(WISH) — Through an unusual holiday weekend, one Thanksgiving tradition remains intact: Indiana high school football teams are playing for state titles at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Central Indiana is well represented, with a local team featured in all six championship games! Here’s a recap of the 2020 IHSAA State Championships:
Class 6A State Championship: Westfield vs. Center Grove
Westfield was appearing in the championship game for the second time in five years, but the Rocks have yet to win a 6A crown. Center Grove is back in the title game after coming up one game short last season. But the top-ranked Trojans weren’t leaving without a blue ring this time around. Center Grove got off to a hot start in the first half thanks to a rush-attack from Carson Steele (finished with 138 rushing yards) and decent day from Tayven Jackson who threw two passing touchdowns. Eric Moore’s guys never gave up more than 14 points in a game this season. Center Grove goes undefeated for a 6A state title.
Final score: Center Grove 38, Westfield 14
Class 4A State Championship: Roncalli vs. Hobart
This championship boiled down to two storied programs. It was Roncalli’s 13th state appearance and Hobart’s 12th. The Rebels dominated this game from start to finish. Roncalli quarterback Aiden Leffler finished 12-of-16 for 200 yards passing with five touchdowns through the air, which ties a 4A Championship game record. Rebels get title No. 10, and head coach John Rodenberg wins it all in his first year at Roncalli.
“I told these guys that they weren’t really going to get a chance to know me. I said, ‘You can either trust me or it could be rough sledding’,” John Rodenberg added, “And then we got to the Columbus North game and we had to come from behind to win that game, and I think any time you can come from behind to win a football game, it’s a great view into what kind of team you have. At that time, I knew we had a really good football team.”
Final score: Roncalli 49, Hobart 7
Class 2A State Championship: Western Boone vs. Fort Wayne Bishop Luers
The Knights had a 21-13 lead at halftime, and with 3:38 to play, Luers was holding onto a 9-point advantage on the defending state champs. But in the final 1:36 of the game, the Stars scored 10 points to win their third-straight state title and 18th consecutive tournament victory. It was a 38-yard, game-winning field goal from sophomore kicker Josiah Smith that lifted WeBo to another championship.
After the game, Josiah Smith said, “I was thinking about all the work we put in this season, and how the seniors have stepped it up for us. And the snap came back, got the hold down, and I did the rest. I really don’t know what I was thinking as I went out there. I was thinking, I’m going to make this or I’m going to go home and Jesus loves me. That’s all I have to say about that.”
Smith is the son of former Colts punter Hunter Smith. He also missed an extra point earlier in the championship game, but his head coach, Justin Pelly, was confident in his kicker to complete the comeback.
“He’s got ice in his veins, because you know we missed one earlier,” Pelly added. “We played some catch-up, but I told the kids at halftime we were going to kick a field goal to win this thing and for some reason, I was right.”
Final score: Western Boone 36, Bishop Luers 35