Dragons blank Rebels, advance to title game
November 2, 2013By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School
It took just two offensive plays for the New Palestine football team to get started Friday night, and the Dragons executed nearly-flawlessly in a 53-0 victory over host Muncie South in the Class 4A Sectional 21 semifinal.
New Palestine is 11-0 for the second time in school history -- and the second time in three years. The Dragons will host Mt. Vernon next Friday for the sectional championship.
The Dragons' first two plays from scrimmage -- a 7-yard run by James Young and a 20-yard TD scamper by Blake Luker -- got the ball rolling on a 553-yard offensive performance. Young ran for 197 yards on 25 carries and three scores -- his fourth 100-yard game of the year -- while Luker ran for 76 and threw for 159, amazzing two scores each on the ground and in the air.
NP led 21-0 after a quarter and 47-0 at halftime, as the No. 1 offense scored on seven of its eight first-half possessions.
Young had a big first quarter, capping off two TD drives with 7-yard runs exactly 90 seconds apart, helping the Dragons build that early three-touchdown lead with 3:22 to go in the opening quarter. The first score was set up by a 24-yard pass to Noah Grable. The second was set up by Young's 45-yard run down the right sideline.
NP scored quickly in the second quarter -- putting up four scores in a span of 5:30 -- starting with Luker capping an 11-play, 76-yard drive with a 3-yard run. When the Dragons got the ball back. Luker hit Tyler Walden over the middle on TD passes of 33 and 27 yards -- giving Walden his school-record-tying 20th touchdown catch. He now shares the career TD mark with Josh Penley. After forcing another quick punt, the Dragons got the ball back and needed just two plays and 19 seconds to score. Young's 16-yard run made it 47-0 with 56 seconds left in the half.
The Dragons scored quickly -- their first-half ledger included drives of 19, 37, 40, 62 and 87 seconds.
The Dragons hit other milestones -- Luker became the first player in school history to eclipse 4,000 yards of total offense. The Dragons also scored their 497th point -- making them the highest-scoring team in school history. The 1987 team scored 486 points in 13 games. Walden needs two receiving yards to hit 2,000 for his career. Luker needs 33 yards to reach 3,000 passing yards for his career.
The Dragons yielded to many younger players in the second half. Alex Neligh quarterbacked a TD drive, which saw Adam Kincaid score his first TD. James Crumlin and Brett Luker intercepted passes, allowing the Dragons to record four takeaways on the night.