Saturday, November 11, 2017 1:00 am
Bishop Dwenger 34 Angola 0
Saints wrap up another regional
Blank unbeaten foe for state-leading 20th
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
ANGOLA – Bishop Dwenger won its state-leading 20th regional crown with a 34-0 win over Angola in the Class 4A regional championship Friday.
“I was confident in my team coming into this game,” Saints running back Chip Clark said. “We're experienced in this. Two years ago, we were in this same position and we won it 8-0. We came out slow, but we got a good speech during halftime and came out strong.”
Bishop Dwenger (10-3) led 7-0 at halftime but knew it had to score more to avoid the comeback that Angola (12-1) was capable of. The Hornets had defeated NorthWood and Culver Academy in back-to-back games en route to a sectional title.
“We knew (Angola was) an excellent team and had great determination because they'd come back from behind two consecutive weekends,” Saints coach Chris Svarczkopf said.
“We knew their offense was extremely balanced. We charted their plays the last two weeks and it was almost 50/50 running and passing. It was a tough preparation.
“We have to pick our poison. Do you want to try to stop the pass? Or do you want to try and stop the run? We chose, this particular week against this particular opponent, to try to stop the run and it worked out.”
At halftime, the second-half goal was easy to pinpoint, and the Saints knew they had the skill to execute.
“After we wore their defense down a little bit, we got a sense that we could do this and win a regional,” quarterback Patrick O'Keefe said.
“We just thought that we needed to put more points on the board. The defense was doing fine having the zero up, but the offense needed to step up to ultimately put them away.
“(Angola) didn't let us make any big plays that we wanted to make and when we saw the opportunities, we made the big plays and ultimately, it came out positive for us.”
The Dwenger defense made a stop at Angola's 44-yard line, forcing it into a three-and-out.
The subsequent possession for the Saints was a six-play, 58-yard drive to make it 14-0 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.
Clark set up his team after 14- and 20-yard runs for T.J. McGarry to run it in for a 4-yard score.
“It really was (a momentum shift) because you give their offense the ball at midfield and, even though we played well, we were fortunate at times,” Svarczkopf said, “and with that offense, it could have easily been 7-7.
“But the defense came up with a great stop and the offense took it down and scored and now it's 14-0 instead of 7-7. That's huge.”
Tommy Steele would make it 21-0 with a 4-yard run with 2:30 left in the third, and McGarry would get another with 16.4 seconds remaining in the quarter to make it 27-0.
Steele struck again on what would be the Saints' final possession with a 15-yard run to make it 34-0.
The defense was driven to maintain a shutout as it denied the Hornets after a first-and-goal at the Saints' 2-yard line.
A pass from quarterback Chance Roddy was defended, the line kept Chase Schnepf from running it in on a second-and-goal, forced a 5-yard loss on the third down and tackled Sean Miller for a loss after a pass on the fourth attempt.
“They work awfully hard,” Svarczkopf said. “They really wanted to have that score the way it finished. I'm so happy for them.”
The Saints will play host to Lowell in the 4A semistate. Lowell defeated New Prairie 25-20 to win its second consecutive regional title.