Westfield went 12-2 this season, with its only two losses coming at the hands of two state champs, Cathedral and Center Grove.
The Times Photo by Robert Baker
Westfield went 12-2 this season, with its only two losses coming at the hands of two state champs, Cathedral and Center Grove. The Times Photo by Robert Baker
Riding a 12-game winning streak entering the Class 6A Indiana high school state football championship game, No. 2 Westfield seemed as poised as any team to give top-ranked Center Grove its toughest challenge.
Despite a heroic effort from injured running back Micah Hauser, the Shamrocks could not keep up with a prolific Trojans offense that averaged 42 points a game this season.
Center Grove scored 28 points in just over 18 minutes during the first half Friday and that was more than enough to defeat Westfield 38-14. The Trojans completed a perfect 14-0 season and their state championship goal after losing the 2019 title game to Carmel. It’s the third state football championship for Center Grove.
Playing in its first Class 6A title game and fourth overall, Westfield had no answer for Center Grove’s running game. Carson Steele rushed for a pair of touchdowns and a game-high 139 yards. Drew Wheat added a 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter as the Trojans rushed for 266 yards.
Maximus Webster and Mason Piening teamed up for a 38-yard pass and catch to put Westfield on the scoreboard with 4:06 to play in the first half. But Center Grove tacked on a second TD pass from Tayvon Jackson to Trent Veith and a 28-yard Austin Watson field goal on the final play of the first half to take a 38-7 lead.
Hauser, who Westfield coach Jake Gilbert said will need ankle surgery this week, blocked out the pain to rush for 118 yards on 11 carries. Hauser also had an interception.
The Shamrocks (12-2) scored the only points of the second half when Webster reached the end zone with a 4-yard run with 6:30 to go in the third quarter.
Webster was 16 of 28 passing for 155 yards. Piening caught seven of those passes for 111 yards.
David Frye led the Shamrocks defense with 10 tackles. Kyle Pape intercepted a pass and made seven tackles.
Westfield’s Benji Welch received the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award following the game. The award is presented annually to a senior, nominated by his principal and coach, who has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability during his four years of high school.