Boys Varsity Football · Stars go back-to-back

Nov 2, 2018

Dover — Every sectional championship team is unique, with their own individual journey.

Last year, the Stars entered the sectional title game with the weight of a 16-year sectional title drought on their backs, and overcame that to win the title. It was a different sort of pressure this year, with a No. 1 ranking and a perfect 11-0 record entering Friday night’s match-up with North Putnam.

And while the pressure was different, the result was the same. Western Boone dominated the Cougars in a 49-8 win to capture the Sectional 38 crown.

“It is a different pressure,” Pelley said. “We have played the underdog for so long, and now this year we aren’t the underdog. It is different, but our guys have done a great job of staying focused. That starts with our coaches and their mentality and it goes down from there. “

It is the first time that Western Boone won back-to-back sectional titles since the Stars won three-straight from 1997-99.

While the Stars were heavy favorites coming into the game, Pelley said he was proud of the way the team stepped up.

“It is special,” Pelley said. “We expected to be here and we got the win. We weren’t sure what we were getting into against an opponent we weren’t really sure about, but our guys did what they needed to do tonight.”

North Putnam had no answers for Western Boone’s offense Friday night.

On the Stars’ second offensive play of the game, Kruze Washington busted up the middle for a a 29-yard touchdown to make it 7-0.

After a punt on their second drive, Western Boone’s offense went back to work in the second quarter.

Spencer Wright had three touchdown passes in the quarter, an 18-yard pass to Washington and passes of 37- and 23-yards to Joe Hendrix. The only time Western Boone was stopped in the second quarter was when they tried a trick play on the North Putnam 1-yard line and threw an interception.

Washington added a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half to make it 35-0, and the Stars got a 40-yard run from Luke Kernodle and a 2-yard run from Dillon Brown to put the Stars up 49-0.

Wright was 14 of 18 for 183 yards and three scores. Hendrix had six catches for 108. Washington ran for 127 yards on 11 carries.

“It was finally a dry night and we got to do what we wanted to do,” Pelley said. “We got to throw it around a little bit and got a lot of guys involved. Joe Hendrix did a great job early and Spencer threw it well. Our line did a great job. Kruze busted through on that first one and got us going a little bit, and when you have to respect that, it opens up our passing game.”

While the offense was racking up points, the Stars defense was shutting down the Cougars for most of the night.

The Stars defense allowed less than 230 yards of offense and forced six turnovers.

Connor Hole, Pat Schallenberger, Logan Benson and Josh Benson all had interceptions, while Hole and Devin Weakley recovered fumbles. The only points allowed were on a touchdown run in the fourth quarter with the Cougars starters going against the WeBo second string.

“They were putting pressure on them all night,” Pelley said. “Josh Benson had a great game tonight, with a couple of deflections and a big pick. Connor Hole had a great game and interception and up front we did a good job of getting to the quarterback later. They did what they needed to do.”

The Stars knew coming into the game that North Putnam was a run-first team.

By getting a big lead early, it took the Cougars out of what they wanted to do.

“When you can get up a little bit it takes them out of what they want to do,” Pelley said. “They aren’t used to throwing it that much I don’t think. Our deep backs did a good job tonight. That was a challenge for those guys out wide and they hit some slants on us, but we did a lot of good things. Logan Benson had a big pick, Deetz Holdorf was big and Weakley is always Weakley and had a nice fumble recovery. You can go all the way down the line where somebody stepped up and made a play throughout the night.”

With a comfortable lead, the Stars were able to pull their starters midway through the third quarter.

Pelley said that at this time of the year, any rest the starters can get is big.

“We are banged up just like everyone else,” Pelley said. “After 12 weeks of football, there are going to be minor things. We are healthy, but at the same time we have our bumps and bruises. So getting those guys out for the fourth quarter was important.”

Next up for the Stars is a trip to No. 2 Indianapolis Scecina next Friday in the regional. The Crusaders scored in the final minute to top Triton Central 34-30.

Western Boone and Scecina met last year in the regional, with the Crusaders getting the win. Pelley said the kids knew what could possibly be ahead, but there sole focus coming into the game was on the Cougars.

“Human nature, you know what can be ahead but you have to take care of business first,” Pelley said. “That is all we preached all week. People were talking about a letdown after beating Tipton and I think we accomplished not having a letdown. Whoever won Triton or Scecina, it didn’t matter we would start getting ready on Saturday. But we are going to celebrate this one tonight first.”