Feature Photo By Jessica Kelly
The top-ranked Trojans (12-0) are playing for their fifth consecutive semi-state tonight hosting the No. 6 Avon Orioles (10-2). The Trojans are look to capture the program’s first semi-state championship since the 2008 team that was eventual state champions. For the football program, semi-state games have not been widely enjoyed. Each of the past 5 final fours that the team has contended for, they have come up short. The program theme this season is “One More Game,” meaning that they want to finally overcome semi-state and have the opportunity to play in the state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Trojans are firing on all cylinders this week coming off an imposing 24-13 win over a tough opponent, and MIC rival No. 5 Warren Central. Avon is also feeling confident after knocking off No. 3 Cathedral last week 37-34 in double overtime. They showed that they are a team with heart, and will fight to the very end. The Orioles are lead by one of the top recruits in the state, senior quarterback #18 Brandon Peters, a University of Michigan commit. This season Peters has thrown for 2,803 yards and 35 touchdowns. His presence in the pocket and strong arm makes him a threat to throw it deep on any play, and make precise accurate throws to his receivers. Look for him to target senior receiver #15 Andrew Griffin, and also senior tight end #80 Matt Moore. The Orioles also have two running backs they go to, junior #31 Bryant Fitzpatrick and junior #3 Corey Dupriest.
Despite injuries on both sides of the ball, the Trojans have kept rolling. The offense is averaging 34 points a game and the defense is holding teams to only 13 points per game. Titus McCoy always finds a way to get the job done on offense with 1537 rushing yards, and 22 touchdowns this season. Expect the offensive line to be aggressive all night long to give McCoy, Jackson Hohlt, and Tristan Clark running room to move the chains and make big plays. The key for the offense to win is to attack the Orioles relentlessly for a full game, control the clock, limit turnovers, and to convert on short 3rd and 4th downs.
The Trojan defense is considered by most, one of the best in the state, but they face a tough test; the top quarterback in the state. Avon has arguably the best air attack in the state, and Peters will be throwing bullets all over the field. The key for the defense is the defensive backs; the defensive coverage and deep ball responsibilities mean everything tonight. Cornerbacks Tyler Pence, and Blake Moran, and safeties Connor Steeb and Logan Bontrager will have to play their best games yet to break up balls and make big tackles. Also look for the Trojan defensive line to shut down Avon’s run game. The line is led by seniors Jovan Swann and Cameron Tidd, who plan on pressuring Peters big problems.
The Trojans have been waiting anxiously all year for a chance to avenge their devastating loss in last year’s semi-state game. Now it’s time for them to show how hard they have worked, and how bad they want it.