HAGERSTOWN, Ind. — About a minute after Indianapolis Lutheran returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Hagerstown’s football team picked itself up with a big play of its own.
The Tigers wouldn’t be where they were Friday if it wasn’t for their ability to overcome adversity.
Hagerstown kept up with the offensive shootout early, but the Saints proved to be too much, pulling away in the third-quarter for a 48-27 victory over the Tigers in the IHSAA Class A Sectional 46 championship game Friday at Cory Field.
Hagerstown finishes with and 7-5 season record while Lutheran advances to next week’s regional championship game.
“I think coming into this, I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be able to play with them, and I think our kids did,” Hagerstown coach Scott Snodgrass said. “I think that they played very hard and very well, I think they had size on us and a little bit of speed in some areas and they made some big plays. They made more big plays than we did and I think that’s what did it for us.”
The first big play was a 75-yard touchdown return by Andre Jones.
Jones had plenty of big plays, rushing for an unofficial 138 yards and three scores.
But Hagerstown picked itself up, with a 30-yard touchdown run by Mason Hicks tying the game about a minute after Jones’ kickoff return.
The Tigers had the first big stop and following a great leaping 21-yard catch by Cameron Purtha, Hicks punched the ball in to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
Jones rushed for a 20-yard score to tie the game, and the Tigers took another lead with a 1-yard score by quarterback Owen Golliher.
The score after one was Hagerstown 21, Lutheran 14.
But the Saints were too much. Bailey Barham rushed for a 1-yard score in the second quarter and Jacob Faubion gave the Saints the lead with a 15-yard catch from Zach White with about 10 seconds left in the second quarter.
Cameron Purtha scored Hagerstown’s final touchdown, a 5-yard pass from Golliher in the third, and the Saints put the game away with another big play: a 46-yard kickoff return from Trevor Russell.
Jones scored a 14-yard run late in the third and Noah Wood’s lone touch of the day was a 38-yard run for a score in the fourth
“I think our defense played fantastic across the board and just let them loose a couple times,” Snodgrass said. “We knew that was going to happen, but we also busted loose a couple times, too. Second half, we just couldn’t get it going, couldn’t get our momentum back and that’s where we kind of slowed down.”
Golliher had another outstanding game with an unofficial 13 completions for 197 yards and rushed for 57 yards on 16 carries.
Hicks had nine carries for 102 yards and Jalen Oliver had five catches for 102 yards.
Hicks also had four catches for 39 yards, Cameron Purtha had two for 32, Brett Burns had one for 12 and Brandon Purtha had one for 4 yards.
Lutheran 14 13 14 7 – 48
Hagerstown 21 0 6 0 – 27
LUT- Andre Jones 75 kickoff return, 11:41 (Jeremiah Rozema kick)
HAG- Mason Hicks 30 run, 10:34 (Keeton Adams kick)
HAG- Hicks 1 run, 5:38 (Adams kick)
LUT- Jones 20 run, 2:13 (Rozema kick)
HAG- Owen Golliher 1 run, 1:04 (Adams kick)
LUT- Bailey Barham 1 run, 9:28 (Rozema kick)
LUT- Jacob Faubion 15 pass from Zach White, :10.5 (kick failed)
HAG- Cameron Purtha 5 pass from Golliher, 9:21 (kick blocked)
LUT- Trevor Russell 46 return, 9:16 (Rozema kick)
LUT- Jones 14 run, 2:59 (Rozema kick)
LUT- Noah Wood 38 run, 3:49 (Rozema kick)
First Downs– LUT 17; HAG: 15.
Rushes-Yards– LUT- 40-244; HAG: 26-158.
Passing Yards– LUT: 115; HAG: 197.
Comp-Att-Int. – LUT: 15-11-0; HAG: 13-24-0.
Penalties-Yards– LUT: 11-97.5; HAG: 5-45.
Punts-Avg.– LUT: 3-30.33; HAG: 5-31.
Fumbles-Lost– LUT: 3-1; HAG: 2-1
RUSHING– LUT: Jones 22-138; Barham 13-51; White 1-(-6), Russell 4-23. HAG: Hicks- 9-102; Golliher 16-57; Oliver 1-(-1).
PASSING– LUT: White 11-15-115-1; HAG: 13-24-197-1.
RECEIVING– LUT: Barham- 4-43; Russell 3-27; Faubion 2-25; Tyler Johnson 3-27. HAG: Jalen Oliver 5-102; Hicks 4-39; Cameron Purtha 2-32; Brett Burns 1-12; Brandon Purtha 1-4.