Dragons move to 7-0 with Senior Night win
October 5, 2013By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School
New Palestine's football team again had a dominant performance Friday night, blanking Shelbyville 44-0 on Senior Night at Kelso Stadium.
The Dragons outgained the Golden Bears 451-51, scored a season-high 42 first-half points and pitched their first shutout in 20 games.
The victory improved NP to 7-0 and 4-0 in HHC play. Shelbyville fell to 4-3 (2-2).
The Red Rage defense forced three turnovers, and even got in on the scoring itself, with Nick Brickens leading a gang tackle to register a safety in the closing minutes of the game.
The two turnovers led to another Dragon specialty this year – quick scores. With NP leading 7-0 late in the first quarter, linebacker Gabe Estes recovered a Golden Bear fumble at the 44, setting up a four-play drive that was keyed by a 36-yard pass to Noah Grable. Quarterback Blake Luker finished it with his second rushing TD of the day. On the next play, Garrett Kuhn intercepted a pass, setting up two TDs in a 26-second span. Luker hit Duke Blackwell for a 40-yard TD pass with 1:20 to go in the opening quarter, making it a quick 21-0 game.
The Dragon offense was also potent, scoring on six of its seven first-half possessions to roll up a 42-0 halftime lead. Blake Luker ran for three TDs and threw for two more. He was 16-for-20 for 224 yards in the passing game – spreading the ball around to seven different receivers. He also ran for 68 yards on nine carries. The Dragons amassed 451 yards of total offense – 316 in the first half.
He was both efficient – completing eight of his first 10 passes – and spectacular. A 44-yard run midway through the second made it 28-0 when he broke a tackle at the 40, cut back and used a downfield block by Guedel to scamper into the end zone. On the next possession, an impressive play led to a 31-yard TD pass to Brickens on fourth down. Luker had to retrieve a high snap at the 50 with a Golden Bear bearing down on him. He escaped, took off running, but spotted his receiver wide open in the end zone and flung him the ball.
The Dragons were solid throughout the offense Friday night. Seven different receivers caught passes, and the running game amassed 227 yards. Senior Nolan Hill had his career high with 112 of those yards on 24 carries. He carried the bulk of the load after halftime, with 77 yards.
The Dragon offense was efficient early, with Luker completing passes of 14 and 24 yards to Nolan Guedel to set up a nine-play, 64-yard drive on the game’s opening possession. He capped it off with a 3-yard run, but the dagger came pretty quickly thereafter, with another flurry of points.
The Dragons honored their 17 seniors before the game, and also throughout the night. They gave themselves a spectacular finish at home – going 4-0 at Kelso Stadium during this regular season.