PENDLETON — With a powerful offense that had averaged more than 40 points per game during the season, New Palestine coach Kyle Ralph felt good about his team’s ability to win in a shootout.
Friday night, that feeling was proven, as the unbeaten and second-ranked Dragons outlasted Pendleton Heights 62-40 in a wild game that featured more than 1,300 yards of total offense between the two teams.
The Dragons (10-0) advance to face Muncie South (2-8) in next week’s semifinals. The game at Muncie South will be NP’s fourth straight road game.
NP was led by an offense that tallied 717 yards of offense, and a defense that surrendered 549 passing yards, but forced three turnovers at key moments to keep the Arabians at arm’s length. Dragon quarterback Blake Luker threw for 279 yards and three TDs, and ran for 164 more, accounting for a career-high 443 yards of total offense. Running back James Young had a career-high 269 yards rushing and two scores.
“Our offense really answered the call,” Ralph said. “We had really great offensive practices this week. Our offense went the entire practice Wednesday without dropping a ball, and had a great practice Thursday as well. They were really clicking. We knew they’d do some different stuff. For the first time tonight, we put the game on the offensive line’s back, and they did a great job. This is the first shootout game we’ve been in. We proved that, if we have to be in a shootout, we proved tonight we can out-shoot somebody. That was a good thing to see.”