No. 1 New Palestine 70, Martinsville 6
The Dragons wasted little time showing why they were Class 5A’s top team this season with a sectional-opening rout of winless Martinsville. Senior quarterback Alex Neligh tallied six touchdowns en route to the blowout at Kelso Stadium.
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Neligh finished with 169 yards through the air and threw touchdown passes to three different receivers. He also scored three times on the ground and finished with 176 rushing yards.
Senior bruiser Nick Brickens rushed for 145 yards and two scores, while junior Adam Kincaid also scored twice and finished with 73 yards on 10 carries.
Nearly shutting out the Artesians, senior linebacker Joe Izbicki collected a game-high 12 takedowns, four for a loss. Classmate Jordan Workman finished with seven tackles.
New Palestine 70, Martinsville 6
MH (0-10) 0 6 0 0 — 6
NP (10-0) 21 21 21 7 — 70
NP — Greene 17-yard touchdown reception from Neligh (Corey kick), 10:43.
NP — Neligh 20-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 8:58.
NP — Kincaid 3-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 1:57.
NP — Izbicki 39-yard touchdown reception from Neligh (Corey kick), 11:30
NP — Neligh 46-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 6:38.
NP — Brickens 14-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 2:39.
MH — Knox 1-yard touchdown run (kick fail), 0:01.
NP — Neligh 52-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 8:34.
NP — Brickens 58-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 4:19.
NP — Jenkins 20-yard touchdown reception from Neligh (Corey kick), 0:47.
NP — Kincaid 15-yard touchdown run (Corey kick), 5:30.
No. 1 New Palestine 24, No. 2 Columbus East 14
In a meeting that has become more like a rivalry of late, the Dragons overcame a slow first quarter against Columbus East and registered 14 third-quarter points to steal a road win in a tough environment.
Tied 7-7 at the half, New Palestine outscored the Olympians 17-7 the rest of the way in the team’s closest game of the season by far.
Neligh finished with 128 passing yards and two touchdowns, both to leading receiver Duke Blackwell, who seemed to have his way with the Columbus East defense.
Brickens kept the defense honest with 119 yards on the ground.
Izbicki was stellar on defense again, finishing with 14 tackles while freshman Luke Ely added 10.
New Palestine 24 Columbus East 14
NP (11-0) 0 7 14 3; — 24
CE (11-1) 7 0 0 7; — 14
CE — Sam Dwenger 3-yard run (Sam Thomasson kick), 3:33.
NP — Duke Blackwell 17-yard pass from Alex Neligh (Spencer Corey kick), 7:36.
NP — Blackwell 65-yard pass from Neligh (Corey kick), 10:15.
NP — Neligh 5-yard run (Corey kick), 2:30.
NP — Corey 25-yard field goal, 9:41.
CE — Steven O’Neal 45-yard pass from Josh Major (Thomasson kick), 8:01.
No. 1 New Palestine 49, Zionsville 21
Zionsville, playing in one of the state’s best football conferences, brought a talented squad to Kelso Stadium but had little luck staying with the top-ranked Dragons.
Neligh torched the Eagles secondary for 273 yards and three scores while Brickens finished with 120 rushing yards and one touchdowns. Neligh also rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns.
Zionsville junior running back Brendan Mikesell was limited to 96 yards on 26 carries (3.7 yards per carry) but did score three times.
Izbicki added double-digit (10) tackles for the third game in a row while seven other New Palestine defenders recorded at least five tackles in the win.
Junior kicker Spencer Corey was 7-for-7 on extra-point attempts.
New Palestine 49, Zionsville 21
Zionsville (5-7) 7 7 0 7 — 21
New Palestine (12-0) 14 14 7 14 — 49
NP — Duke Blackwell 11-yard pass from Alex Neligh (Spencer Corey kick), 8:06.
NP – Neligh 3-yard run (Corey kick), 6:56.
ZHS – Brenden Mikesell 2-yard run (Ryan Stein kick), 4:59.
NP — Neligh 2-yard run (Corey kick), 11:24.
NP – Blackwell 62-yard pass from Neligh (Corey kick), 9:38.
ZHS – Mikesell 4-yard run (Stein kick), 3:57.
NP — Brady Walden 10-yard pass from Neligh (Corey kick), 9:41.
NP — Nick Brickens 1-yard run (Corey kick), 11:53.
ZHS – Mikesell 1-yard run (Stein kick), 6:59.
NP – Neligh 4-yard run (Corey kick), 3:54.
No. 1 New Palestine 56, Castle 6
The Dragons earned their second-straight trip to Lucas Oil Stadium and 28th win in a row with a complete beatdown of Castle, 56-6, at Kelso Stadium in semistate action.
New Palestine got off to a quick start, much like the entire year, limiting the Knights’ high-powered offense to one score as the second quarter was winding down.
Castle quarterback Dayne Keller entered the game with nearly 3,000 passing yards but was a non-factor in the loss. The Knights’ starting running back did go down with a neck injury in the first half, however.
Neligh rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns, while Brickens finished with 86 yards and two scores.
Izbicki continued his hot play as the senior recorded 10 tackles, recovered two fumbles (one off punt block) and scored one touchdown on each side of the ball.
James Crumlin and Brett Luker contributed seven tackles apiece as the team earned a match up with the only other 5A team ranked in the top 10 of the Sagarin Ratings — Fort Wayne Snider (12-1) — for the state title.
New Palestine 56, Castle 6
New Palestine (13-0) 7 21 14 14 — 56
Castle (8-5) 0 6 0 0 — 6
NP — Alex Neligh 1-yard run (Spencer Corey kick), 5:33.
NP — Nick Brickens 1-yard (Corey kick), 10:58.
NP — Joe Izbicki 11-yard fumble return (Corey kick), 9:33.
NP — Neligh 10-yard run (Corey kick), 5:16.
C — Ben Ison 14-yard pass from Dayne Keller (kick failed), 0:12.
NP — Neligh 13-yard run (Corey kick), 8:41.
NP — Izbicki 16-yard pass from Neligh (Corey kick), 7:15.
NP — Brickens 1-yard run (Corey kick), 10:44.
NP — Adam Kincaid 9-yard run (Corey kick), 7:20.