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Class 2A, No. 10 Triton Central overcomes emotional week to overwhelm Monrovia

MONROVIA – Class 2A, No. 10 Triton Central put a tough week of distractions behind it to secure a 41-10 Indiana Crossroads Conference victory Friday at Monrovia.

Several Tigers missed school earlier in the day to attend the funeral of Nick Winter, a TC junior who died in a car crash early Saturday morning.

“Nick was in my class and he played football for a part of the summer,” said Triton Central coach Tim Able. “He loved to lift weights. He loved to be around the kids. … He chose to work (instead of play football). It’s a sad situation. Our kids listened to his brother, who was really good with the kids and explaining the situation. He was real candid. Our kids grew a lot as people this week.”

Triton Central (3-1, 2-1 ICC) was prepared for Monrovia’s run-heavy offensive attack but still was pushed around on the game’s opening possession. An incomplete pass on third-and-eight from the Triton Central 10, though, forced the Bulldogs to take a short field goal.

Emery Newlin, a member of Monrovia’s 7-1 girls soccer team, kicked a 25-yard field goal for the lead that lasted mere seconds.

Ray Crawford took Newlin’s ensuing kickoff 77 yards for the Tigers’ first special teams touchdown of the season.

The Tigers’ defense adjusted after that first series that went 16 plays and 68 yards and limited the Bulldogs to 22 plays the rest of the first half and 105 more yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, Brad Schultz was toying with the Monrovia secondary. The TC senior took a short pass from quarterback Jace Stuckey, picked up two downfield blocks and raced 61 yards for his first of three touchdowns in the win.

“It was rough,” said Schultz of the Monrovia secondary. “They had some busted coverages but that’s how it goes.”

The second touchdown reception came when Stuckey unleashed a throw downfield that Schultz ran under for a 69-yard scoring strike.

Following a Ray Crawford interception, Stuckey scrambled for 11 yards then called his own number to reach the end zone from four yards out and the rout was on.

Monrovia (2-2, 1-1 ICC) tried to get a quick score before halftime but Mason Compton intercepted a halfback pass attempt and returned it 56 yards to set the halftime score at 34-3.

Following a bevy of Crawford runs to open the third quarter, Stuckey connected with Schultz once again on a fourth-and-four play from the Monrovia 30 which put the running clock in play for the rest of the game.



“It was tough for the team (this week) because as everyone knows we lost a student,” said Schultz (photo). “Overall, as a team we were really, really distracted throughout the week. It was rough. We could have practiced a lot better. We came out and played well but we could have played a lot better.”

Schultz finished the game with six catches for 220 yards and three touchdowns. He moved into the No. 4 all-time at Triton Central for career receiving yards, surpassing 1,350 total yards.

Triton Central’s defense limited Monrovia to 238 yards of offense and just 10 points after surrendering 54 points in a week three loss to Class A, No. 1 Lutheran.



“We put our foot in the ground and came back out (to work),” said Triton Central linebacker Lucas Kleeman (photo) of his team’s reaction after Monrovia’s long opening drive. “We got punched in the mouth and we knew we needed to come back out swinging … and we did.”

Kleeman had the highlight hit of the season with his team leading 14-0 midway through the second quarter and Monrovia at the TC 25-yard line with a fourth-and-1 play called up.

Dominic Kindle took a quick handoff from quarterback Eli Wagner and had a big hole ahead but Kleeman closed it in a hurry with a jarring tackle that resulted in no gain and a change of possession.

“That felt great,” said Kleeman with a big smile. “It’s something whenever you know you are playing at a level where you don’t have to read and just react because you know what’s going to happen. I saw the hole and just filled it.”



Triton Central followed a tough loss to Lutheran and the death of a fellow student with a strong road performance at Hadley Field in Monrovia. Now, it can turn its sights toward a week five meeting at Mendenhall Field against Indian Creek (3-1).

“The two games previous, we had a lot of mistakes,” said Able. “We still had a lot of mistakes tonight. We have to correct that -- its mental errors and mental focus. We have to make the plays. There are so many opportunities when we didn’t make plays that were there. We just have to make the play.

“Part of that is focus every day and every minute of practice. That carries over to the games. We will just keep trying to improve and grow.”


Triton Central 41, Monrovia 10


TC (3-1)    13  21  7  0  --  41

MO (2-2)    3    0   0  7  -- 10


MO – Newlin, 25 field goal, 3:22

TC – Crawford, 77 kickoff return (Dewey kick), 3:10

TC – Schultz, 61 pass Stuckey (kick blocked), :20


TC – Schultz, 69 pass Stuckey (Dewey kick), 3:09

TC – Stuckey, 4 run (Dewey kick), 1:04

TC – Compton, 56 interception return (Dewey kick), :21


TC – Schultz, 30 pass Stuckey (Winslow kick), 8:25


MO – Belcher, 7 pass Wagner (Newlin kick), 9:47


Rushing: Crawford 9-49, Stuckey 4-7, Schultz 1-4, Copeland 2-(-2) (TC); Kostrzewski 10-81, Kindle 10-37, Belcher 11-24, Clements 1-5, Followell 2-0, Ramos 1-0, Thacker 1-0 (MO).

Passing: Stuckey 9-13-264, Collier 0-1-0 (TC); Wagner 6-9-98, Kostrzewski 0-1-0 (MO).

Receiving: Schultz 6-220, Chandler 1-29, Kemper 1-10, Crawford 1-5 (TC); Byrnes 2-67, Kostrzewski 2-10, Belcher 2-21 (MO).