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Second-half mishaps end McCutcheon's season

November 4, 2012
McCutcheon High School

McCutcheon carried the momentum it’s gained this postseason into Reynolds Tigers Stadium Friday night, and for a half, had a favored Fishers team on its heels.

A pair of Jake Shake field goals gave the Mavericks a 6-0 lead before momentum turned in the second half, and the Tigers claimed a 38-13 Class 5A, Sectional 4 championship victory.

“Everything was going our way that first half, and we couldn’t have come out any stronger,” senior linebacker Matt Muncy said. “We played our butts off, and bad field position the second half killed us.”

Fishers advances to play Fort Wayne Snider, a 24-14 winner over Fort Wayne North, in next Friday’s regional.

After a nearly flawless first half, mistakes proved costly to McCutcheon in the second half.

Fishers (9-3) outscored the Mavericks 21-0 in the third quarter despite gaining just one first down.

After a three-and-out, a Fishers punt bounced off the helmet of a McCutcheon blocker and the Tigers recovered at the McCutcheon 19. Two plays later, Maurice Campbell scored a 3-yard touchdown.

A punt return to the 3 set up another Campbell TD run. Then, a forced fumble recovered inside the 10 led to Conner Christiansen’s 6-yard QB draw for a score, and the rout was on.

It ends a season where McCutcheon (3-9) won two postseason games after going 1-8 in the regular season. Both Muncy and senior receiver Jack Beeker mentioned the short punt that hit a McCutcheon player as a turning point.

“We get the three-and-out, we’re feeling good and look back and it hits one of our guys,” Muncy said. “It killed us momentum-wise, but we’ve got to fight through that. We can’t just let that kill our team.”

A partially blocked punt set the Mavericks up with a short field on their first drive. After moving just seven yards in three plays, Shake kicked a 47-yard field goal.

Shake kicked a 30-yarder with 1:14 to go in the first half to cap a 13-play drive where McCutcheon had first-and-goal at the 3 before consecutive plays for negative yards.

The Mavericks were unsatisfied with not completing the long drive with a touchdown.

“We just needed to capitalize when we could, and I don’t think we did,” said Beeker, who caught a 31-yard pass on third-and-14 to keep the drive alive. “That’s why the momentum turned over in the second half. I think it would have been a different game.”

Fishers took some late momentum into halftime. Seth Riley returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards and two big plays put the Tigers in field goal range. Alex Sakakian kicked a 35-yard field goal just before the half to cut McCutcheon’s lead to 6-3.

Lane Beeler scored on a late 1-yard TD run for the Mavericks, who were led by Nate Deno’s 64 rushing yards. Campbell rushed for 114 yards for the Tigers.

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