Photos by Doug McSchooler | For The Journal Gazette Woodlan players react after falling 15-14 to Southridge in the Class 2A state championship game Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Woodlan senior Ah’lan Howard breaks up a pass intended for Southridge junior Matt Price during the first half of Saturday’s game.
Sunday, November 26, 2017 1:00 am
Class 2A State final
Warriors' title hopes dashed
Southridge scores with 1:22 remaining for 2A championship
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
JUSTIN DURKES, WOODLAN
206 passing yards, TD
JACK RHOADES, WOODLAN
71 rushing yards, TD
AARON HAHN, WOODLAN
139 receiving yards
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INDIANAPOLIS – No. 5 Southridge was unrelenting as the Raiders defeated No. 6 Woodlan 15-14 in the Class 2A state championship game Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Southridge's Tucker Schank scored on a 42-yard pass from Jayce Harter and converted a 2-point conversion with 1:22 left in the game.
“We knew the quarterback could throw,” Warriors coach Sherwood Haydock said. “We also knew that they're run-dominated, and we put together the same defense that we did against Eastbrook (in the semistate) and we shut down the run today.
“We knew they'd get some passes, but we didn't count on the screen hitting us for a (42-yard) touchdown. That's tough. Our defense played well until that play.”
Woodlan (12-3) went up 14-7 31 seconds into the fourth quarter on a 13-yard pass from Justin Durkes to Ah'Lan Howard.
“That fourth quarter was big for us to come out and score early and to be up that whole quarter until the last minute and a half,” Durkes said. “That last touchdown and two-point conversion, that kind of hurt us.
“We knew they were a powerhouse team. We knew their quarterback could throw the ball just as well as he could run the ball. Him and (Tucker Schank) carried their team.”
That final quarter produced a lot of hindsight reflections by Haydock.
After three two-yard runs, Woodlan threw an interception at the Southridge 33 with 2:40 remaining to set up the winning drive.
“If I'd known they were going to go out and score,” Haydock said, “I would have ran the ball ... on purpose to burn another 40 seconds. They made plays when they had to and we made good plays all night, just not that last one.
“One minute, if we can get the ball back and burn the clock (we win), then you have a fourth and 7 and they throw that screen. It's just tough. Our defense played tough all game until that point. They deserve to win because they stayed up, stayed with it.”
In the first quarter, the Warriors scored on their first drive, a 4-play, 77-yard scoring drive set up by a 54-yard pass from Durkes to Aaron Hahn capped by a 27-yard run by Jack Rhoades to go up 7-0 with 10:58 left in the quarter. Southridge (13-2) scored on a 6-play, 71-yard drive when Colin Smith ran for 12 yards with 2:08 left in the first.
Durkes completed 14 of 30 passes with two interceptions for 206 yards and a score, Rhoades finished with 71 of the team's 147 rushing yards on 21 carries, and Aaron Hahn caught five passes for 139 yards.
Schank finished with 52 yards rushing on 13 carries and 121 receiving yards on five catches, while Harter completed 11 of 23 passes with three interceptions for 202 yards and a score.
The teams were tied at 7 at halftime despite close calls in the second quarter.
Durkes' pass was intercepted in the end zone shortly into the second quarter, and the Warriors got the ball back one play later from a fumble recovery. The subsequent drive ended with a missed 22-yard field goal attempt.
“We thought we were secure in the fourth quarter, scoring that quick, and then a few mistakes just let it up,” Rhoades said. “I'm very proud of everyone, our coaches, our whole team. ... I'm upset, but at the same time I'm very proud because we worked very hard and we've come a long way.”
Notes: Harter was named the mental attitude winner; it was the Raiders' first state title in four visits to the finals.