Down by 24 points to Carmel late in the first half — and with a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship seemingly slipping away — Ben Davis’ football team didn’t call it a night. That decision led to a comeback that likely will remembered for a long time by Giants fans.
Ben Davis (7-2) scored late in the first half to cut the margin to 17, then dominated play in the second half, outscoring the Greyhounds 21-0 to pull off a stunning 28-24 win. The Giants finished 6-1 in the MIC, tied atop the standings with No. 3 Center Grove — a team they defeated 37-20 two weeks ago.
“The common thing would have been to hang our heads,” said Giants quarterback Kyle Castner, who threw for 251 yards and constantly kept second-half drives alive by completing 13 of his final 16 throws. “But we didn’t do that. I think our defense really got going in the second half and shut them down, and the offense started to click a little bit more.”
The Giants — outgained 144-38 in the first quarter — rolled up 202 yards of offense in the second half while holding Carmel (6-3, 5-2) to 75 yards during that stretch.
“We had a bit of a heart-to-heart at halftime,” Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner said. “We started focusing on what we were supposed to do, and I think we played a little more physical in the second half.”
Castner repeatedly connected with Michael Beaty (11 catches, 129 yards), setting up the running of tailback Chris Evans, who ran for 115 yards on 25 carries. Evans scored all three Giants touchdowns in the second half, breaking off a 33-yard run in the third and a 5-yarder early in the fourth.
His final score, from 1 yard out, came with 10:43 to go and capped an 11-play, 57-yard drive. Carmel would get the ball back two more times — the last time with 1:48 to go –but was stopped on fourth down four plays later.
Carmel’s offensive line blew the Giants off the ball in the first 15 minutes; that and the misdirection prowess of Greyhound quarterback Isaac James made for a lethal combination for the visitors.
James led Carmel on scoring drives the first four times his team touched the ball. The first was keyed by a 34-yard pass to Austin Roberts, setting up a 30-yard field goal from Adam Kremer.
The next three Carmel possessions resulted in touchdowns, all by James on the ground. His runs of 13 and 21 yards set up a 1-yard score with 3:24 left in the first quarter. After Jack Conway picked off a Castner pass, Carmel moved 33 yards in just five plays, with James going in from 17 yards out.
Another Ben Davis turnover gave Carmel the ball at the Giants’ 42, and James again led the way, breaking free for an 18-yard run to set up his own 7-yard score.
Ben Davis got going late in the half, going on an eight-play, 67-yard drive . The final 47 yards came on two Caster connections to Beaty. Ben Davis got the ball back with 56 seconds left and drove to the Carmel 12, but Danny Alvarez’s 29-yard field goal was wide right as the half expired.