Tim Able made the call and trusted his offense to move a little over 36 inches forward on one final snap to secure the Indiana Crossroads Conference victory.
Levi Dewey’s extra-point kick tied the game with Scecina in overtime but a penalty moved the ball even closer to the end zone and Able rolled the dice and went for the win rather than a second overtime period.
The handoff to running back Ray Crawford was never secured and the play was stuffed by the Scecina defense allowing the Crusaders a stunning 21-20 victory over Triton Central on Sept. 30.
Thirty-five days later, two of the top-five ranked teams in Class 2A will meet again – this time with much more at stake.
Class 2A, No. 4 Scecina (10-1) travels to 2A No. 5 Triton Central (9-2) Friday for the Sectional 39 championship game.
Triton Central will seek a much cleaner performance than its first meeting with the Crusaders where it almost overcame four fumbles to steal the win.
“Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said Able.
Scecina and veteran head coach Ott Hurrle have been a thorn in Triton Central’s side since the two programs started meeting regularly in 2013. The Crusaders have won nine of 12 meetings since 2013, including eight of the last nine.
Both programs had postseason success in 2021. Triton Central captured its third sectional title under Able’s direction while Scecina won both sectional and regional titles.
Combined, the two coaches have 439 career victories and three state championships.
Triton Central has reached the sectional championship game with wins at Christel House Manual, 58-6, and Brownstown Central, 24-19.
Crawford (photo), who had 111 rushing yards and a touchdown against Scecina that night, has gotten stronger as the season has gone along. The junior, who is No. 3 on TC’s career rushing yards record board, followed that performance with 95 yards and a TD against Beech Grove, 153 yards and two TDs against Speedway, and 149 yards and a TD at Brownstown Central.
“He’s doing a really good job. The line of scrimmage is picking it up. The continuity of him and the kids (is working) as teams are trying to defend the pass,” said Able.
Crawford was aggressive at Brownstown Central, hitting the first opening in the line of scrimmage.
“We’ve been trying to get him to do that all year,” said Able. “When he does, he gets those results. He runs downhill and does one cut and starts breaking ankles. There are not many kids that can make an open field tackle (on him). He is a strong young man.”
Hurrle agrees that Crawford has been impressive down the stretch.
“He seems to be running stronger every game we’ve watched,” he said.
Triton Central junior quarterback Jace Stuckey has thrown for 2,308 yards and 22 touchdowns this season with senior receiver Brad Schultz putting together a record-setting year with more than 1,300 yards receiving.
That trio has made Triton Central’s offense explosive. The Tigers are averaging 38.1 points per game this season.
“We said after that (first meeting) we were going to meet again and we better be a better team because it won’t be close,” said Hurrle. “They will run away from us. Their offense is explosive.”
Scecina has not had a tough game since Sept. 30. The Crusaders closed out the regular season with wins over Ritter (45-6) and Monrovia (42-0) then defeated Switzerland County (49-0) and Clarksville (48-18) to reach the sectional finale.
The Crusaders’ offense is averaging 37 ppg but had less than 100 yards rushing against Triton Central while junior quarterback David Mendez threw for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Fitts-Ramsey, Scecina’s leading rusher this season, was held to just 39 yards by a Tigers’ defense that is allowing 16.5 ppg.
Defensively, Triton Central is led by senior Lucas Kleeman (photo) (66 total tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles), junior Brayden Wilkins (55 tackles and a fumble recovery) and senior Hadyn Ball (54 tackles, six quarterback sacks).
Triton Central has 18 interceptions. Junior Levi Dewey (photo) leads the way with four. Crawford and junior Mason Compton each have three.
Senior Mason Beriault tops Scecina with 75 tackles. Seniors Tamir Woods (57) and Adam Young (56) are No. 2 and No. 3 on the team, respectively.
Woods has a team-high 11 QB sacks. Young has eight.
The Crusaders have 11 interceptions with sophomore Madden Beriault leading with four. Mason Beriault has three.
Both teams have experienced kickers. Scecina’s Carter Nolan has connected on 41-of-47 extra-point attempts while Dewey is 33 of 37.
Dewey has hit eight field goals, including a 50 yarder. Nolan has two field goals, both inside 30 yards.
Class 2A, No. 4 Indianapolis Scecina at Class 2A, No. 5 Triton Central
Game time: 7 p.m. at Mendenhall Stadium in Fairland, Indiana.
Media coverage: 6 p.m. pregame show live from McKeand Stadium with Johnny McCrory and Mark Drake on GIANT fm (96.5 fm, 106.3 fm, 1520 am) or on the GIANT fm app. Shelby County Post News Editor Jeff Brown will have the game story and box score online late Friday.
Admission: General admission tickets are $7, cash only at the gate.
Student Section Theme: Blackout.
Head coaches: Ott Hurrle, 224-145 in 31st year at Scecina, 225-154 in 33rd year overall; Tim Able, 89-34 in 10th year at Triton Central; 214-132 in 29th year overall.
2022 record: Scecina 10-1; Triton Central 9-2.
2021 record: Scecina 10-4; Triton Central 8-5.
Sagarin ratings: Scecina, 68.99, 68th overall, 5th in Class 2A; Triton Central, 67.01, 72nd overall, 6th in Class 2A.
Point spread: The game is a toss-up.
Sectional 40 championship: North Posey (9-2) at Class 2A, No. 5 Evansville Mater Dei (8-3).
Regional championship: If Triton Central and Evansville Mater Dei win, Triton Central will host the regional championship on either a Friday night or Saturday afternoon. If TC and North Posey win, the Tigers would travel to North Posey for the regional title game.