NEW PALESTINE — What was already the latest home opener in the 45 years New Palestine has fielded a football program — Week 6 — became even more so by one day.
Stormy weather prevented the Dragons and Yorktown from playing Friday night, so the Hoosier Heritage Conference rivals had to return to Shepler Field at Kelso Stadium for a Saturday matinee, in the face of a brisk wind.
That didn’t affect NP nearly as much as misfortunes by its defense and special teams.
Three key plays by the Tigers in kicking formations helped them score a 27-20 decision and end both the slim hopes of the Dragons (2-4, 1-3 HHC) repeating as HHC champs as well as their 13-game regular-season home winning streak.
Yorktown clinched it on a Riley Neal-to-Mason Patterson pass covering 23 yards, with three seconds to go. That climaxed a 14-play, 94-yard drive that included a fake punt.
“I’m not sure I’d say heartbreaker, but more like frustration about letting them have the scores they had,” NP coach Charlie Hill said. “We should have never been in a spot to deal with those.”
The Tigers, who led 13-7 at halftime, increased their cushion when Chandler Carroll returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards. Carroll earlier scored on a 44-yard run and finished with 148 on the ground.
NP drew even in a span of about 3 1/2 minutes at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth. Nolan Guedel caught a 4-yard screen from Blake Luker and Collin Hill ran it in from 10 yards out.
After Hill’s TD, Yorktown (3-3, 2-2 HHC) blocked Jackson Cochran’s extra-point attempt and the game remained knotted at 20.
An exchange of punts later, the Tigers started what would be their winning drive at their 6-yard line. They appeared to have gone three-and-out, but punter Michael Lumpkin faked and hit Patterson for 17 yards and a first down. Patterson fumbled when tackled, but a teammate recovered.
Yorktown converted three more first downs, and then Neal found Patterson open in the corner of the end zone.
“We had a missed execution on the fake; we called it out (to the players) that they were going to do that, but we still break down,” Charlie Hill said. “And we break down at the end without our deep coverage man in place.”
The result made moot both Matt Siergiej’s third 100-yard rushing effort of the year (123 on 23 carries and a TD) as well as a 12-for-16, 90-yard passing day by Luker.
“We were hot for a period and we were stagnant for a period, whether it was offense, defense or special teams,” coach Hill said. “(The Tigers) stayed with it.”
Notes: NP and Yorktown are the only high schools in the state to be named National Blue Ribbon schools, for high academic achievement ... Saturday’s game was Hill’s first at home as head coach ... The Dragons are back on the road Friday at Shelbyville (2-4, 2-2 HHC).
Yorktown 27, New Palestine 20
YO (3-3, 2-2 HHC) 0 13 7 7 — 27
NP (2-4, 1-3 HHC) 0 7 7 6 — 20
NP — Siergiej, 7-yard run (Cochran kick), 11:52
YO — Neal, 2-yard run (Fox kick), 3:23
YO — Carroll, 44-yard run (kick failed), 1:32
YO — Carroll, 85-yard kickoff return (Fox kick), 11:44
NP — Guedel, 4-yard pass from Luker (Cochran kick), :13
NP — Hill, 10-yard run (kick blocked), 8:45
YO — Patterson, 23-yard pass from Neal (Fox kick), :03
First downs 10 13
Rushes-yards 35-153 40-185
Passing yards 103 90
Comp-Att-Int 8-17-0 12-16-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 2-10 3-20
Rushing: Carroll 29-148, Neal 4-5, Patterson 1-2, Campbell 1-(-2) (YO); Siergiej 23-123, Hill 11-54, Wagner 2-9, Luker 4-(-1) (NP)
Passing: Neal 7-15-0-86, Lumpkin 1-1-0-17, Carroll 0-1-0-0 (YO); Luker 12-16-0-90 (NP)
Receiving: Patterson 3-48, Miller 2-24, Knight 1-15, Preston 1-8, Wagner 1-7 (YO); Lyons 3-54, Walden 3-15, Guedel 4-14, Wagner 1-5, Hill 1-2 (NP)