Receiving: N - Gruver 6-56, Barrett 3-69, Blevins 3-23, Collier 2-16, Saners 1-12, Williams 1-4; W - Pepiot 4-48, Wheeler 2-79, Hauser 1-10, Meyer 1-7
Great teams find ways to win in the end, sometimes even when they probably deserve to lose.
That was the case on Friday night at Westfield High School as the 6A No. 10 Shamrocks (4-0, HCC 2-0) escaped with a narrow victory over the winless Noblesville Millers (0-4, HCC 0-2), 30-26.
Westfield certainly qualifies as a great team at this point. The Rocks are the defending 5A state champions and have won 11 straight contests dating back to last year. Yet, the Millers probably deserved to win this one.
Noblesville outgained Westfield by over 100 yards (453-350), attacked the Rocks from the start producing big play after big play and took a two-point lead with a two-yard touchdown run by Luke Blevins with 1:39 left in the game.
Noblesville Head Coach Jason Simmons pulled out all the stops too, running a double-pass trick play that resulted in a 51-yard touchdown pass from receiver Zach Gruver to Jayden Barrett and converting a fake punt in the first half. But still, it wasn't enough against a Westfield team that just won't lose.
"I'm just proud of our guys' culture," Westfield head coach Jake Gilbert said after the game. "It's just carrying us at this point. We did not play well, but we found a way to win."
Gilbert also acknowledged a Noblesville team that desperately needed a win and gave his team all they could handle.
"I give a ton of credit to Jason Simmons and that Noblesville staff," Westfield head coach Jake Gilbert said after the game. "Those guys were against the ropes. They deserved to win this game."
The Westfield winning culture was tested as the Rocks took the ball at their own 20-yard line, down to two, with 1:30 to play. Spurred by two completions from quarterback Cameron Nance to Kyle Pepiot and four runs by running back Nate Froelich, Westfield marched 80 yards for the game winning score - an 18-yard dash by Froelich.
Froelich finished with 21 carries for 135 yards and two scores to lead all rushers.
On the other side, Noblesville quarterback Grant Gremel led valiantly. The junior went 16-of-24 for 139 yards and ran the ball for 126 yards including two long touchdown scampers.
After the game students surged onto the field to celebrate with their team as Shamrock players hoisted the Midland Rail Trophy. The win marks Westfield's third consecutive victory over its county and conference rival.