Make your home page

Ben Davis makes history with 10th football championship

Ben Davis fight for 10th state championship

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — No David defeating Goliath this year.

The Ben Davis Giants lived up to their nickname, dominating their way to a 10th football state championship Saturday. The Giants downed Crown Point, 38-10, in the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 6A title game.

That was only an exclamation point on a difficult — yet triumphant — road to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Giants had to beat No. 1-ranked Brownsburg in the first round of the playoffs before going on to defeat Pike, Cathedral, and No. 2-ranked Center Grove on their way to Championship Saturday. That juggernaut of a playoff draw helped the Giants secure their first state title since 2017.

First year head coach Russ Mann led Ben Davis to a nearly perfect 14-1 season — losing only to Florida’s IMG Academy early in the season. He becomes one of the few to win a state championship during his first season as head coach.

With the win, Ben Davis also makes state history, becoming the first public school in the entire state of Indiana to win 10 football state championships.

“That’s something that we’ve dreamed about,” Mann said. “We established this date of 11-25-2023. We wanted to win the race out of the public schools to be the first one to win a 10th state championship. We won that race. Finally won the 10th state championship.”

Here’s how it happened:

Quarterback Thomas Gotkowski continued his spectacular season with the first touchdown of the night — a 32-yarder to Zane Skibinski. The Giants held a 10-3 lead at halftime. The wheels came off in the second half. Running back Alijah Price started it off with back-to-back touchdowns. A trick play and another Gotkowski-Skibinski score put the Giants up 38-3 in the fourth quarter.

The Ben Davis defense set up three Giants touchdowns in the second half with three key interceptions. The Giants picked the Bulldogs off a total of four times.

Gotkowski finished the night completing 15 of 23 passes for 156 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Mark Zackery led the receiving corps with 86 yards and a touchdown off six catches, while Skibinski added on 73 yards and two touchdowns from four catches. On the ground, Price recorded 141 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants win caps off a big championship weekend for the IHSAA. Fellow Indianapolis-area schools Bishop Chatard and Lutheran won their respective titles Friday. Fort Wayne Bishop Luers beat North Posey, 40-3, for Luers 12th title, while East Central rolled over NorthWood, 42-14, for a second straight 4A championship.