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  • Tyler Harden

Second half surge lifts Center Grove past Cathedral in Indiana’s “Game of the Year”

Photo Credit: Indy Star (Grace Hollars)

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA— There was not another game in the state of Indiana that was more anticipated than the matchup between the Center Grove Trojans and the Cathedral Fighting Irish.

What was different about this matchup was that it caught the eyes of the whole country.

MaxPreps had the Indiana “Game of the Year” matchup ranked as the number-1 high school football game of the week, and both teams were ready to back the hype up. Center Grove came into the game is the number-8 team in the country (via MaxPreps), and they also had a 22-game win streak at stake. In a game that was decided by four points last season, Cathedral was ready to get revenge. And while both teams were state champions last season in their respective classes, a win over Center Grove would mean just as much to the Fighting Irish. However, Center Grove showed why they are the best team in the state of Indiana.

Both teams shared punts to start the game, but Center Grove landed the first punch. Trojans’ safety, Mitchell Evans, intercepted a pass, and gave the Trojans the ball at their own 23-yard line. But Cathedral landed a punch of their own after a big sack. Center Grove was forced to punt on 4th down, and the Fighting Irish defense special teams blocked the punt, and recovered the ball at the Center Grove 20-yard line. The first quarter ended 0-0.

Cathedral was brought to 4th down and 1 to start the second quarter, but the Irish were able to go ahead 3-0 with a 29-yard field goal. The offenses for both teams couldn’t find any momentum after that field goal, and Cathedral went into halftime with a 3-0 lead.

The Fighting Irish defense started the second half with a huge break. Center Grove quarterback, Tayven Jackson fumbled the ball on the snap, and the Cathedral defense recovered the ball at the Trojans’ 35-yard line. However, Cathedral was brought to 4th down and 2, and had to settle for a 28-yard field goal to go up 6-0. After both teams shared punts once again, Center Grove got the break they needed.

Center Grove running back, Drew Wheat, found a hole and broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown, giving the Trojans their first lead of the game at 7-6 (PAT good).

The Center Grove defense then came up with a big stop on 4th and 1, giving the offense the ball at the Cathedral 41-yard line. The third quarter ended with Center Grove in the lead 7-6.

Tayven Jackson kept the Trojan offense going at the start of the fourth quarter. The Tennessee commit completed a pass to Eli Hohlt for a 43-yard touchdown, extending the Trojans’ lead to 14-6 (PAT good). The Trojan defense did their job from there, containing the Cathedral offense and keeping them from finding momentum down the field. But Tayven Jackson wanted to make sure Center Grove would definitely be walking away with the win. He ran into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown on the Trojans last possession, and Center Grove was able to come away with the 21-6 win (PAT good).

Center Grove improves to 9-0 on the season, and extends their win-streak to 23 consecutive games. The Trojans will take on Franklin Central in two weeks on Friday, October 29th at 7 PM ET in the first round of the 6A IHSAA State Playoffs. Cathedral suffers their first loss of the season, and falls to 8-1. The Fighting Irish will take on Terre Haute North Vigo next week on Friday, October 22nd at 7 PM ET in the first round of the 5A IHSAA State Playoffs.

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