Top-rated Indianapolis Cathedral scored 28 unanswered points and shut out fifth-rated Decatur Central in the second half at Arsenal Tech Friday night to win its 12th consecutive sectional football title 42-21. Senior Markese Stepp and junior Chon’Dre Cissell combined for 360 rushing yards and six touchdowns for the Irish who have now won 33 consecutive sectional games.
Decatur Central scored on the game’s opening play when Tyrone Tracy ran 80 yards for a touchdown. Cathedral answered with a ten-play, 70-yard drive that ended on Stepp’s 2-yard touchdown run. Three plays later, Hawks’ quarterback Bryce Jefferson scored on a 62-yard run. The Irish tied the game 14-14 early in the second quarter when Cissell ran 26 yards for a score.
Decatur Central regained the lead when Jefferson connected with Tracy on a 49-yard scoring pass. Cathedral responded with a five-play, 51-yard drive that culminated on Stepp’s 18-yard TD run. The Hawks moved the ball to the Irish seven-yard line, but time expired in the half with the score 21-21.
Cathedral opened the second half by marching 70 yards in ten plays with Stepp scoring on a ten-yard run to give the Irish their first lead of the game. Stepp added a 35-yard scoring gallop in the fourth quarter and Cissell clinched the win when he scampered 52 yards for the final touchdown.
After Decatur Central amassed 325 yards of total offense in the first half, the Cathedral defense held the Hawks to just 61 yards and four first downs in the second half. Decatur only crossed midfield twice in the second half and both possessions ended when Jefferson threw interceptions. The Hawks entered the game averaging 466 yards of total offense and 44 points per game.
Stepp finished the game with 249 yards rushing on a career-high 29 attempts, his second 200-plus yard effort of the season. Cissell ran for 111 yards on 13 carries, which puts him over the 1,500-yard rushing mark for his career. Jefferson led Decatur Central with 186 rushing yards and completed seven of 21 passes for 128 yards.
Cathedral improves its record to 6-5 for the season, while Decatur Central ends its year with a 10-2 mark. The Irish remain unbeaten, 5-0, against Indiana schools this season. Cathedral is now 3-0 all-time against the Hawks in tournament play.
The Fighting Irish travel to Bloomington South next Friday for the regional round of the Class 5-A state tourney. The 7-5 Panthers advanced with a 56-21 sectional final win at Martinsville. Cathedral is 2-0 at Bloomington South in post-season play, defeating the Panthers 32-28 in 1973, and 27-24 in overtime in 2014.