INDIANAPOLIS — The leading rusher in the state, Delta’s Zach Mills hoped to be running rampant against Indianapolis Roncalli at its regional title game.
He, and the rest of the Eagles, ran into a brick wall instead.
Roncalli defeated Delta 49-12 Friday night in a Class 4A regional contest, ending the Eagles season.
“Roncalli is a good football team, they just beat us,” Delta coach Grant Zgunda said. “Sometimes, they’re just better than you.”
Delta was outgained on the ground 283-173 and was outmuscled on the line consistently.
Both teams got off to a sloppy start, with Mills losing a fumble on his second carry early in the first quarter. Without missing a beat, Roncalli’s Nate Fries fumbled on the next play, giving Delta the ball back.
But with the Eagles offense overwhelmed, there was little it could do to move the ball.
Facing a third-and-6, Roncalli quarterback Robbie Strader found Fries for a 10-yard touchdown, giving the Rebels a 7-0 lead.
After a quick Delta three-and-out, Strader found Will Harris for a 55-yard touchdown strike, outrunning several Delta defenders in the process before the first quarter came to a close.
“They were fast, they were tough to beat, they played smart,” Delta quarterback Ryley Pease said.
With time expiring and the game heading to halftime, there was a miscommunication between Pease and a receiver, leading to an interception in the end zone with no receiver in the area, shutting out the Eagles in the first half.
Fries opened the second half with a 66-yard touchdown run, breaking several tackles and highlighting what could have been Delta’s biggest problem on the night.
“It was more about missed tackles. We had guys in good position, but we didn’t make plays,” Zgunda said.
A successful passing game throughout the season fell flat, with Roncalli defensive backs sticking to Delta receivers like glue. A dozen of quick fades to Mitchell Hahn fell long or were deflected, shutting down the offense before it even was started.
Logan Clawson tore off a 35-yard touchdown and Pease found him for a 3-yard score later, but Roncalli tacked on four more touchdowns of its own, including a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns.
Mills was held to just 67 yards on 21 carries, another potential game-changer turned into a non-factor.
“They were just loading up the box and then we couldn’t win the one-on-one matchups on the outside,” Zgunda said.
Follow prep sports reporter David Polaski on Twitter @DavidPolaskiTSP.