All Photos by George Sinnis
The Greyhounds celebrate their ninth state championship after defeating Center Grove 20-17
All Photos by George Sinnis The Greyhounds celebrate their ninth state championship after defeating Center Grove 20-17

INDIANANAPOLIS – The Carmel Greyhounds had been waiting for this moment the entire season as they found themselves for the second consecutive season, one win away from a Class 6A State Championship as they faced off against conference rival Center Grove. Last season left a bitter taste in the team’s mouth after losing in the title game to Warren Central 27-7. 

This time around the Greyhounds would not be denied their chance at redemption as they defeated the Trojans 20-17 to capture the team’s ninth state championship in school history. 

Both offenses weren’t able to find the end zone on their opening drives. The Trojans got the ball to start the game and were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal after a 15 play drive that took over six minutes off the clock. 

It was then the Greyhounds chance to respond and it looked as if they were going to take a 7-3 lead however a 15-yard penalty moved the ball back from the Trojan one-yard line, then on the very next play the Trojans got to Quarterback Gabe Quigley for a sack. That forced Spencer Hanna on for a 42-yard field goal try which split the uprights to tie up the game. 

After allowing a field goal on their opening drive of the game the Greyhound defense who has had been one of the best defenses in the state coming in proved why they are worthy of that honor as they then proceeded to not only force three straight fumbles by the Trojans, but managed to recover each one. Senior Defensive Tackle Cole Brevard (committed to Penn State,) and Senior Ty Wise (committed to Indiana) led the way for the Hounds as Wise picked off a pass to set up a field goal right before halftime. 

Arguably the biggest play of the game came with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter as Quigley found Junior Wide Receiver Baron Smith who made an acrobatic catch with two Trojan defenders all over him. He then broke a tackle and ran into the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown to give the Greyhounds a 10-3 lead. Smith talked about his big play after the game.

“I was just thinking to myself as I saw the ball, to make sure I secure it,” Smith said. “After that, I made sure to do whatever I could to get into the end zone. I really appreciate the opportunity that I was given to give our offense a spark. At that point we were just trying to get some momentum for our team, and we were able to get it on that big play. We worked so hard all season to get to this moment and we finally got it so I feel a great sense of accomplishment right now.” 

Hanna added on a 25-yard field goal right before the half to increase the Greyhound lead to 13-3 as both teams headed into the locker room.
Both offenses were held scoreless for a majority of the third quarter. That was until Zach White capped off a 12-play, 81 yard Greyhounds drive with a ten yard rushing touchdown to increase the lead to 20-3. 

Heading into the fourth quarter the Trojans would be in need of a miracle if they were to comeback and even force overtime against the Greyhounds. They wasted little time in starting that comeback as Trent Veith hauled in a 41-yard touchdown from Quarterback Tayven Jackson to make the score 20-10 with still 10:15 remaining in the final quarter. 

The Greyhounds would be forced to give the ball back to the Trojans with 7:38 left. Once again the Trojans methodically marched down the field and capped off a 13-play, 73-yard drive with a Jackson 12-yard touchdown to Mason Long to cut the Greyhound lead to just 3 at 20-17. 
The Greyhounds did recover the onside kick attempt by the Trojans who still had all three timeouts. The game came down to a 3rd and 10 which saw Senior Running Back Dylan Downing seal the championship win for the Greyhounds as picked up the first down. Downing finished with 102 rushing yards in the championship win. He talked about his game-sealing run, and how it feels to for the team to redeem themselves after last season’s defeat. 

“If feels like we’ve finally removed that weight that was on our shoulders from last season,” Downing said. “To be going out as a state champion means a lot. It means a lot to say for my team to give me the responsibility of getting the game-sealing run, but it wasn’t just me, the o-line, receivers and were blocking their butts off and it was a complete team win.” 

The Greyhounds as a team ran for 210 yards on 44 attempts. Head Coach John Hebert talked about how his team was able to hold off the Trojan comeback in the second half, and now his team can call themselves state champions. 

“It’s a dream that these guys have had for a long time,” Hebert said. “We don’t talk about winning the state title as a program that much. We focus more on what it takes to be successful and what it takes to improve. But our guys had the vision and they wanted to go out and leave an impact on this program and this city and I’m so happy for those guys.” 

Hebert also touched on his defense which during the Class 6A tournament, hadn’t give up more than 17 points. 

“There was something different this year in that group,” he said. “A lot of these guys were playing last year and our defense was pretty good then also. This year they were very steady and very focused. That starts with our leaders on that side in Cole Brevard, Ty Wise, Garrett Sharp, and Jake Paris. Those guys are not only great players, but great young men. They helped take us here and they delivered.” 

Losing in the way that the Greyhound did last season to Warren Central, some coaches may want to forget that and move on to focus on this season. Hebert took a slightly different approach and used last season’s loss as a motivator to get back and finish the job this time around. 

“We talked about that all off-season, and it fueled us coming into this season,” Hebert said. “After that we go out and get beat 41-14. I think after that we learned that we better stop thinking about last year and start focusing on the here and the now. Once we were able to get over some things in the middle of the season, we then were on the fast track to where we stand now.” 

Those bumps in the middle of the season came in back to back weeks on Sep. 27 and Oct. 4 where the Greyhounds lost at home to North Central 27-21 and on the road to Ben Davis 27-14. Hebert talked about how those losses helped his team in the long run on the way to their state championship. 

“For us it’s part of our formula,” Hebert said. “We have to have a few of those losses sometimes to get us to really search on how we’re going to make the improvements that we need. Winning doesn’t motivate you the same way that losing does. The key is to keep your self-confidence intact.” 
Hebert concluded with talking about his seniors who can say they are two-time state champions (2016 and 2019), and how they led the Greyhounds to their ultimate goal. 

“They’re a tight knit group,” he said of his senior class. “They stay focused on what we trying to get accomplished and they were unselfish the entire way. They showed everybody that hard work, perseverance, and determination can get it done. I hope that we’re able to really learn from that lesson from these group of men moving forward.”

The Greyhounds end their season with a record of 11-2 and their ninth state championship in school history.