Trojans win; will play for state title

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Trojans win; will play for state title

Patrick Felts, Sports Editor

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For the first time in four years, the BCHS football team is headed to the state championship following a 45-0 semi-state win over the Marian High School Knights in Mishawaka.

The Knights entered semi-state with a 12-1 record following a regional championship win over Knox. Marian had been led by their defense all season, giving up 20 or more points just once before playing BCHS. 

The Trojans came into semi-state a red hot 12-1, winners of their last nine games and a regional championship last week against Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran.

For a second straight week, the game was competitive after the first quarter before the Trojans took control. A few early dropped passes and catches for negative yardage held the Trojans back early. Both teams took defensive stands back and forth, until  BCHS senior running back Daylen Taylor took a long run down the sideline into Knight territory near the end of the period, setting up an early second quarter touchdown.

The Trojans broke the game open with a scoring surge in the second quarter. In the second quarter alone, the Trojans scored 24 points, more points than Marian had given up to any team in a game all season. Four different Trojans scored; touchdowns from Taylor, senior running back Derion Gilbert and senior quarterback Kyle Cheek, and a field goal from senior kicker George Forsee. All three touchdowns came on run plays boosted by the offensive line. 

Junior offensive lineman Will Mason said, “It took great communication between the front five to control the 4-man front they gave us tonight. Keeping our cool and not exploding was a huge part as well.”

It wasn’t just the offense that kickstarted the second quarter surge. Big defensive plays sparked opportunities for the offense to score. Junior linebacker Joe Calvert forced a fumble that senior defensive lineman Jacob Szydlyk recovered deep in Knight territory. The Knights got into the Trojan red zone, and the Trojan defense forced a third down intentional grounding. The ensuing third and 23 play resulted in an interception by senior defensive back Leo Dilts. The shutout of the Knights was the first for the Trojans this season. 

Senior defensive back Patrick Mastrian, who recovered a fumble in the second half, said, “Our defensive mindset is for everyone to do their job and if we do, we are really good as it showed tonight. We played as a team as we’ve been doing all season.”

The win means that the Trojans are headed to the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since 2015. The game in downtown Indianapolis will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Although the Trojans have played in 14 state championships in the past, this will be the first for any current student. Junior linebacker Kyle Haslett said, “It means the world [to play for a state championship.] I often say ‘this is all I ever wanted.’ To me and the rest of the guys on this team, every CYO game, every time I put on a helmet, was to try to make it to Lucas Oil and get a ring.”

The opponent this time will be the undefeated Heritage Hills Patriots. The Patriots are a perfect 14-0 on the season and beat Danville 33-17 to win its semi-state game. 

Senior linebacker Timmy McNelis said, “It’ll take everything we have. It’s the last week of the season and we want to end on a good note.”