Carmel’s defense makes big start hold up in win over Warren Central

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Carmel wide receiver Collin Pearson outleaps a Warren Central defender to catch an 85-yard touchdown pass against the Warriors.

INDIANAPOLIS – There were two things you knew coming into what many considered to be the biggest regular season high school football game of the season.

First that Warren Central and Carmel would likely play 48 minutes of football which was tightly contested and second that defense would likely be at a premium.

After all their match-ups in 2013 were decided by a combined 7 points and the biggest score put up by either team was 21 points. When the met for the Class 6A State Championship, the Warriors squeaked out a 7-6 win over the Greyhounds.

History played true when the teams met for the first-and maybe not the last-time in 2014 on the East Side Friday night as the top two ranked teams in the class played another classic defensive game. As it was in the regular season last year, Carmel had just enough offense to pull out a 17-10 victory over the Warriors.

The Greyhounds took an early 14-0 lead then pitched a second half shutout to improve to 8-0 on the season and clinch at least a share of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship. Only a victory over Lawrence Central at home in their season finale is needed to win the title outright.

Quarterback Issac James and receiver Collin Pearson got the Greyhounds on the board in the first quarter when the connected on an 85-yard touchdown that put Carmel up 7-0. Later in the first half the lead doubled when Chris Perkins punched it in from six-yards out to make it 14-0.

Warren Central showed some offensive life in the second quarter as they got on the board when Jordan Leach called his own number on a five-yard touchdown run to cut the lead in half. A field goal by Schulyer Nehrig had the lead down to four at halftime.

For the final 24 minutes Carmel's defense was the star. A normally high-powered offense was held without a point in the second half and a Carmel field goal by Nick Stacy in the fourth quarter completed the scoring for another classic between two of the state's best teams.