Bishop Chatard Trojans win 2019 3A state championship

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Bishop Chatard Trojans win 2019 3A state championship

Patrick Felts, Sports Editor

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For a state record 14th time in school history, the Bishop Chatard Trojans are IHSAA state football champions, winning the 2019 3A State Championship 34-3 over the Heritage Hills Patriots. 

Entering the game with an unblemished 14-0 record, the Patriots were looking to claim the state championship for the second time in school history and for the first time in 19 years. All season long, Heritage Hills has had one of the top defenses in the state, giving up an average of just 6.9 points per game. BCHS shattered that average by putting up 34 points, more than Heritage Hills had allowed to any team all season.

Chatard has been similarly supreme this season as well, coming into the final game of the season at 13-1 and with the top ranking in Class 3A. The Trojans finished the season winning its final 11 games after an early season loss to rival Cathedral. 

As has been the case for most of the season, the Trojans dominated their competition on the ground. The Trojans ran for 195 yards on the day and 3 touchdowns, most of which came from the lethal senior running back duo of Daylen Taylor and Derion Gilbert. Gilbert said, “I have to give credit to my offensive line. Without them, we would not have been here. Me and Daylen both run hard; we put our noses down and got all that we could.” 

Senior center Alex Geise added, “We knew we had to be physical today, as always. That’s been the mentality all year. Our offensive line and running backs accomplished that again today.”

While the Trojan passing game has relied upon senior wide receiver Andrew Sowinski all season long, things took a sudden turn for the worse Friday afternoon. In his final high school game, Sowinski suffered an injury in the first quarter that sidelined him for the rest of the game. Although the Trojans only threw the ball 10 times, including a touchdown catch by junior wide receiver Thomas Coleman, the rest of the wide receivers felt a need to step up their game in Sowinski’s absence. Senior wide receiver Sam Richey said, “Andrew [Sowinski] is a key part of all of our passing plays, but Jack [Annee] stepped up and TC [Thomas Coleman] stepped up, and we were good.”

Chatard’s main goal on defense was stopping the run. Offensively, the Patriots were a run-first team all season, and the state championship was no exception. Patriot quarterback Cole Sigler and running back Phoenix Rodgers both ran for over 600 yards on the season. Senior defensive lineman George Assalley said, “We knew there was one thing to focus on for this game. They only threw the ball about 50 times all year, so shutting down the running game made them uncomfortable and helped us win this game.”

The championship is the first under head coach Rob Doyle, who took over for Coach Vince Lorenzano in 2017. Coach Doyle said, “Our kids did everything they could to get here. They were devastated last year when they didn’t finish. Those kids had a mission, and our senior class was awesome. When we came out of our retreat this summer, I knew we would have a special season. This is a special group of guys and this is the funnest ride we could have had.”

The 2019 title has been four years in the making for the seniors in the Class of 2020. Gilbert called the win “bittersweet,” as it was the final game for the seniors in a Trojan uniform. With the 2019 win, every BCHS graduating class between 1998 and 2023 will have been in school for at least one football state championship. The 14 Trojan football championships are more than any other school in Indiana. 

For the non-seniors, the championship is just the beginning. Junior defensive back Joe Calvert said, “We’re bringing it back next year. We want to go back to back.”