—Just before the start of Friday night’s game, a rainbow appeared over the football field at Greenwood High School. After four quarters, it was the Class 4A No. 4 Roncalli Rebels that found the pot of gold as they defeated the No. 8 Greenwood Woodmen 35-14 in the Sectional 14 semifinals.
Despite being less than nine miles apart, this was just the second time the two have battled on the football field. The first meeting was during the 2005 regional when Roncalli took down the Woodmen 17-7.
“Coming into this game, being two south-side teams, a lot of our kids know their kids, and vice versa,” Roncalli coach Bruce Scifres said. “We knew coming in that they had a fine football team, and we just knew we had to be very physical and very fundamental.”
The game was dominated by both teams’ ground attacks as they combined for 538 yards rushing on 91 attempts, compared to 5 completions on 13 attempts for 64 yards through the air.
The Woodmen failed to put points on the board in the first quarter when a pass reception in the back of the end zone was ruled incomplete and the following 33-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left leaving the door open for the Rebels to jump out early.
Rebel quarterback Cam Smock orchestrated an 11-play, 75-yard drive that he capped off with a 1-yard run to take a 7-0 lead.
After a Woodmen touchdown to tie the game at 7, Rebel senior Daniel Ferry fielded the ensuing kickoff at the 1 yard line and proceeded to weave his way through the Woodmen special team on his way to a 99-yard touchdown return. It gave them a 14-7 lead going into halftime.
“The blocking up front was great, the hole was huge and that is what allowed me to get in the end zone,” Ferry said. “I have to give credit to the blockers up front, they are the only reason I can get that done, they gave me a big hole then I just had to beat everyone to the end zone.”
The run broke a 28-year Roncalli record held by Tony Annee, who had a 97-yard return on Oct. 12, 1984, against Greenfield-Central.
“That was huge; that was flat out huge,” Scifes said of Ferry’s kickoff return. “It was 7-7 at the time, it was right before the half. As he broke off on that long run that certainly was a momentum changer.”
That momentum carried over into the second half as the Rebels scored 21 unanswered points after the half.
“Every halftime coach Scifres says, ‘Win the second half,’” Rebel senior running back Dylan Evans said. “That is what we do every game; we win the second half and that is how we win football games.”
With 81 yards rushing with a touchdown, Evans played a big role in the second-half offensive onslaught after netting 41 yards on the ground in the first half.
“It means a lot, we played great,” Evans said about the win. “Offense, defense and special teams all played a great game. The defense gave us great field position all night. Special teams came up with big plays all night.”
The defense forced three Greenwood punts, along with stopping the Woodmen on two fourth downs. It was a Michael Clements interception in the third quarter that led to the Rebels’ final touchdown.
“As soon as the ball was snapped, I saw the No. 2 receiver start to come out, so I slid to him and then he threw the ball up and I went after it,” Clements said. “The defense did a great job tonight… our whole defense made big plays all night.”
Greenwood was led all year by a pair of 1,000-yard rushers—running back Kole Stogner with 1,612 yards and quarterback Ben Heller with 1,136.
“No. 10 (Heller) and No. 2 (Stogner) are great players. Both are really quick and great, hard runners,” Clements said. “Our defense had to switch things up a little bit, go to a different alignment and key in on them.”
Stogner was able to grind out 147 yards on 24 carries; 32 yards below his average. Heller was held to 85 yards after averaging 114 yards in his 10 games this year. Each had a rushing touchdown to account for all of the Woodmen scoring.
“Our goal was to contain them,” Scifres said. “If they were going to run, we wanted to bottle them up…and not break our contain. I think for the most part our guys did a great job of that. You could see a couple times when they did break our contain—they took off.”
The loss ended Greenwood’s (9-2) most successful season since 2005, when they finished 11-2.
“I though our kids stepped up and played very hard, hit hard, tackled hard, blocked hard, ran with the ball hard,” Scifres said. “(They) played with a lot of passion.”
The quest for a title continues for Roncalli (9-2), as they advanced to battle Cathedral (6-5) Friday, Nov. 2, for the sectional crown. It will be the Rebels’ 22nd showing in the sectional final and first since 2005 when they took down Cathedral on their way to the Class 4A state championship.