FORT WAYNE – Sniders postseason offensive struggles caught up with it Friday as the No. 4 Panthers lost 36-7 to top-ranked Westfield in a Class 5A regional game at Spuller Stadium.
(Missed scoring changes) kill drives, and they have been plaguing us here recently, and we havent been able to get it fixed, Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said. We have just been coming up short in those situations.
Snider won two playoff games in capturing its seventh straight sectional championship but managed only 32 points combined in a 15-7 win over Wayne and a 17-14 overtime win over North Side. The defense had been the saving grace for Snider, which had a goal-line stand against the Redskins.
But the offense needed to come through against the high-flying Shamrocks.
They made plays, and we didnt, Tippmann said. We just didnt play very well.
Snider (9-3), the 5A state runners-up a year ago, had its five-game winning streak snapped.
Westfield (11-1) plays host to Concord (10-2) in the semistate next Friday.
The Shamrocks have won nine straight since their lone loss, a 48-45 defeat to Fishers in three overtimes. Westfield, which was only 3-7 last year, won its first regional title in 20 years.
Its what we have been striving for, Westfield quarterback Nick Ferrer said. Our goal has been to play in that game on Nov. 29 (5A state finals).
The Panthers rushed for only 54 yards on 30 carries for an average of 1.8 yards per rush. Colton Painter completed 9 of 17 passes for 137 yards and an interception.
The lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter when Painter hit Alec Reuille from 4 yards out for the final points.
Snider had some chances, though. The Panthers were stopped on a fourth-down run by Jibri Bramley from the Westfield 1 in the third. The play was set up by a 68-yard pass from Painter to Andreas Gomez-Espino, who was tripped up from behind at the Westfield 6.
And in the first half, Painter fumbled at the 1 when Snider looked to be ready to score, and Westfield recovered the ball in the end zone.
We had opportunities and didnt take advantage of those and got behind early, Tippmann said. At that point, a lot of things changed in the game plan.
While Sniders offense was faltering, Westfield was in high gear. Ferrer was 20 of 27 for 287 yards and four touchdowns, and he also rushed for a score.
(Snider) came out, and they were a little loose at first, and then they started bringing the pressure, Ferrer said. And we answered very well. I am just proud of the offensive line, they played their butts off.
Receiver Devin Reece had three touchdown catches, and Ben Lotfailian a score. Running back Elvin Campbell ran for 125 yards.
We couldnt get (Ferrer) off rhythm, Tippmann said. If we gave them too much space, he just shredded us. We had to man up, and (Reece) is hard to man up. To their credit, they executed things very well. They are precise with their routes, and then they mix in the run and it makes them hard to defend.
Snider trailed 22-0 at halftime despite forcing three Westfield turnovers, two lost fumbles and an interception.