Nov 9, 2018
Indianapolis – Western Boone waited 364 days for a shot at redemption against Indianapolis Scecina Memorial.
When the Stars got their shot, they didn’t let it go to waste. Behind an inspired defensive performance from the defense and two second-half touchdowns from Brett Wethington, Western Boone topped Scecina 19-7 to win the regional title.
“Our kids played really inspired tonight,” Western Boone head coach Justin Pelley said. “That was the first time we were down since the first game of the year. I was interested to see how our kids would respond and they responded really well.”
But Friday, night after scoring on their second drive of the game, they could never advance past the Western Boone 17.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group,” defensive coordinator Travis Brunes said. “They played their butts off. It was just great. We battled back, only gave up seven points in the first half, and then came out in the second half and played the way we were capable. I am really proud of that.”
In the second half, Scecina ran a total of 42 plays and gained just 150 yards (3.6 yards per play).
Crusader quarterback Mac Ayres was 12 of 29 in the second half for 107 yards. He was 21 of 49 in the game for 200.
“Sometimes when you have a lot of time to prepare, you can out-think yourself,” Brunes said. “In the first half, we weren’t doing what we do. We are a pretty aggressive group and we were back on our heels. After the half, we got after them, and that is what the kids can do.”
Pelley said what makes Brunes such a good defensive coordinator is his ability to make the adjustments he needs to on the fly.
“I have been around a lot of defensive guys, and they all are different,” Pelley said. “He does things different than a lot of people, but making adjustments is the best thing he does. Our kids buy into it, our coaches buy into it and everybody is on the same page. We have some athletes on defense and he has some toys to play with this year. We took them out of what they wanted to do and made them get a little greedy.”
The key drive for the Stars’ defense came right at the end of the first half.
With Scecina leading 7-0, the Crusaders drove to the WeBo 17 with less than a minute to go in the half. The Crusaders would get the ball to start the second half, so a defensive stop was a must or the Stars could be facing a three-score deficit by the time they got the ball back.
But the defense did what they needed to do, forcing three incompletions and drawing and offensive pass interference penalty to stop the drive and go into the half down just 7-0.
“If they go into the half up 14-0, it could be them out here celebrating,” Brunes said. “That was huge for us to step up. We have that bend but not break mentally, they trust each other and that was a big thing.”
Scecina went three-and-out to start the second half, and then the Western Boone offense took over.
A great catch by Noah McLendon for a 28-yard gain got WeBo down to the Scecina 30, and four plays later Wethington ran it in from 11 yards out to tie the game.
Western Boone’s defense forced a fumble and Deetz Holdorf recovered at the Scecina 46 on the next drive, and three plays later a perfect screen pass from Spencer Wright to Lucas Kernodle from 35 yards out made it 13-7.
Wethington said once the Stars got the lead, they knew they had to do whatever they could to keep it.
“It is just that step up attitude,” Wethington said. “We knew what we had to do. We had to execute, keep our heads and stay in it to win it. We knew we had to play hard-nosed defense, and that is what WeBo defense is all about.”
Neither team was able to score on their next drives.
AfterScecina turned it over on downs for the second-time in the half, Western Boone appeared ready to take firm control of the game, with Wethington running four-straight times for 56 yards, but after getting into the red zone, an untimely personal foul stalled the Star drive.
This time the Stars took advantage, with Wethington rushing three times for 55 yards, scoring on a 28-yard touchdown run.
The one negative for Western Boone was Kruze Washington (10 carries, 57 yards) went down with an injury in the third quarter, but Wethington was able to pick up the slack with 134 yards on 11 carries in the second half.
“I just played my heart out for these guys,” Wethington said. “I know they will do the same thing for me every single game. I knew I had to step it up. If I would have kept my head down after the fumble, we wouldn’t have gone anywhere. You just have to keep your head up and keep pushing forward.”
Wethington finished with 176 yards on 16 carries as part of a rushing attack that had 244 yards on the ground.
Wethington said the Stars’ offensive line has been great all year.
“They are phenomenal,” Wethington said. “They work their butts off every game. They played their hearts off for us, and we do it for them. I love those guys.”
Next up for the Stars will be a semi-state meeting with Southridge, which beat Paoli 42-35.
The game will be played at Western Boone, most likely Saturday. Pelley said that after an emotional win, he knows his guys will be ready to get back to work.
“You want to beat the best, and Scecina is a daggum good ball club,” Pelley said. “It is just one game at a time. They were in the state championship game last year, and I went to college with their coach Scott Buening and know him well. We will watch them on film and see what happens. But we are going to celebrate this tonight, I can guarantee that.”