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Turnovers cost Cadets

West Lafayette turns interception into winning TD

– David Morrison wanted the ball last with the game on the line.

He needed more time.

West Lafayette turned a Morrison interception into the go-ahead touchdown with 33 seconds left in a 25-21 comeback over Concordia at Straley Field to win the Class 3A regional championship.

“It kind of came down to who had the ball the last time with the most time left and that was them,” Morrison said.

The Ball State-bound Morrison completed 25 of 39 passes for 301 yards, but turnovers plagued the Cadets in their quest for their first regional title since 2007. Concordia lost a pair of fumbles on fourth down plays, and Morrison was intercepted twice, including with 3:24 to go when West Lafayette’s Kyle Turner grabbed a wobbly throw on third-and-9 and returned it near midfield.

“We did some things uncharacteristic for us,” Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said. “We had kind of nipped the turnover bug for a while. Tonight, it kind of reared its ugly head again. That killed us.”

The ensuing Red Devils drive concluded with senior running back Maurice Woodard scoring a 1-yard touchdown, his third, to put West Lafayette ahead.

During the drive, West Lafayette was able to convert on third down inside the 10 on a Woodard run and on fourth-and-3 when quarterback Parker Ronchetto scrambled, reversed field and gained 27 yards.

On the previous West Lafayette drive, after Concordia’s defense held West Lafayette in check following a 13-point first quarter, Ronchetto’s deep pass down the right sideline was caught by Turner for a 58-yard score.

After an unsuccessful onside kick, it was West Lafayette’s defense that had to win the game.

Turner’s interception helped do just that and after Concordia got the ball near midfield with 30 seconds to go, Morrison was sacked twice as the clock expired.

“I knew we had to get the ball back,” Turner said of the mindset after failing to recover the onside kick.

“There was four or so minutes left. He threw the ball up. I saw it sitting there and just went for it.”

It ended a night where Morrison was picked off inside the red zone at the end of the first half but had success against West Lafayette’s secondary all night, including to junior Jorden Kindig, who caught 10 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

“You’re there on your half of the field with very few seconds left and they know we have to pass,” Morrison said. “They’re pinning their ears back, they’re coming, so it’s just a tough situation.”