Triton Central took the game-tying point off the scoreboard Friday night to go for the win – and failed.
With a 21-20 overtime loss to Class 2A, No. 5 Indianapolis Scecina now behind it, 2A No. 7 Triton Central must regroup, for a second time this season after a loss, to close out the regular-season schedule in a positive manner.
“We need to get momentum going into the tournament,” said Triton Central head coach Tim Able. “We need to stay healthy because we don’t have tremendous depth for our size of school.
“And we need to get our offense back in gear.”
The Tigers’ only touchdown against the stingiest defense in the Indiana Crossroads Conference came in overtime Friday. Levi Dewey added the extra point but a penalty on Scecina moved the ball four-and-a-half feet from the goalline.
Able never hesitated to send the offense back out on the field to go for the win.
“You can play four more downs or eight more downs,” said Able of his thought process. “If you can get 1 ½ yards …”
The plan was to power running back Ray Crawford, who has 33 career touchdowns, into the end zone. Scecina defensive tackle Adam Young had a different scenario in mind.
“No. 51 is a dude. He penetrated and we didn’t get him blocked,” said Able.
Young split two Triton Central linemen and hit Crawford with enough force to cause a fumble that Scecina recovered.
The turnover was the third of the game for Triton Central. Six penalties for 105 yards also hampered the Tigers, who were seeking a key conference win against a potential sectional opponent.
“Fumbles and penalties … it’s the same old scenario we’ve experienced many times,” said Able. “I didn’t think we weren’t ready. Multiple people made mistakes in key situations.”
Triton Central has no time for regret. Beech Grove (4-3, 3-3 ICC) comes to Fairland riding a three-game win streak where it is averaging 46 points per game.
After suffering a 32-0 loss to Scecina on Sept. 9, the Hornets have beaten Southport (46-20), Monrovia (44-32) and Ritter (49-6).
“They have a lot of size and lot of speed,” said Able. “It’s a traditional Beech Grove team with a lot of athletes and linemen.”
Senior quarterback Skyler Thacker has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards in six games. He has completed 49% of his attempts with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Sophomore Jeremiah Lee leads the Hornets with 700 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
Jarron Murray, a junior, and senior Aeden Crawley have combined for 36 receptions, 590 yards and seven touchdowns.
“They have a receiver with really good wheels,” said Able. “They have a shifty running back similar to ours that we have to control. The line of scrimmage play will be a big part of this game.”
Crawford ran for 111 yards and an overtime touchdown against Scecina while wide receiver Brad Schultz had six catches for 102 yards, but most of the points came from junior all-state kicker Levi Dewey, who connected on field goals of 31, 38, 26 and 32 yards in the loss.
Schultz is closing in on Dakota Nelson’s career records for receptions (118) and yards (1,717). He has 94 career receptions for 1,714 yards.
Schultz’s 1,086 receiving yards on 49 catches this season makes him just the second Tiger to surpass 1,000 yards in a season. The other was Aaron Steele (63 receptions, 1,050 yards in 2016).
Nelson also holds the single-season record for receptions at 68.
“If we were strictly a passing team, he’d have more gaudy numbers. He would have already had the career record broke if we had him last year,” said Able of Schultz being limited by an injury much of his junior season. “But we are not dwelling on that right now. That’s what banquets are for at the end of the year.”
Beech Grove at Class 2A, No. 7 Triton Central
Game time: 7 p.m. at Mendenhall Field in Fairland.
Broadcast time: Follow Shelby County Post News Editor Jeff Brown on Twitter at @Sportsboss4life for live updates from Mendenhall Field.
Student Section Theme: Pink Out.
TC Promotion: Triton Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) Hog Roast – serving starts at 5:30 p.m. until sold out. Price is free will donation. Funds go to TCTA Future Educator Scholarship and the Millie Pruitt Memorial Scholarship.
Head coaches: Brandon Winters, 7-10 in 2nd year at Beech Grove, 34-32 in 7th year overall; Tim Able, 85-34 in 10th year at Triton Central; 210-132 in 29th year overall.
2022 record: Beech Grove 4-3, 3-3 Indiana Crossroads Conference; Triton Central 5-2, 3-2 ICC.
2021 record: Beech Grove 3-7; Triton Central 8-5.
Sagarin ratings: Beech Grove 56.13, 110th overall, 26th in Class 4A; Triton Central, 72.65, 57th overall, 4th in Class 2A.
Point spread: Triton Central is a 19-point favorite.
Last year: Triton Central defeated Beech Grove, 28-13.
Last 10 meetings: Triton Central has won seven of the last 10 meetings. Beech Grove’s last win came on Oct. 6, 2017, 22-15
Around the ICC Friday: Cascade (3-4, 1-4 ICC) at Monrovia (2-5, 1-4 ICC); Class A, No. 1 Indianapolis Lutheran (7-0, 6-0 ICC) at Speedway (5-2, 3-2 ICC); Class 2A, No. 5 Indianapolis Scecina (6-1, 4-1 ICC) at Cardinal Ritter (1-5, 0-5 ICC).
Sectional 39 lookahead: Class 2A, No. 5 Scecina (6-1); Brownstown Central (4-3); Switzerland County (4-3); Christel House Manual (3-4); Clarksville (3-4); Brown County (0-7); Class 2A, No. 7 Triton Central (5-2); Eastern (Pekin) (1-6).
Note: The IHSAA Football State Tournament Pairings Show is Sunday at 5 p.m. on IHSAAtv.org.