Even with a limping quarterback, Terre Haute South’s offense was performing well against Center Grove.
The defense? South coach Mark Raetz was less pleased with that unit’s performance.
The Class 5A No. 6-ranked Trojans ran for 433 yards and beat the Braves 55-28 in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school football Friday night.
“They obviously executed very well offensively and we did not execute very well defensively,” Raetz said.
The Trojans wasted little time in establishing their running game, with fullback Lane Morris opening the game with consecutive 20-plus-yard runs.
Morris finished with 156 yards on 15 carries, but it was wingback Logan Hutson who kept celebrating in the end zone. Hutson ran for four touchdowns — the game’s opening score and three more in the second quarter.
South led 7-6 after the first quarter. The snap was mishandled on the extra-point try following Hutson’s first touchdown and South quarterback Danny Etling — shrugging off the effects of the ankle injury he suffered in last week’s loss at Carmel — completed his first six passes.
That included a 45-yard scoring strike to Tyler Seibert late in the first quarter. Adam Kahn’s PAT kick put the Braves (2-3, 0-3 MIC) ahead by one.
But the Trojans dominated the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions to take a 35-7 halftime lead.
“I felt going in, I thought we had a good gameplan,” Raetz said. “I don’t know. We’ve got to watch the film and see exactly what happened.”
Even with a seemingly insurmountable deficit, Raetz kept his Purdue-bound quarterback in for the entire game. Etling and Seibert connected again on a 72-yard touchdown pass, while teammates Ian Newton and Michael Watt each ran for a score.
“Offensively I thought we played a lot better [than last week],” Raetz said. “It definitely helps getting a guy like [receiver] Jacob Johnson back. I think that showed out there. We were able to move the ball and finish some drives, which is something we struggled with last week and against [Terre Haute] North a couple weeks before that.”
Johnson, who had been out with an injury, caught seven passes for 51 yards in his return to the lineup and added 6 yards on three runs.
Etling battled through the ankle injury to complete 21 of 31 passes for 274 yards.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” Raetz assessed. “He got a lot of treatment this past week. He’s a tough kid. He’s going to do whatever he needs to do to get ready to play and I fully expect him to keep playing and keep performing well.”
Seibert finished with 190 yards on eight receptions for the Braves, who finally get to play at home next Friday — against Class 5A No. 2 Ben Davis.
“It will be nice to play at home in front of a home crowd and our home fans and our families,” Raetz said.
“Bottom line is we need to have a better week of practice, a better week of preparation, and if we have that, I expect us to play better on Friday night.”
Center Grove 55,
Terre Haute South 28
Terre Haute South 7 0 7 14 — 28
Center Grove 6 29 7 13 — 55
CG — Logan Hutson 1 run (conversion failed), 9:49 1Q
THS — Tyler Seibert 45 pass from Danny Etling (Adam Kahn kick), 1:15 1Q
CG — Hutson 5 run (Conner Stapleton run), 11:18 2Q
CG — Nathaniel Wozniak 22 pass from Luke Calvert (Ben Wheeler kick), 7:50 2Q
CG — Hutson 21 run (Wheeler kick), 7:02 2Q
CG — Hutson 10 run (Wheeler kick), 5:02 2Q
THS — Ian Newton 6 run (Kahn kick), 5:10 3Q
CG — Lane Morris 32 run (Wheeler kick), 3:25 3Q
CG — Morris 12 pass from Calvert (Wheeler kick), 10:02 4Q
THS — Seibert 72 pass from Etling (Kahn kick), 9:12 4Q
CG — Lee Clinker 3 run (kick failed), 4:28 4Q
THS — Michael Watt 9 run (Kahn kick), 2:10 4Q
First downs 12 22
Rushes-yards 21-56 58-433
Receiving yards 274 122
Comp-Att.-Int. 21-31-1 8-9-0
Penalties-yards 5-45 5-51
Fumbles/lost 1-1 3-0
Punts/Avg 3-26.3 2-37.5
Rushing — South, Watt 4-24, Seibert 1-18, Newton 12-16, Johnson 3-6, Etling 1-(-8). Center Grove, Morris 15-156, Hutson 13-91, Watson 1-64, Stapleton 9-62, Clinker 9-55, McKee 1-8, Daggett 1-6, Thomas 1-0, team 4-(-4), Calvert 4-(-5).
Passing — South, Etling 21-31-1 274. Center Grove, Calvert 8-9-0 122.
Receiving — South, Seibert 8-190, Johnson 7-51, Newton 2-24, Watt 2-6, Weakley 1-5, Bell 1-4. Center Grove, Wozniak 3-62, Morris 2-29, Buchanan 1-18, O’Brien 1-7, Stapleton 1-6.
Next — South (2-3, 0-3 MIC) plays Ben Davis next Friday. Center Grove (4-1, 2-1) plays Lawrence North next Friday.