Irish Fall in Battle of Unbeatens
Nationally-ranked Center Grove handed Indianapolis Cathedral its first loss of the season Friday night, 21-6, at rain-soaked Arlington Middle School in a matchup of the top-rated teams in Indiana’s largest two high school football classes. The Trojans have now won 23 consecutive games, while the loss was the first for the Irish since falling at Center Grove, 17-13, last season.
Neither team was able to score in the opening quarter, but Cathedral’s Jeff Utzinger blocked a Center Grove punt late in the period to give the Irish great field possession at the Trojans’ 20-yard line. Four plays later on the first play of the second quarter, Ben Gomez kicked a 28-yard field goal, which turned out to be the only points of the first half.
Gomez kicked the school-record 20th field goal of his career from 25 yards away early in the third quarter to extend the Irish advantage to 6-0. Center Grove grabbed the lead late in the quarter when Drew Wheat ran 67 yards for a touchdown.
In the first minute of the final quarter, Trojans’ quarterback Tayven Jackson scrambled to his right on third and 12 then tossed a 43-yard TD pass to Eli Hohlt, making the score 14-6. Jackson added a touchdown on a 1-yard sneak in the closing seconds for the final margin.
Cathedral sophomore quarterback Danny O’Neil completed 18 of 36 passes for 174 yards, while Jackson was 7 of 16 for 99 yards. O’Neil is the 13th player in school history to amass more than 2,000 career passing yards. Jaron Tibbs, a junior, led Irish receivers with 8 receptions for 73 yards. Tibbs is the eighth Cathedral player to accumulate more than 1,200 career receiving yards.
Cathedral (8-1) will host Terre Haute North (3-6) next Friday at Arlington in Class 5-A Sectional 13 to open the 49th Annual Indiana High School Athletic Association state tournament. The Fighting Irish have a 4-2 all-time record against the Patriots including a 42-20 victory in their last meeting, which came in the 2013 5-A tournament semi-state.