On paper, Friday's Class 5A semi state clash between top ranked and undefeated New Palestine and Bloomington South could have been a "trap game" for the Dragons.
After all, New Palestine clawed its way past Cathedral last week in the regional final in a game many viewed as the top game of the season.
However, it took less than a minute for the Dragons to put an end to any thoughts of a lack of focus or potential upset, as senior running back Charlie Spegal found a seam and rumbled in for a 57-yard touchdown. The score set the tone for what kind of night it would be, giving New Palestine a lead it would never relinquish en route to a 45-0 win and another trip to Lucas Oil Stadium for a state title opportunity. The Dragons will play third ranked Valparaiso at 7 p.m. Friday.
New Palestine coach Kyle Ralph said the quick touchdown was "huge."
Spegal, who finished with over 250 yards, was only getting started, as would again score from 57 yards out to extend the lead to 14-0 with just under seven minutes to play in the first quarter. The lead would swell to 24-0 after another Spegal touchdown and a field goal by Alex Kropp.
The Dragons would get a pick six by Brody Luker, as well as scores by quarterback Lincoln Roth and Spegal to round out the scoring.
The win was the 27th in a row for the Dragons, and Ralph said it was a tremendous way to send off the seniors who played their final game at home.
For Ralph, the win was the result of a strong running attack by Spegal, combined with a defense that held the visiting Panthers to negative yardage for much of the first quarter.