Boys Varsity Football · Maconaquah moves to title game with 24-6 win over Tipp Valley

24 Maconaquah High School
6 IHSAA Sectional @ Tippecanoe Valley
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Maconaquah High School vs IHSAA Sectional @ Tippecanoe Valley
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The Maconaquah Braves will play for the IHSAA Sectional 27 championship after pounding the host Tippecanoe Valley Vikings 24-6 Friday night. The Braves, now 9-2 on the year and winners of three straight games, will travel to Mishawaka Marian (7-4) Friday evening. In picking up their ninth win, the Braves become only the second team in school history to collect nine wins, tying the 1973 MHS squad that finished 9-1.
First-year head coach Austin Colby met with the jubilant team at midfield and called the victory one of “domination”. “We survived and advance. Next week we’re going after 10 wins and a little hardware”. A win at Mishawaka would be the first football sectional championship in school history. Colby’s gang is the fourth Brave team to reach the title
game since the current playoff system began in 1985.
After the post-game talk, he presented the game ball to senior starter Zac Straub who cheered his teammates on from the sidelines during the contest. Straub and his younger brother were involved in an auto accident earlier in the week.
The Braves put points on the scoreboard in all four quarters enroute to the win and got another strong performance from Coach Ray Shepherd’s defensive unit to tidy things up.
The stingy Brave defense, led by seniors Paxton Kintner and Colin Silvers, limited the Vikings to a mere 38 yards of total offense in the first half. The senior duo led the team in tackles and were in the Vikings backfield all night along with Nick Davis and freshman Braxton Caldwell who also recorded tackles-for-loss. The Vikings only penetrated inside Maconaquah’s 40-yard line twice the entire game
While the defense was creating havoc, the ball-control offense was hitting on all cylinders and used three time-consuming drives to keep Tipp Valley’s offense off the field. The Braves’ opening drive ate up nearly seven minutes of clock and lasted 15 plays with sophomore Carter Little scoring from two yards out and giving MHS a 6-0 lead at the 5:01 mark. The Braves ran more plays than Valley, 72-41, and controlled the clock for nearly 30 minutes in picking up the win.
The Braves put together a brilliant 17-play, 80-yard drive to end the first half and took a 9-0 lead at the break when soph kicker Richie Leary booted an 18-yard field goal. MHS converted a pair of third down conversions during the seven minute drive and fooled the Vikes on a fourth-and-four at the TV 37 when punter Aaron McKinley faked a punt and picked up a big first down to keep the drive alive.
Mac’s defense forced a punt to open the second half of action and the offense went back to work. With Little and Jared Blake sharing the workload, quarterback Nolan Kelly engineered the Braves longest scoring drive of the game. Starting on its own 16, Maconaquah used 16 plays and converted three third downs to cover the 84 yards in using another seven minutes of clock. Blake scored from the seven and the grabbed
Kelly’s pass on the conversion to make it 17-0 with 3:51 left in the third period.
After Valley took advantage of a Brave turnover and scored to open the fourth quarter,
Maconaquah iced it with a nice 43-yard Little TD burst with 3:42 showing. Leary added the PAT for the 24-6 final. Little now has 110 points this year. Only Cody Hicks, Mac’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, and Vernon Robinson have scored more points in a single season. Little rushed for a career-high 169 yards on 23 carries to lead the Braves. It was his third straight 100+ yard game. Blake carried the pigskin 27 times and finished with 118 hard-earned yards.