GREENFIELD — Alex Neligh needed 104 passing yards to become New Palestine’s all-time career passing leader. On Friday night, it only took eight pass attempts and fewer than five minutes of game clock to surpass the mark against Greenfield-Central.
Tying New Palestine’s Justin Plummer on a 55-yard touchdown pass to Duke Blackwell early in the second quarter, Neligh became the program’s career-passing king on his fifth completion as the record-setting quarterback led the Dragons to a 77-20 victory.
“That’s great. I was made aware of it right after the half,” New Palestine head coach Kyle Ralph said. “It’s really a cool thing. We’ve had some great players come through here, so it’s great to see him climb the mountain, so to speak, but he’ll be the first to give credit to his teammates. …You don’t break records without great people around you.”
Last week, Neligh broke the school record for career touchdown passes, rocketing three to his receiving corps at Lucas Oil Stadium against Hoosier Heritage Conference foe Pendleton Heights in a lopsided 84-17 win.
He added to his own record against HHC rival Greenfield-Central, beginning with his longest completion of the game to Blackwell in the first half, which pushed his career tally to 44. The number jumped to 45 with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Colby Jenkins in the third quarter.
Neligh and the undefeated Dragons (6-0, 4-0 HHC) were efficient and potent from the opening kick, upholding their ranking as the state’s top-scoring offense (66.8 point per game).
New Palestine reached the end zone in each of their first eight possessions – with seven drives ending in rushing touchdowns.
Overall, they were 11-for-11 on offense before coach Ralph inserted a majority of his freshman players, with the junior varsity playing a huge role in the final scoring drive.
In the first half, senior running back Nick Brickens rushed for a pair of the team’s nine, measuring 19 and 81 yards. The latter was the team’s longest-scoring play from the line of scrimmage all year.
Brickens rushed for a third in the second half to give him a career-high 201 yards on 11 carries.
Junior Adam Kincaid plowed through the Greenfield-Central defense for two short-yardage rushing touchdowns.
Neligh ran for three scores, including a 50-yard sprint to put the Dragons up 42-0 in the second quarter and a 2-yard plunge that gave his team a 56-6 halftime lead.
The only hiccup for the Dragons in the first half occurred midway in the second quarter when Orlando Mojica broke free for a 66-yard run, placing the Cougars 16 yards from pay dirt.
With the starters all but gone in the second half, the Cougars (2-4, 0-4 HHC) gave the home crowd something to cheer for on Senior Night with two fourth-quarter touchdowns — both by Johnny Bowen at 9 and 20 yards. The scores marked the most points surrendered by New Palestine this year.
Neligh finished with 76 yards on nine carries. He passed for 172 yards on 11 of 14 completions and two touchdowns.
He now has 3,678 passing yards in his career. He is 68 yards ahead Plummer (3,610 yards from 1997-99).