Center Grove football routs Cathedral in semistate


The forecast for Friday night called for a heavy dose of Micah Coyle, with some intermittent pass plays mixed in.

Now that Center Grove is about to spend Thanksgiving weekend playing indoors for a fourth consecutive year, that may or may not change.

The No. 4 Trojans, fueled by Coyle’s 218 yards rushing and a superb performance by the defense, avenged a Week 9 home loss to Cathedral by blasting the second-ranked Irish, 33-10, in a Class 6A semistate at Arsenal Tech.

Center Grove (11-2) will face Fort Wayne Carroll in Friday night’s state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium — the program’s fourth consecutive trip to downtown Indianapolis.

As for revenge being best served up cold, it was cold at Tech. Not that any of the Trojans coaches or players were feeling anything as the final seconds ran off the scoreboard clock.

“It’s just Center Grove. We’ve got heart. We have the most heart in the state,” Coyle said. “Everyone hates on us. Everyone thinks we’re not good. We have no Division I athletes except for Jalen Thomeson, but we’ve got heart.

“I’m definitely going to say we had a lot more drive coming into this game, I’ll tell you that.”

In the first meeting, the Trojans held a seemingly comfortable 29-13 lead with the ball at the Cathedral 1 when the roof, sky and basically everything in between fell as the Irish rattled off 27 consecutive points in the final 9:02.

That got Center Grove’s attention, though it was hard to tell early in the rematch after Cathedral scored the game’s first 10 points.

The Trojans responded with 33 straight.

“These are the kind of games you want to win to win a championship, where everyone plays really well,” Center Grove coach Eric Moore said after winning his eighth semistate game since he took over in 1999. “Obviously, the defensive line was the difference tonight. They came to play, and I really appreciate that.

“This is the funnest high school team to coach. When no one expects you to win, and you still come through. A lot of these kids haven’t experienced playing for a state championship. It’s been a great experience for them.”

Coyle rushed for 158 yards and three scores in the first half alone to lead the Trojans to a 23-point second period for a 23-10 advantage at intermission.

Cathedral began the game running at will behind senior Carson Johnson, whose first four carries covered 19, 19, 10 and 13 yards. Those led to freshman Van Krisiloff booting a 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead at 5:08 of the first.

The Trojans went three and out on the ensuing possession, which led to a punt and Cathedral taking over at its own 42. Only three plays were needed for it to up the lead to 10-0, the final 4 yards gained for a touchdown with Colin Ayers running straight up the middle at 2:14.

In the second period, the Trojans had the wind at their back, and it made a difference as the offense finally got going.

Senior Nolan Foley matched the Irish’s 26-yard boot with one of his own to get Center Grove on the board 53 seconds into the quarter.

The Trojans’ defense, keyed by senior defensive end Ryne Roehling, began depositing Cathedral junior quarterback Danny O’Neil behind the line of scrimmage with great regularity. That allowed the offense to begin their next three drives inside Irish territory at the 37, 43 and 46.

All three drives concluded with Coyle scoring touchdowns, the first one a 4-yard effort. His last two before intermission were 38 and 2 yards, the latter coming with 24 seconds left before the half.

Coyle’s fourth TD of the night and a 39-yard field goal from Foley were the only points scored in the second half.

“When they came up and beat us the first time, we really had something to prove,” Trojans junior nose tackle Nate Johnson said. “We had a good game plan. We just locked in, and as soon as we did that, it was game over from there.”