NOBLESVILLE — There was a feeling before Friday night’s game that something special was about to go down at Guerin Catholic.
The students, clad in neon colors, swarmed to the stands when the gates were opened. Nearly three hours later, they rushed the field to celebrate a 17-13 upset over Bishop Chatard on homecoming.
The Class 3A No. 10 Eagles (6-2) earned their first-ever win over the No. 3 Trojans (5-3) in their sixth try — and in dramatic fashion. Guerin Catholic scored the game’s final 17 points to overcome a 13-0 halftime deficit.
“I’ve never felt better. We brought pride to our school and all the other football players before us,” said Guerin Catholic running back Carter McGinnis. “The crowd was insane. Our crowd, they’re the best. There isn’t a better student section in the state.”
The Golden Eagles’ offense exploded in the second half after they accumulated only 45 yards of offense in the first half. Guerin took the lead for good on the legs of McGinnis, who run roughshod over the Trojans’ defense in the second half. McGinnis punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 17-13 with 8:40 left to play. He bounced out to the left on fourth and goal, and walked untouched into the end zone. His score was set up by a Dawson McMahon interception.
The teams then exchanged possessions before the Eagles had to make one more defensive stand. The Trojans took over near midfield with 2:04 to play. The home crowd fell silent as the Trojans moved the ball to the Eagles’ 28-yard line. In stepped Brennan Thieneman, who picked off Chatard quarterback Billy Dury on the far side of the field. Guerin Catholic sealed the upset win after they picked up one first down.
“They kept throwing to that side of the field, so I was just drifting over there,” Thieneman said. “I saw the outside guy coming in the middle. He just chucked it deep, so I went and got it.”
Guerin Catholic played the role of underdog against the heavily favored Trojans. Previous results against Chatard led to the assumption that it was a foregone conclusion the Eagles were going to lose by double digits, but the team wasn’t having any part of that mindset.
“I loved the doubt,” said Eagles quarterback Elliot Charlebois. “That fuels us. That boosts our energy. That feeds us. I loved the doubt.”
It looked like the blowout was going to be bigger than expected. The Golden Eagles trailed 13-0 at the half and had no semblance of a functioning offense. The Trojans scored on a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs, courtesy of Gabe Coleman and Jarrod Stiver.
“I think the best thing we did was persist and solve problems as the game went along,” said second-year Guerin Catholic coach Tom Dilley. “We got our feet under ourselves and started to believe. Yes, there was some doubt at the beginning of the game. … We just hang in there and kept grinding away.”
Things looked bleak for the Golden Eagles when they were forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Caleb Quick on the opening drive of the third quarter. They marched down to the Bishop Chatard 4-yard line, but then had a negative run, a sack and an incompletion. The crowd groaned.
Still, the score ignited the defense, which forced the Trojans into their first three-and-out. The offense was now feeling it, too, and McGinnis pulled the Eagles within 13-10 when he ripped off a 37-yard touchdown run with 2:02 left in the second quarter.
McGinnis, who added the game-winner in the fourth quarter, said all the credit went to the offensive line for opening “so many huge holes” in the second half. Charlebois though, had high praise for his running back.
“He’s amazing. He’s one heck of a player,” Charlebois said. “He’s awesome. There isn’t anything more to it.”
Dilley said even though the team was coming off a loss and playing at homecoming, this game wasn’t a must-win.
“All it really means right now is we won this football game,” Dilley said. “We had a good week of practice. We’ll have a better week next week and keep getting better. Now it’s 24 hours and it’s back to work.”
The team, though, recognized the importance and magnitude of the win, ranking it among their biggest at Guerin Catholic.
“It’s amazing,” Charlebois said. “There’s no better feeling in the world.”
GUERIN CATHOLIC 17, BISHOP CHATARD 13
BC — Gabe Coleman 2 run (David Hannon kick)
BC — Jarrod Stiver 2 run (Hannon kick failed)
GC — FG Caleb Quick 30
GC — Carter McGinnis 37 run (Quick kick)
GC — McGinnis 1 run (Quick kick)
Rushing — Guerin Catholic, McGinnis 31-104, Jack Sahm 1-3, Thomas Kaser 1-0, Elliot Charlebois 3-(-6). Bishop Chatard, Gabe Coleman 30-135, Jarrod Stiver 11-36, Billy Dury 2-14, Matt Adkins 1-4
Passing – Guerin Catholic, Elliot Charlebois 7-14-0 106. Bishop Chatard, Billy Dury 5-16-2 47
Receiving – Guerin Catholic, Arion Shinaver 2-59, Dax Schnase 1-18, Vinny Ferucci 1-11, Emmett McMahon 1-7, Jack Freudenthal 1-7, Carter McGinnis 1-4. Bishop Chatard, Gabe Coleman 1-17, Max McGinnis 2-15, Jarrod Stiver 1-9, Brian Goldner 1-6.