For the second consecutive game, top-rated Indianapolis Cathedral fell behind 21-14 in high school football tournament play, only to shut out the opponent in the second half and advance to the next round. Friday, the Fighting Irish trailed by a touchdown at the half, but scored 21 unanswered points in the final two quarters to win 35-21 in a Class 5-A regional game at Bloomington South.
South jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on sophomore quarterback Jake Johnson’s two touchdown passes. Cathedral fought back to tie the game on touchdown runs by junior Chon’Dre Cissell and sophomore Roman Purcell. The Panthers grabbed the lead back on Maveric Thiery’s 64-yard TD run in the final minute of the first half.
Cathedral took the second-half kickoff and marched 60 yards on 8 plays, concluding with senior Markese Stepp’s one-yard touchdown run to tie the score 21-21. On their next two drives, senior Alec Hobson scored on runs of two and eight yards to put the game out of reach.
The Cathedral defense that allowed the Panthers 220 yards of offense in the first half, stiffened in the second half to hold South to just 71 yards in the final two quarters. The Irish rolled up 304 yards of rushing offense, led by Cissell’s 110 yards and Hobson’s 88 yards, all of which came in the second half.
Cathedral improves its record to 7-5, while Bloomington South exits the tournament with a 7-6 mark. The win guarantees the Irish a 14th consecutive winning season. The regional title is the 18th in school history. The Fighting Irish are now 6-0 against Indiana teams this season and 15-0 all-time in class 5-A tournament games.
Cathedral will play Columbus East in the Class 5-A southern semi-state at Arsenal Tech next Friday. The Olympians are 12-1 this season following a 49-18 home regional win over Terre Haute North. East was the state runner-up in Class 5-A a year ago, losing to Westfield 16-13 in the state title game. The Irish have previously defeated the Olympians in the Class 4-A semi-state round in 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2012 on their way to the winning state title each year.