Caught your breath yet from Ben Davis’ 49-42 win over Avon on Friday? A few thoughts and leftovers from that instant classic and some other notes from the weekend:
• All things considered, I’m not sure I’ve covered a better high school quarterback than Avon senior Brandon Peters. The 6-5 Michigan recruit can make it look so easy sometimes, even against the top-ranked team in the state. Peters was 26-for-44 for 381 yards for four touchdowns on Friday and – I think I can speak for most in attendance – those numbers probably don’t tell the whole story of how dominant he looked at times. He did throw two interceptions, though one bounced out of his receiver’s hands and into the waiting arms of a defensive back. The second one was a killer, though it also can’t be solely pinned on Peters. With the game tied 42-42, Avon was driving for the game-winning score when linebacker William Pate blindsided Peters as he released the ball. Lashaun Minor picked it off and raced 72 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 1:48 left.
“Brandon made a lot of plays for us,” Avon coach Mark Bless said. “I’m not going to fault him at all on that at all. I was very pleased with what we did offensively.”
• Speaking of Avon’s offense, Peters has plenty of help. Andrew Griffin, a 6-1, 190-pound senior, is as good a receiver as there is in the area. The Princeton recruit had 11 catches for 146 yards. Matt Moore, a 6-3, 215-pound senior tight end, is just as valuable. Moore finished with nine catches for 116 yards. And senior receiver Harrison Weber (four catches, 88 yards) is also a weapon. The Orioles also have a strong offensive line and some guys who can carry it in senior Darian Love, junior Bryant Fitzgerald and junior Corey DuPriest. Avon rushed for 166 yards.
• There’s something to be said for finding a way to win. Ben Davis seems to have that down to a science. The Giants won five tournament games last year on its way to a state title by an average of 43-34. Is there reason for concern for Ben Davis moving forward? Even though Avon rolled up 547 yards, I think a bigger issue was on the offensive side, where the Giants were unable to sustain drives on the ground. They more than made up for it with big plays – including passes of 73, 70 and 50 yards – but the ground game was not clicking, for the most part. Chris Evans, whose 50-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass tied it 42-all, finished with just 36 rushing yards on 17 carries. Evans would never say it, but there weren’t many holes to hit. He’s definitely a marked man this season, but if junior quarterback Azjai Cooper (11-for-17, 255 yards) can keep hitting those big passes, it should loosen things up a bit.
• Even if defeat, I’d guess most in attendance on Friday night left the Ben Davis field with a more favorable impression of Avon than when they arrived. The Orioles are a legitimate state title contender, though Ben Davis will likely be waiting again in the sectional.
• Cathedral lost. Carmel lost. Warren Central lost. It was 0-3 weekend against Ohio powers at the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown this weekend. Cathedral rallied in the fourth quarter before falling to Cincinnati Moeller 21-19. On Saturday, Carmel dug an even deeper hole, falling behind 27-0 to Cincinnati LaSalle before rallying in a 35-28 loss to the defending state champions. And Warren Central, in the final game on Saturday, was down 20-0 to Cincinnati Colerain but cut it to 20-16 and had the ball in Colerain territory late in the fourth quarter. Colerain, the No. 9 team nationally by USA TODAY, won 27-16.
Indy came away empty in the win column but the three programs were in the game deep into the fourth quarter.
• Westfield at Zionsville is shaping up as one of the better games of the weekend. Westfield pulled off one of best wins of Friday night, knocking off Southport 40-36 in the final seconds. Zionsville, one of my sleeper teams going into the season, is 2-0 after a 35-12 win over Lebanon on Friday.
• Five other scores that caught my eye: (1) Lawrence North 65-47 over Brownsburg. If the Wildcats can get some stops, they may win a few more games this season. Up next is rival Lawrence Central on Friday. (2) Decatur Central 32-25 over Perry Meridian in overtime. The Hawks are quietly 2-0 going into a big Mid-State Conference game on Friday at Whiteland. (3) Plainfield 34-31 over Class 5A No. 10 Terre Haute North. Big win for the Quakers as Dylan Foster rushed for 218 yards and two scores. (4) Heritage Christian 39-34 over Triton Central. That’s a huge win for Heritage Christian. Jackson Heath passed for 259 yards and three touchdowns. (5) Bishop Chatard 17-10 over Lawrence Central. Gerrid Doaks rushed for 197 yards for Lawrence Central but the Trojans notched a nice win as John Chavis rushed for 188 yards.
• Fishers (2-0) will be without standout safety R.J. Potts for a big game at Noblesville (2-0) on Friday. Potts, a junior, was ejected from Friday’s 20-8 win over Pike after a helmet-to-helmet hit on sliding quarterback Derek Hawthorne. Under the Indiana High School Athletic Association rules, a player who is ejected must also miss the following game.
• Tickets are on sale for the inaugural Victory Field Gridiron Classic presented by the Indiana National Guard. The games are Oct. 2 (Fishers vs. Cathedral) and Oct. 16 (Hamilton Southeastern vs. Brownsburg). Tickets are $8. Visit IndyIndians.com/Gridiron or any of the participating schools.
• The Westfield volleyball team will have a First Responder Recognition Night on Sept. 8 as it hosts Warren Central. Westfield will honor the police, fire department and EMTs between the JV and varsity contests and all first responders will be admitted for free.