INDIANAPOLIS – The Western Boone football team wasn’t going down without a fight.
So while they trailed by seven heading into the half of Friday’s regional championship with Heritage Christian, they knew they still had a chance to turn it around.
And turn it around they did. Western Boone out-scored the host Eagles 29-7 in the second half, and won their third-straight regional title by the score of 42-27. “There is no reason to yell and scream at them, we just made too many unforced errors,” Western Boone head coach Justin Pelley said. “That’s not like us and it was like four or five different guys. We had to grow up. Our seniors are relying on our underclassmen to step up, and they did like they have all year. Our kids haven’t been in that situation much, trailing at halftime, and the way they turned it around was impressive tonight.”
Heritage Christian missed a field goal that would have put them up 10 at the end of the second quarter, but received the second half kick-off with another chance to extend the lead.
But the Stars defense, which gave up 187 yards through the air in the first half, rose to the challenge.
A sack by Andrew Coppock on first down put the Eagles behind the chains and forced a three-and-out.
Seven plays later, Robby Taylor scored from 5 yards out and tied the game at 20.
“People have said it before, but it’s like a caged animal, you can only hold us down for so long,” Pelley said. “We were going to catch fire sometime, or we were going home. We talked in the locker room about coming together, digging deep and fighting, or we were handing in our equipment on Monday. They chose to fight, Coppock made a big play and the defense got us confidence.”
Heritage Christian retook the lead on a fantastic one-handed catch by Reid Gerig from 31 yards out on fourth and seven, but the Stars wouldn’t be denied.
WeBo countered with a 69-yard drive, scoring on a 10-yard pass from Elliott Young to Mitch Miller. The Stars decided to go for two, and took the lead when Young ran in the conversion.
After forcing a turnover on downs, the Stars went 70 yards in six plays, all on the ground and scored on a 5-yard run by Taylor.
Taylor added a 7-yard touchdown run on the next drive to put the game away.
Taylor carried 31 times for 211 yards. Young was 8 of 10 for 93 yards and two scores, connecting with Connor Garrity for touchdowns of 10- and 19-yards in the first half.
“With a lead, we were going to hand it to Robby,” Pelley said. “He fumbled tonight, and doesn’t do that very often, but when you carry it 250 times like he has, you are going to put it on the ground a couple of times. Garrity came through tonight too. He didn’t have a catch last week, and we wanted to get him the ball five times tonight and we did.”
The Stars defense allowed just 120 yards after halftime, 69 of which came on the touchdown drive in the second half.
Western Boone will host Evansville Mater Dei in the semi-state.
A win would send the Stars back to Lucas Oil Stadium for the third-straight season.
“We always say the past doesn’t matter, but it does because these kids have been practicing 5-6 weeks longer than a lot of teams,” Pelley said. “At some point, that starts to click, and your sophomores grow up quicker than they would normally. Our kids expect to win, that is the expectations around here. We are going to fight, put our best foot forward and let the chips fall where they may.”
Article by Will Willems