November 26, 2016

Westfield Defense, Kicking Game Lifts Shamrocks to First State Title
Westfield came into the 5A state final allowing just 14.8 points per game. Facing a high-powered Columbus East offense, the Shamrocks were actually able to lower that average.

The fifth-ranked Shamrocks (12-2) got two crucial second-half defensive stops – the last coming with 55 seconds left – to knock off the No. 4 Olympians 16-13 for their first football state title.

Columbus East (13-2) had been averaging 46.8 points per game but was held to just 283 yards – 110 in the second half – by the Shamrocks. Westfield’s defense had eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Byron Hubbard had 1.5 of those sacks and was in on nine tackles.

The Olympians had the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead, getting possession at its own 18 with 3:06 left. But on fourth down and 7, quarterback Josh Major was forced to scramble and was tackled by Caleb Sanburn after a 2-yard gain. The Shamrocks then ran out the clock.

Westfield took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a state-finals record 52-yard field goal from Will Harrison. The Olympians countered with an impressive 13-play, 93-yard drive that was capped by Josh Major’s 32-yard pass to Caleb Voelker for the score.

Harrison added field goals of 44 and 42 yards, the latter giving the Shamrocks a 9-6 lead with 3:32 left in the half. Columbus East then mounted another impressive drive, moving 61 yards in 11 plays to set up a third down at the Westfield 14 with two seconds left.

As the first half ran out, Jamon Hogan took a handoff and was engulfed by defenders. He lateraled back to Voelker, who briefly bobbled the ball, regained control, rolled to his right and passed to a wide-open Tyler Thomas in the end zone for the score. Sam Thomasson’s extra point gave the Olympians a 13-9 lead at the break.

The Shamrocks, led by sixth-year coach Jake Gilbert, opened the third quarter with their best drive of the day, moving 68 yards in nine plays. Nate Froelich’s 37-yard run on the second play pushed the ball into Olympian territory, and his 4-yard carry seven plays later gave Westfield a 16-13 lead with 6:56 left in the quarter.

The Olympians drove to the Westfield 1 on their ensuing possession, but a false start penalty moved them back to the 6 and forced a field goal try. But after a high snap Jonah Wichman ran to his right instead, where he was tackled by Justin Frey for a 2-yard loss.

Froelich finished with 96 yards rushing, while quarterback Andrew Sweet threw for 57 yards and ran for 44.

For the Olympians and Head Coach Bob Gaddis, Hogan ran for 145 yards and Major for 90 more.

State Records (5A Individual)
Longest field goal: 52 by Will Harrison, Westfield vs. Columbus East, 2016.

State Records (Overall Individual)
Longest field goal: 52 by Will Harrison, Westfield vs. Columbus East, 2016.

Columbus East’s Harry Crider named Eskew Mental Attitude Award winner
At the conclusion of the state championship game, the IHSAA Executive Committee named Harry Crider of Columbus East High School as the winner of the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award in Class 5A Football.

Crider is a multisport athlete also participating in baseball, junior year wrestling and basketball his freshman and sophomore years.  He is a team captain and three-year letterman while also being named Hoosier Hills All-Conference, AP All-State honorable mention, Coaches’ Association Junior All-State, The Republic Player of the Week, and team and offensive player of the week multiple times.  He is a member of several school organizations such as Key Club, IHSAA Student Leadership Conference, IHSAA Champions Together, and a freshman mentor. He is also a dance marathon participant and involved with Youth Leadership of Bartholomew County. He has vast volunteer work with Feed my Starving Children, Salvation Army and Powder Puff, and has spent approximately 100 hours hooked up to an IV for clinical research for Diabetes through Trialnet at IU Medical Center.

Harry is the son of Robert and Elizabeth Crider of Columbus, IN.  He will attend Indiana University to play football and study business or biology.

Each year the IHSAA Executive Committee selects a senior player who was nominated by his principal and coach and was determined to have best demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership, and athletic ability. The award is named in honor of the IHSAA’s third commissioner from 1962-76.

The Indianapolis Colts presented a $1,000 scholarship to Columbus East High School in the name of Harry Crider. The Colts have been the presenting sponsor of the entire football state tournament since 2009 and are sponsoring the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award.