Local Sports

Tigers lose ICC showdown with top-ranked Saints

FAIRLAND -- The mood was somber but not defeated in Triton Central’s postgame huddle after a 54-41 loss Friday to Class A, No. 1 Indianapolis Lutheran.

The Tigers, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, spotted the high-powered Saints 14 points before scoring but never shut down talented sophomore quarterback Jackson Willis, who threw for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns to secure Lutheran’s 18th-straight victory.

“It was 14-7 and the flood gates opened up,” said Triton Central coach Tim Able after the loss. “We were right there early and we were right there late. We just made way too many mistakes, too many penalties, bad decisions, you name it – a multitude of mistakes. It’s not because of effort and it’s not because of fight and heart, but just because of lack of execution. When you play a team as good as they are, they make you pay.”

Triton Central lost track of Lutheran receiver Micah Mackay early and often. The senior finished the game with 14 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

“(Mackay) will probably be in contention for the No. 1 player in our conference,” said Able. “Every time they needed a play they went to (Mackay).”



Mackay opened the scoring Friday with a 31-yard touchdown catch on the Saints’ opening drive. Lutheran’s second drive ended the same way – with Mackay hauling in a 32-yard touchdown which resulted in a 14-0 lead with four minutes, 51 seconds left in the first half.

The Tigers weathered the early onslaught and forced a fumble and a punt on Lutheran’s next two series before finally getting its offense going.

Starting at midfield, TC quarterback Jace Stuckey, who also threw for more than 400 yards in the game, led his team on 10-play drive that was highlighted by a Brad Schultz 26-yard reception down to the Lutheran 1-yard line. Stuckey finished the drive with a plunge into the end zone and the Tigers had life.

That momentum was quickly gone when running back Joe Davis finished off an 82-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run.

Following a Triton Central fumble, Willis connected with Cur’Brian Shelby, who raced to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown.

And Stuckey’s second interception of the first half set up Lutheran for another scoring opportunity that was finished off by Davis’ second 2-yard TD run which set the halftime score at 33-7.



Triton Central running back Ray Crawford was held in check most of the night but produced back-to-back 20-plus-yard runs on the Tigers’ opening drive of the second half to cut into the lead.

The Tigers’ defense stifled the Saints on their first offensive series of the second half and Stuckey hit Luke Faust for 66 yards that set up Brayden Wilkins 4-yard scoring run and the lead was cut to 33-20.

Davis’ third touchdown run of the game extended the lead to 39-20 and the two teams traded scoring strikes in a long fourth quarter.

Schultz pulled in a 33-yard catch from Stuckey to make it 39-27.

Mackay’s third TD followed just over three minutes later to push the lead to 46-27.

Sam Kemper had a big fourth-down conversion catch on the next series then finished the drive with a 26-yard catch and run to cut it to 46-34.

Triton Central got the stop it needed but Stuckey was intercepted for a third time as the Saints defensive line was collapsing on him. Shelby returned the interception 37 yards for his second touchdown of the night and a 54-34 advantage.

Triton Central reserve quarterback Sam Collier turned three straight completions into one final score – hitting Braden Brown in the game’s final seconds.

The game took over three hours to complete and featured 68 pass attempts and three Levi Dewey onside kick attempts.

Willis completed 24-of 32 pass attempts for 434 yards. Shelby had four catches for 94 yards and DeVuan Jones had four catches for 84 yards.

Davis carried the ball 25 times for 126 yards.

Stuckey completed 22-of-33 passes for a career-high 408 yards, two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown.

Schultz finished with eight catches for 189 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers trailed 33-7 at halftime but outscored the Saints 34-21 in the second half.

“We are not nearly where we need to be and can be,” said Able. “It’s a daily choice. They got better all four days this week in practice.

“Sometimes it takes teams at different levels to develop. We are getting a little better but not at a fast enough pace yet.”

Triton Central (2-1, 1-1 Indiana Crossroads Conference) is at Monrovia (2-1) next week.


Indianapolis Lutheran 54, Triton Central 41

IL (3-0)    14  19     6  15  --  54

TC (2-1)     0    7   13  21  --  41

First Quarter:

IL – Mackay, 31 pass Willis (Miller kick), 9:51

IL – Mackay, 32 pass Willis (Miller kick), 4:51

Second Quarter:

TC – Stuckey, 1 run (Dewey kick), 7:52

IL – Davis, 2 run (Miller kick failed), 5:37

IL – Shelby, 50 pass Willis (Miller kick), 4:33

IL – Davis, 2 run (Miller kick failed), 1:46

Third Quarter:

TC – Crawford, 20 run (Dewey kick blocked), 10:28

TC – Wilkins, 4 run (Dewey kick), 5:30

IL – Davis, 2 run (Jones run failed), 2:20

Fourth Quarter:

TC – Schultz, 33 pass Stuckey (Dewey kick), 11:15

IL – Mackay, 23 pass Willis (Miller kick), 8:11

TC – Kemper, 26 pass Stuckey (Dewey kick), 5:21

IL – Shelby, 37 Interception (Jones pass to Hall), 2:48

TC – Brown, 7 pass Collier (Winslow kick), :02


Rushing: Davis 25-126, Jones 1-8, Willis 4-7 (IL); Crawford 8-44, Wilkins 6-10, Copeland 2-5, Stuckey 11-(-49) (TC).

Passing: Willis 24-32-434 (IL); Stuckey 22-33-408, Collier 3-3-27 (TC).

Receiving: Mackay 14-245, Shelby 4-94, Jones 4-84, King 1-9, Davis 1-(-2) (IL); Schultz 8-189, Faust 6-119, Kemper 3-50, Wilkins 3-36, Compton 1-8, Crawford 1-6, E. Wasson 1-7, Robertson 1-13, Brown 1-7 (TC).