Merrillville overcomes penalties and tough Bulldogs defense for 10-9 Sectional Championship victory
A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
|Gloves were important for everybody as CP battled Merrillville for the Class 6A Sectional 1 championship in sub-freezing temperatures. (All photos by Mark Smith.)|
|Merrillville's Nick Price (99) eyes CP's Matthew Walters (24) on a first half running play in the sectional title game.|
|Merrillville quarterback Peter Rodriguez (16) directs the troops against Crown Point. The Pirates were looking for their first sectional title since 2015.|
|Pirate senior Khris Walton (53) tries to rush CP quarterback Will Pettit (7) and junior guard Alex O'Toole (56) tries to stop him in the Sectional title game in Crown Point.|
|CP's Tysen Cazy (84) has the ball and the touchdown after a second quarter pass from Will Pettit in the sectional title game.|
|Big Merrillville tackle Martes Lewis (70) wants to make sure that CP senior Calvin Pawlowski (39) doesn't sack quarterback Peter Rodriguez (16) in second quarter action.|
|Merrillville's Khris Walton (59) has his eyes on CP passer Will Pettit (7) in the sectional title game.|
|CP's Silas Reeves (9) gets his hands up to bother Peter Rodriguez (16) in the 6A Sectional 1 championship game.|
|Merrillville linebacker Davin Latiker is all smiles after the Pirates finally beat Crown Point for the sectional championship.|
|Merrillville sophomore Kenneth Grant (78) wants to put a scare into CP quarterback Will Pettit (7) in the sectional final.|
|Merrillville's Kenneth Grant (78) says the Pirates are number one. (or that they won by one). Either way. Grant celebrates Merrillville's 2109 Class 6A Sectional 1 win over Crown Point 10-9. (All photos by Mark Smith.)|
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Friday, November 8, 2019 - 27 degrees and cloudy - IHSAA Class 6A, Sectional 1 Champiopnship at CROWN POINT, Ind.
Qtr: MERRILLVILLE (7-0)
Darius Schultz, 4-yard run. Austin Pupek Kick. 4:28 left.
2nd Qtr: CP (7-7) Tysen Cazy, 57-yard pass from Will Pettit. Sammy Brewer kick. 11:01 left.
MERRILLVILLE (10-7) Austin Pupek, 30 yard field goal. 7:44 left.
3rd Qtr: CROWN POINT (9-10) SAFETY. Ball batted out of the end zone after a sack by CP’s Collin Flavin. 11:00 left.
4th Qtr: No Scoring.
MERRILLVILLE (33 carries, 109 yards, one TD): Damian Dixon (HB) 8 carries, 27 yards one TD; Aahric Whitehead (QB) 7 carries, 7 yards; Darius Schultz (HB) 3 carries 11 yards TD; Peter Rodriguez (QB) 18 carries, 64 yards.
CROWN POINT (21 carries, 38 yards): Matthew Walters (HB) 17 carries, 47 yards); Davian Lira (HB) 7-20 yards; Will Pettit (QB) 6-9 yards; David O’Toole (WR) 3 carries, 1 yard.
MERRILLVILLE: Aahric Whitehead (QB) 3 of 12, 21 yards; Peter Rodriguez (QB) 4 of 6, 64 yards.
CROWN POINT: Will Pettit (QB) 8 of 19, 121 yards one TD, 3 INTs.
MERRILLVILLE: Jeremiah (WR) 2-37 yards; Armani Glass (WR) 3-38 yards, James Mitchell (WR) 1-16 yards.
CROWN POINT: Tysen Cazy (WR) 3 catches, 73 yards, TD; Ben Uran (TE) 4 catches, 43 yards; David O’Toole (WR) 1 catch, 6 yards.
MERRILLVILLE: 202 yards, 10 first downs, 0 turnovers.
CP: 198 yards, 10 downs, 5 turnovers (2 fumbles).
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The winner of a 10-9 game in the playoffs forgets about it quickly and moves
The loser of a 10-9 game in the state tournament won't forget about it for a while.
Merrillville (10-1) staggered past arch-rival Crown Point 10-9 in the Class 6A Sectional 1 championship game and it was all good for the winners.
Merrillville had been eliminated by Crown Point in sectional play in each of the past three years and to finally get that championship trophy meant a lot.
Merrillville coach Brad Seiss had heard that it doesn’t matter if you win by one point or 100.
“Yeah, we tested that theory,” he said after the game. “Winning ugly. Penalties were a killer, but we didn't turn the ball over.”
The Pirates drew 10 penalties, four for face mask violations. But Crown Point fumbeld twice and threw three interceptions. All that helped create a 10-9 final score.
Merrillville scored in the first quarter on a four-yard run by halfback Darius Schultz. But, after two first quarter turnovers didn't bury them. CP junior quarterback Will Pettit tossed a game-tying 57-yard TD pass to senior Tysen Cazy.
The game should have been tied at halftime, but Cazy fumbled a punt at the Crown Point 13, leading to a 29-yard field goal by the Pirates’ Austin Pupek with 7:44 to go in the second quarter.
Crown Point ‘rallied’ early in the third quarter. On a 3rd-and 20 from the Merrillville 10-yard line, CP defensive end Collin Flavin sacked QB Peter Rodriguez and the ball was fumbled back into the Pirate end zone. Merrillville’s Damian Dixon batted the ball out of the back of the end zone before CP could recover it for a touchdown.
The play was ruled a safety and the 10-9 score was created with 23 minutes left in the game.
After that, Crown Point had the ball five times. CP punted twice, turned the ball over twice and missed a 42-yard field goal.
The sub-freezing weather seemed to limit both teams' ability to throw. Merrillville QBs Aahric Whitehead and Peter Rodriguez completed a total of six passes for 87 yards.
But Crown Point (6-5) had two big chances to change the outcome. With the score 10-9, CP picked up three first downs and reached the Merrillville 38-yard line before penalties forced them to punt with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth period, a 22-yard run by Mathew Walters moved the ball to the Merrillville 43 and a face mask penalty put the ball of the Pirates' 31. Sophomore soccer player Sammy Brewer lined up for a 42-yard field goal with 4:04 to play.
The potential game-winning kick was accurate, but if fell about one yard short in the frosty night air.
For Seiss, this was his second sectional championship in five years of coaching the Pirates.
“It means a lot,” he said, “for the fact that my third year we were 1-9 and the kids. These kids lifted themselves out of that.”
DOG NOTES: The sectional finals was the 12th game between Crown Point and Merrillville in the last six years with Merrillville leading during that period eight wins to four.
Senior defensive end Collin Flavin was in on 13 tackles, including a quarterback sack that produced the safety in the third quarter.