In the end, it came down to Bishop Chatard finishing.
The No. 5 Trojans finished plays, finished drives and ultimately finished off third-ranked West Lafayette 31-7 for their state record 13th championship in Friday’s Class 3A football state title game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
West Lafayette (13-2) had a chance to tie with 45 seconds left in the third quarter before Chatard (11-3) put the clamps down, outscoring the Red Devils 17-0 over the final 12 minutes.
• There was Gabe Coleman finishing a play, dragging would-be tacklers eight yards to the first down marker after being met at the line, setting up a 31-yard field goal that put the game away.
• There was Pete Saunders finishing a big defensive stand with a late third quarter sack in the red zone.
• There was the Chatard offense, executing when it mattered most and finishing the game off with a 9:35-2:25 fourth quarter edge in time of possession.
“The goal of ours all season has been to finish,” Saunders said. “After (an Oct. 9 loss to Guerin Catholic), when we did not finish, that really woke us up and allowed us to focus and make sure we finish out the rest of the season.”
The Trojans entered the game with a two-pronged rushing attack of Coleman (312 carries, 1,769 yards) and Jarrod Stiver (105-757), but it was third-string tailback John Chavis who got the nod to start the second half with the game tied 7-7. The senior – who had just a 1-yard carry in the first half – made the most of his opportunity, picking up nine yards on a pair of carries before breaking off a 42-yard touchdown run to give the Trojans a 14-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third.
“I knew that it would be my last everything, so I just wanted to end on a good note, bring home that 13th state title and not have any regrets,” Chavis said.
Chatard racked up 331 rushing yards on 51 carries, with Coleman (26-118), Stiver (10-108) and Chavis (6-77) balancing the workload and each scoring a touchdown.
“We have a lot of running backs that can run the ball,” said Chatard coach Vince Lorenzano. “(Chavis) had a good week of practice. When kids practice good, they’re going to play.”
The Trojans came up with a key stop on a potential game-tying drive into the red zone by West Lafayette. Saunders had the big sack on third-and-2 from the 6-yard line. The Red Devils went for it on fourth-and-10 from the 14 but Nai Carlisle couldn’t secure the pass in the end zone.
Chatard capitalized on the Red Devils’ missed opportunity. Chavis picked up a key first down on third-and-9 with a 20-yard run. Stiver followed that up by slamming it up the middle for a 65-yard scoring run for a 21-7 lead with 12 seconds left in the third.
“Our kids weren’t intimidated one bit by them. The difference was us not being able to convert in the red zone,” said West Lafayette coach Shane Fry. “In the second half, they wore us down and were able to make the plays they needed to make to win the football game.”
The win gives Lorenzano a seventh championship in 13 seasons in Chatard, moving him into fifth place on the state’s all-time list, breaking a tie with Roncalli’s Bruce Scifres. The 34-year coaching veteran was non-committal about a return next year.
“I’m just another guy,” Lorenzano said. “If you surround yourself with great people, have great families and kids, you’re going to do well.”
BISHOP CHATARD 31, WEST LAFAYETTE 7
Bishop Chatard 7 0 14 10 — 31
West Lafayette 7 0 0 0 — 7
WL — Matt Marley 6 pass from Mikey Kidwell (Cole Stapleton kick)
BC — Graham Jaeger 21 pass from Lewis Dilts (Caleb Kobets kick)
BC — John Chavis 42 run (Kobets kick)
BC — Jarrod Stiver 65 run (Kobets kick)
BC — Kobets 31 FG
BC — Gabe Coleman 30 run (Kobets kick)
Rushing – Bishop Chatard: Gabe Coleman 26-118, Jarrod Stiver 10-108, John Chavis 6-77, Lewis Dilts 3-19, Charlie DeSchryver 2-6, Matt Ernst 2-6. West Lafayette: Travis Rolle 32-146, Nai Carlisle 3-1, Mikey Kidwell 9-(minus-1).
Passing — Bishop Chatard: Dilts 4-8-1 46. West Lafayette: Kidwell 14-24-3 140.
Receiving — Bishop Chatard: Graham Jaeger 3-43, Max McGinnis 1-3. West Lafayette: Matt Marley 6-44, Rolle 3-2, Luke Touloukian 2-74, Spencer Ronchetto 2-11, Jonah Williams 1-9.