Four INTs put the Wolves be­hind the eight ball at semis­tate

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - By Mike Hut­ton Post-Tri­bune

NEW PALES­TINE, Ind. — Michi­gan City had to be nearly per­fect to have a chance Satur­day against New Pales­tine.

The Wolves weren’t.

The Dragons de­feated Michi­gan City 35-10 in a Class 5A semis­tate game.

Four in­ter­cep­tions hurt the Wolves (10-3). Two of those in­ter­cep­tions were off tipped passes.

Zen­non Wilhelm, who caught five passes for 136 yards, said it was one of those games where noth­ing went Michi­gan City’s way.

“Some un­for­tu­nate things hap­pened,” he said. “(Two) of those in­ter­cep­tions were tipped. It was bad luck. I think we are evenly matched skill wise. I don’t think the score shows how evenly matched we were.”

There was a brief win­dow for Michi­gan City af­ter the Wolves took a 10-7 lead on a 1-yard touch­down run by Lyric McFar­rin with 1:47 left in the first quar­ter.

The Wolves drove deep into Dragon ter­ri­tory on their next pos­ses­sion but turned the ball over on downs.

New Pales­tine (13-0), which is ranked No. 1 by the As­so­ci­ated Press, scored on a 76-yard pass from Zach Ne­ligh to Ryker Large with 9:02 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. That gave the Dragons a 14-10 lead.

New Pales­tine scored its first TD on a 46-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn by Maxen Hook in the first quar­ter.

Michi­gan City an­swered with a field goal and McFar­rin’s TD.

Af­ter Michi­gan City trailed the sec­ond time, it was over. The Wolves had to try to keep up with the hurry-up of­fense that New Pales­tine fa­vored.

It didn’t work.

New Pales­tine took a 21-10 lead into half­time af­ter a 15-yard TD

“I’m not happy we lost, but I’m grate­ful that I got to go through this sea­son with my team.”

— Lyric McFar­rin, Michi­gan City

run by Char­lie Spe­gal with 3:47 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. Spe­gal made it 28-10 with an 11-yard run with 7:33 left in the third quar­ter.

Spe­gal, the state’s lead­ing rusher, fin­ished with 190 yards on 25 car­ries.

Michi­gan City coach Phil Ma­son said his team needed to con­trol the clock of­fen­sively.

“Their no-hud­dle of­fense forced us to go into a tempo I wasn’t com­fort­able with,” he said. “I wanted to keep it close. If it was close, I thought we’d have a chance to win.

“When we got be­hind in the sec­ond half, it forced us to pick up the tempo.”

Ma­son de­fended quar­ter­back Bryce Hay­man, say­ing he “played his butt off. It wasn’t his fault.”

De­spite the dis­ap­point­ing loss, it was still a good year, McFar­rin said.

“I’m not happy we lost, but I’m grate­ful that I got to go through this sea­son with my team,” he said. “I’m grate­ful for the abil­ity God gave me to play foot­ball.

“I don’t en­joy los­ing. I en­joy be­ing in the po­si­tion to make an ef­fort. A lot of peo­ple sit­ting at home would do any­thing to have op­por­tu­nity. To even come up short is a bless­ing.”

5. Bow­man:

6. An­drean:

Michi­gan City’s Robert Jef­fer­son hits New Pales­tine’s Zach Ne­ligh dur­ing the sec­ond half of the Class 5A semis­tate game on Satur­day.

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