TERRE HAUTE —
Danny Etling thought he was in the end zone. His coaches thought he had crossed the goal line.
The officials said otherwise.
It’s hard to credit one play as a turning point when the final score is 38-0 — the final tally in Class 5A No. 1 Carmel’s Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school football victory Saturday over Terre Haute South — but given the way the first half played out, who knows what the Braves might have been able to do.
The Greyhounds led just 7-0 in the second quarter when Etling and receiver Jonathan Weakley connected on a picture-perfect, pump-fake pass. Weakley made it to the Carmel 5-yard line on the 59-yard play.
Two Ian Newton runs got the ball inside the 1, and on third-and-goal Etling went for the QB sneak.
“I thought for sure I got in, actually. I got across the goal line, they said they pushed me back,” Etling said.
“It’s a tough break. They’re not going to give you anything, it’s got to be a sure thing.”
South coach Mark Raetz was also sure Etling was in. But with Etling limping because of an ankle injury, the Braves chose to hand off on a fourth-and-goal run. The result: a 1-yard loss.
“In that situation you’d like to think you can pick up half a yard; we just weren’t able to convert there,” Raetz said.
Carmel would add a field goal to lead 10-0 at halftime.
Given the Braves’ travel situation — they waited out Friday’s storms at Carmel until late in the evening, then made the long ride back from Terre Haute early Saturday morning — Raetz was impressed with his team’s early play.
“It obviously was not an ideal situation. We had a pretty quick turnaround, a lot of time on the bus. But I thought our players responded pretty well … and played a pretty sharp first half,” he said.
But the Greyhounds had too much depth, scoring three times in the third quarter to put the game well out of reach. The Braves had as many penalty yards as yards of offense (46) in the second half and didn’t have a first down after Weakley’s long reception.
“I think the first half we played outstanding. Our guys felt pretty confident being able to play with them physically,” Raetz said. “They have 160 kids on the roster, at some point they start to wear us down. We’ve got a lot of kids out with injuries, we had a lot of kids playing a lot of snaps both sides of the ball, I think we just wore down there towards the end.”
Despite an obvious limp, Etling played all but the final series.
“It was a scramble, I took off running and when he hit me, I went one way, my ankle went the other way,” said Etling, whose ankle was on ice after the game. “I’ll get X-rays and find out. It’s pretty bad.”
Carmel 38, Terre Haute South 0
Terre Haute South 0 0 0 0 — 0
Carmel 0 10 21 7 — 38
C — Chris Perkins 9 run (Billy Stumbo kick), 9:58 2nd
C — FG 35 Stumbo, 0:24 2nd
C — Jack Thompson 6 run (Stumbo kick), 8:57 3rd
C — Austin Pfenninger 4 pass from John Lampe (Stumbo kick), 6:46 3rd
C — Perkins 1 run (Stumbo kick), 1:43 3rd
C — Isaac James 30 run (Stumbo kick), 2:29 4th
First downs 4 24
Rushes-yards 22-70 61-316
Passing yards 109 147
Comp-Att-Int 6-16-1 18-31-0
Penalties-yards 10-74 12-110
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-0
Punts-avg 6-37 0
Rushing: South — Michael Watt 6-49, Ian Newton 10-24, Danny Etling 3-1, Luke Church 1-(-1), Team 1-(-1), Tyler Seibert 1-(-2). Carmel — Thompson 21-99, Perkins 16-99, Shakir Paschall 10-54, James 4-38, Lampe 2-24, Jake Parker 4-8, Josh Ebikwo 3-1, Team 1-(-7).
Passing: South — Etling 6-16-1, 109 yards. Carmel — Lampe 12-18-0, 86 yards; Brandon Lugar 3-7-0, 28 yards; James 3-6-0, 33 yards.
Receiving: South — Seibert 3-15, Jonathan Weakley 1-59, Dillon Bell 1-21, Jeremy Patterson 1-14. Carmel — Danny Dunn 6-56, Joe Scheffer 3-16, Thomas Baldwin 2-23, Thompson 2-3, Sumegh Dhawan 1-14, Joe Scott 1-12, Ebikwo 1-11, Cam Glass 1-8, Pfenninger 1-4.
Next — South (2-2, 0-2 MIC) plays at Center Grove on Friday. Carmel (4-0, 2-0 MIC) plays at Lawrence North that night.