Name a way to score a touchdown, and Jake Archbold probably did it in Homestead's 38-14 win over Carroll in the Class 6A Sectional 3 final Friday night.
There was the 20-yard touchdown run down the middle of the field four minutes into the game. There was the 9-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Luke Goode in the second quarter that put Homestead up 17-0. And there was the fourth quarter touchdown pass, when Archbold got the lateral from Goode and then hurled it downfield to Jared Kistler for the 38-yard score to make it 31-14.
Archbold scored the final touchdown of the game, returning the interception of Carroll's Jeffrey Becker 54 yards.
But arguably his biggest play of the game came on defense as he pulled down the second of four interceptions.
Homestead (11-0) had gone into halftime with a 17-0 lead, but early in the fourth quarter Carroll (7-4) pulled within 24-14 with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Becker to Layton Mitchell. On the ensuing kick, Homestead fumbled the return, and Ethan Beaupre' recovered it at the Spartans' 3-yard line, seemingly giving the Chargers the break they desperately needed. But as Becker rolled to his right, apparently looking for Mitchell in the end zone, he threw the ball low and into Archbold's arms.
“It was a difficult situation. We were put in a bad spot defensively, but that's what we've worked for all season,” Archbold said. “Good pressure by the defensive line, and the ball just happened to turn out in my hands.”
Archbold and the Spartans showed a knack for getting themselves out of trouble. Beaupre' picked off Goode in the first quarter, but the Homestead defense turned around and forced a 3-and-out. After the Spartans fumbled midway through the fourth quarter, Archbold grabbed his first interception minutes later to neutralize the Chargers threat.
After Goode was tackled for a 15-yard loss in the red zone in the third quarter, he responded on the next play with a 21-yard pass to Kistler to put Homestead up 24-7.
“There was a little bit of a stink on us from the first three quarters of last week, and I think these kids were hungry,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said, referring to his team's overtime win over Noblesville last Friday. “The kids came out and they started playing hard right away. We've been preaching this all year, whoever plays the hardest the longest wins. And I think this group has done this all season. So I'm really proud of where they're at, this accomplishment, and I'm looking forward to next week.”
The Spartans will play host to Carmel in the regionals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.