HS football: Top-ranked Warren Central blitzes Carmel with late flurry

Warren Central senior Tristen Tonte (17) rushes the ball upfield and into the end zone to score during the second half of the game. Warren Central High School hosted Carmel High School in IHSAA varsity football action, Oct. 7, 2016. Warren Central won 40-30.

Warren Central senior Tristen Tonte (17) rushes the ball upfield and into the end zone to score during the second half of the game. Warren Central High School hosted Carmel High School in IHSAA varsity football action, Oct. 7, 2016. Warren Central won 40-30.

When Nolan Richardson was the basketball coach at Arkansas, the Razorbacks would press full-court. All game, every game. Eventually, the press would wear down opponents and Arkansas would bury them with an avalanche of steals and layups.

It’s a different sport and a different level. But the Warren Central football team can come at opponents in much the same fashion.

The Class 6A top-ranked Warriors scored three touchdowns in a span of 3 minutes, 43 seconds in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 9 Carmel 40-30 Friday night. The win, the 500th in program history, clinched Warren Central’s first Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference title since 2011.

“The good thing is the kids can have that forever,” Warren Central coach Jayson West said of the MIC title. “We can’t enjoy it too long now because you have to focus on the next one, but that’s something you can always have for all time. I’m excited about that because this is our first group of seniors we’ve had all the way through and they really stuck together.”

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Included in that group is quarterback Zach Summeier, who passed for 316 yards on Friday. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came early in the fourth quarter, after Carmel’s Conner Coghlan made a 31-yard field goal – his third of the game – to give the Greyhounds a 23-19 lead.

On second down, Summeier threw it to the left corner of the end zone for sophomore David Bell. The 6-1, 170-pound Bell jumped and plucked it away from the defensive back, before falling hard on his back. The 19-yard reception gave Warren Central a 26-23 lead with 10:56 left.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jason Castillo popped the ball into the air. Dijon Anderson saved it from going out of bounds and Isaiah Warren scooped it up at the Carmel 30-yard line.

“We were looking to see what we could get out of it,” West said of the kickoff. “Dijon made a nice play on it and we were able to get it back.”

Four plays later, bruising senior running back Tristen Tonte barreled into the end zone on a 7-yard run to put Warren Central ahead 32-23 with 9:14 left.

“In that moment, we didn’t take charge,” Carmel coach John Hebert said. “We were in a little bit of disbelief and put our heads down for a minute. We have to be able to fight that momentum.”

Warren Central (7-1, 7-0 MIC) wasn’t done yet. On Carmel’s next play, Anderson made a brilliant interception of Jake McDonald’s pass up the left sideline. The Warriors also turned that turnover into points when Tonte busted a fourth-and-1 run for 40 yards.

The damage was done. Three touchdowns in less than 4 minutes.

“Against a team like this that is capable of exploding for points, you’ve got to convert,” Hebert said. “You can’t have drives in the red zone and not get in the end zone against them. Their offense is so strong.”

Carmel (4-4, 3-3) trailed 19-17 at halftime but took the lead on the first possession of the second half on a 38-yard field goal by Coghlan. After a Warren Central punt, he tacked on another field goal for a 23-19 lead. But Carmel could have had more, driving to the Warren Central 4 before a holding call wrecked the drive.

Warren Central rolled up 479 yards of offense. Bell finished with eight catches for 128 yards and Dajour Griffie had six catches for 132. Tonte finished with 28 carries for 159 yards and also passed for a touchdown.

“We have a great offense,” Anderson said. “They got it rolling in the fourth quarter.”

The game’s first five possessions resulted in touchdowns.

Warren Central started fast, needing just six plays to travel 80 yards on its first drive. Bell’s receptions of 36 and 27 yards helped set up Tonte’s 1-yard touchdown run.

Carmel had an immediate answer, in just two plays after a kickoff return to midfield. Jalen Walker ran around the right end for 38 yards and into the end zone to tie the score at 7.

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On Warren Central’s next drive, Summeier passed to Dajour Griffie in the right flat. Griffie broke through two arm tackles and raced 83 yards to the Carmel 5. Two plays, later Tonte passed to Bell for a 3-yard touchdown to give Warren Central a 13-7 lead with 8:11 left in the first quarter.

Carmel’s next drive went 73 yards in 10 plays. McDonald converted three third downs along the way, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Odin Mowery to put the Greyhounds ahead 14-13 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.

Warren Central came right back with a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Tonte scored on a 1-yard run to put the Warriors ahead 19-14 with 2:02 in the first quarter.

The defenses settled in from there. The only other points in the half came on Coghlan’s first field goal, a 27-yarder, with 21 seconds left in the first half.

Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.








Warren Central






WC – Tristen Tonte 1 run (Jason Castillo kick)

C – Jalen Walker 38 run (Conner Coghlan kick)

WC – Bell 3 pass from Tonte (kick blocked)

C – Odin Mowery 14 pass from Jake McDonald (Coghlan kick)

WC – Tonte 1 run (run failed)

C – Coghlan 27 FG

C – Coghlan 38 FG

C – Coghlan 31 FG

WC – Bell 19 pass from Summeier (Castillo kick)

WC – Tonte 7 run (kick blocked)

WC – Tonte 40 run (Tonte run)

C – Ethan Merriweather 9 pass from McDonald (Coghlan kick)

Rushing – Carmel, Jerome Halsell 17-109, Walker 2-35, Will Schmidt 4-28, Camari Hunt 7-19, McDonald 9-10. Warren Central, Tonte 28-159, Jason Holland 1-3, Summeier 8-1.

Passing — Carmel, McDonald 16-26-2 187. Warren Central, Summeier 18-26-1 316, Tonte 2-2-0 11.

Receiving — Carmel, Merriweather 3-42, Kurt Rafdal 4-36, Bennett Kiley 1-36, Schmidt 2-31, Walker 3-17, Mowery 1-14, Halsell 2-11. Warren Central, Dajour Griffie 6-132, Bell 8-128, Paul Minor 2-35, Dean Tate 2-20, Tonte 2-12.

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