Bolda's 2 TD passes and Watson's back-to-back QB sacks lead Bulldogs to 14-7 Sectional Title win over Portage
A USA-365.com Special Report by Frank Sprankle & Dave Woodworth
|Portage Indians senior kicker Stephen Sczakas gets some reps in before the Class 6A Sectional 1 Championship against the Crown Point Bulldogs. (Photos by Frank Sprankle)|
|Before taking on the Crown Point Bulldogs in the Class 6A, Sectional 1 Championship, the Portage Indians get loose on their sideline.|
|Juniors Ray Cosey (6) and Christian Berry (4) gather in pregame warm-ups before the Crown Point Bulldogs Class 6A, Sectional 1 Championship against the Portage Indians.|
|Jubilation hits the Crown Point Bulldogs sideline as they claim the 2017 Class 6A, Sectional 1 Championship over the Portage Indians.|
|Senior linebacker Caden Watson recorded two key quarterback sacks near the end of the game to help seal the Bulldogs' 14-7 victory over Portage. Here Watson proudly displays the Class 6A, Sectional 1 Championship hardwood after the game. (Photo by Frank Sprankle)|
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Friday, November 3, 2017, 43 degrees & cloudy (at kick-off) at PORTAGE, IN
2nd Qtr: CROWN POINT (7-0) Eric Mahaffey, 10-yard pass from Ryan Bolda. 57-yard drive, 8 plays. 2:21 TOP. James Priddy kick failed. 11:39 left.
CROWN POINT (14-0) Tyler Jones, 4-yard pass from Ryan Bolda. 68-yard drive, 10 plays. 2:24 min TOP. James Priddy, two-point conversion pass from Ryan Bolda. 0:05 left.
3rd Qtr: PORTAGE (7-14) Greg Milledge, 99-yard pass from Zack Warchus. 99-yard drive, 1 pla. 0:13 min. TOP. Stephen Szakacs kick. 2:47 left.
4th Qtr: No scoring.
CROWN POINT (36 carries, 108 yards): Tyler Gomez (TB) 23-89 yards; Scott Mills (RB) 11-21 yards; Ryan Bolda (QB) 2-(-2) yards.
PORTAGE (27 carries, 56 yards): Anthony Maceo (QB) 15-51 yards, fumble; Sterling Lawrence (RB) 2-4 yards; Cody Russell (RB), 3-4 yards, fumble; Zack Warchus (QB-Wing) 6-(-3) yards; Riley Damian (RB) 1-0 yards.
CP: Ryan Bolda (QB) 15 of 24, 151 yards, 2 TDs.
Portage: Zack Warchus (QB) 2 of 6, 134 yards; Scott Hansen (Wing) 0-1, 0 yards.
CP: Ben Fridrich (HB) 3-17 yards; Eric Mahaffey (WR) 2-15 yards, TD; Tyler Jones (WR) 4-62 yards, TD; Timmy Angel (WR) 4-42 yards; James Priddy (WR) 1-4 yards.
PORTAGE: Greg Milledge (WR) 2-134 yards, TD.
CP: 259 yards, 14 first downs.
PORTAGE: 190 yards, 5 first downs.
CP: 3-30 yards; Portage: 3-34 yards.
CP: 0 interceptions, 0 fumbles.
PORTAGE: 0 interception, 2 fumbles.
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(11-03-2017) The path to history for the Crown Point Bulldogs proved none
too easy. They had to protect a tight lead and without two key offensive
But in the end, the Bulldogs achieved a historic first as they defeated the Portage Indians 14-7 in last Friday’s Class 6A Sectional Title Game. It was the Bulldogs' first back-to-back string of sectional championships in school history.
The Indians fumbled the ball on their first two possessions, including their first offensive play of the game by senior fullback Cody Russell.
However, the second fumble by senior quarterback Anthony Maceo led to the first points for the visitors. In the second quarter, Bulldogs senior quarterback Ryan Bolda struck the end zone with a 10-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior tight end Eric Mahaffey just 21-seconds into the second quarter... and one play after the Bulldogs lost starting senior H-back Ben Fridrich to a leg injury just five seconds into the second quarter. The point-after-touchdown kick attempted by senior punter-wide receiver (and backup place-kicker) James Priddy failed as the Bulldogs settled for a 6-0 lead with 11:39 left in the second quarter.
Before halftime, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 14-0. Bolda for his second touchdown pass of the night went to senior wide receiver Tyler Jones from four yards out with 5.5 seconds remaining in the first half.
Senior James Priddy would then help tack on the two-point conversion with a reception from Bolda in the end zone, helping make-up for the miss extra point attempt earlier in the quarter.
Normally the Bulldogs punter, Priddy found himself as the placekicker after senior Ben Fridrich left the game in the second quarter due to an injury on offense as the H-Back.
An injury also forced senior running back Tyler Gomez to exit the game with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter.
“Anytime you have injuries it hurts, but you just have to play through it,” Enright said.
The Indians refused to let down in the second half. Rotating at the quarterback spot between Maceo and sophomore Zack Warchus, it was the underclassman who delivered the biggest offensive play for either team, a 99-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Greg Milledge with 2:47 left in the third quarter. Ironically, the exciting play followed a brilliant punt by James Priddy and CP special teams coverage play that downed the ball at the Portage 1-yard line. The Indians' touchdown made it a one score lead for the Bulldogs, 14-7.
The competitive half continued well into the fourth quarter, but with under two minutes remaining in the game, senior linebacker Caden Watson delivered back-to back sacks of Portage QB Zack Warchus. That was followed by a fourth down interception by junior cornerback Ray Cosey, that was later ruled an ineligible pass, as officials ruled Warchus had crossed over the line of scrimmage on the roll-out passing play, causing a loss of down and turning the ball over to the Bulldogs on downs. Ryan Bolda then lined up his team in "victory formation" with 1:01 minutes left, taking a knee for two plays to run out the clock from the Portage 5-yard line.
“It was very tense. We know their offense is very explosive with Maceo and Milledge, said the Bulldogs' senior linebacker Caden Watson. "We just had to be ready for what was going on.” Watson and his teammates are well aware of the Penn Kingsmen team they will be facing in the Regional Championship game on Nov. 10 in Crown Point.
“We are not going down without a fight, we are going to fight as hard as we can to beat Penn,” Watson said. “We know they are a very tough opponent.”
The Bulldogs improved their
overall record to 7-4 while the Indians closed out the season at 5-6.
The win marked the sixth sectional title for Crown Point and their first time achieved in back-to-back years. Like last year, the Bulldogs also claimed the sectional on the road, having defeated the Merrillville Pirates.
The victory puts the Bulldogs in the regional championship and a date with the Penn Kingsman, who knocked off the Warsaw Tigers at home 40-0, also last Friday night.
A year ago, the Bulldog lost at
Penn 23-0. But unlike 2016, next Friday night’s tilt will be played in Crown
Point. Yet the Bulldogs for one night, just wanted to savor their second
straight sectional crown.
“I could not be more proud of this group,” Crown Point Head Coach Kevin Enright said. “It was a big win for us.”
DOG NOTES: The Bulldogs and Indians split their two meetings in 2017, both played at Portage. In week five on Sept. 15, Crown Point lost 27-10.
All six sectional titles for the Bulldogs have now been won with three different head coaches. With Kevin Enright at the helm in 2016 and now 2017, he joins Brad Smith, who won in 1988 and 1991; and Chip Pettit, who won in 2006 and 2011.
This win marked the fourth time the Bulldogs won a sectional championship on the road. In 1988 Crown Point defeated the Cavemen at Mishawaka, while defeating the Pirates at Merrillville for the sectional titles in 2011 and 2016.
USA-365.com & Indiana-Sports Programming Note: Crown Point looks to claim their second regional title in school history on Friday, Nov. 10, their first since 1988. USA-365.com and Indiana-Sports.com will carry next Friday’s Class 6A regional championship as the Bulldogs host Penn at Bulldog Turf. Coverage beginning with the pregame show at 5:45 p.m. (CST) with the kickoff at 6:30 p.m. (CST).