INDIANAPOLIS – To play in this game, Warren Central receiver David Bell woke up a week ago and asked his mom to take him the nearest urgent care center. What can a doctor do for a high ankle sprain? Not much. OK – nothing. The doctor there on the northside told Bell what he already knew: Rest, ice the ankle and keep it elevated. Bell went home and propped his ankle on the TV stand.
Two days later, same thing. It was Monday. Bell asked his mom to take him to the urgent care center. They went again, because of course they did. That’s her baby, you know? He was hurting, emotionally as much as physically, the Class 6A championship game approaching and Bell was wanting – no, needing – to be on the field with his guys.
Next day. Same thing. Bell asks his mom to take him to the urgent care center. This is the third time in four days, mind you, but maybe another doctor would have more information. Alas, no: Rest, ice, elevate. Bell went home and propped his foot on the TV stand.
“He’s been wanting this so bad,” Bell’s mom, Kareem Butler, is telling me during the second quarter Friday night. She’s in the front row of the rabid Warren Central rooting section at Lucas Oil Stadium. Her son is nearby, on the sideline, not playing, even though Warren Central has the ball. “He won’t tell me, but I know he’s hurting.”
Physically. And emotionally. And yet he found a way, didn’t he? David Bell could barely run, his left ankle swollen and almost useless, but the best player in the state found a way to help Warren Central beat Carmel 27-7 for the Class 6A title on Friday night.
Bell, who came into this game with 85 catches for 1,507 yards and 23 touchdowns, the kind of athlete who returns one punt all season – and it goes 63 yards for a touchdown in the regional against North Central – helped Warren Central win the 6A title Friday night by … blocking.
And not just a little bit. No, like this:
Warren Central’s first touchdown, a 35-yard run by Romeir Elliott: It’s a handoff to the right side, to Bell’s side, and he locks into Carmel cornerback Owen Schafer to spring Elliott. Warriors lead 6-0.
Now it’s late in the third quarter. Warren Central is leading 13-7, too close for comfort against a Carmel team that is hanging around, lurking, waiting for its moment. Elliott catches a short pass from Warriors quarterback Jayden George on the left side of the field. That’s Bell’s side, and he finds Carmel linebacker Ty Wise, a 6-2, 218-pound junior with an offer to play at IU. Bell locks into Wise, and Elliott scoots past and is gone, racing 65 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 Warren Central lead.