MUNCIE — Muncie South, playing in perhaps its final game before consolidation, figured its best chance to pull off a monumental upset against New Palestine was sleight of hand.
The Dragons were ready for every trick the Rebels had up their sleeve.
4A No. 2 NP moved to 11-0 with a 53-0 defeat of Muncie South Friday night at Barnett Field in a Sectional 21 semifinal.
The Dragons will host Mt. Vernon (9-2) Friday with the sectional crown on the line. The Sectional 21 winner faces the victor of Sectional 22 Nov. 15 in a one-game regional. Roncalli (8-3) visits Chatard (8-3) Friday in the Sectional 22 final.
Friday vs. the Rebels (2-9), New Palestine churned out 567 yards of offense while notching its third shutout of the season.
Due to dwindling enrollment, a vote on consolidation between Muncie South and Muncie Central with the combined student body attending Muncie Central starting next year is expected to be taken Nov. 18. That meant Friday’s game could’ve been the last time the Rebels took the field.
Muncie South tried to pull a few rabbits out of its hat in the first half, running a hook-and-ladder, a halfback pass, a reverse pass back to the quarterback and a fake punt. All but one of the Rebels’ trick plays failed, with one resulting in a lost fumble and another producing a turnover on downs.
“I talked to (Muncie South) coach (Wenstone) Nash before the game and it’s kind of unfortunate that these two schools are going to combine. … For these kids, this is the last time they’re going to put on a Muncie South jersey. It’s kind of an unfortunate thing,” NP coach Kyle Ralph said. “So we knew they’d come out with a bang. They ran a couple of trick plays early; we caused a fumble on one and shut the other one down.
“It’s playoff football, you have to do what you have to do to win the game. We knew they’d come out with some different stuff for us — and they did — and we responded really well.”