Even as they move forward, Pike and Ben Davis can’t help but look back
INDIANAPOLIS – When the Sectional Pairings were announced, there was no doubt where the minds of football fans in Wayne and Pike Townships went immediately to the night of September 5th and the early morning of September 6th.
For Pike receiver Rashad Medaris, the memories of the latter immediately popped into mind.
“A day doesn’t go by without me thinking about that,” said Medaris of an unusual yet thrilling match-up between the Red Devils and Ben Davis at Pike on those two days.
On Friday night both schools engaged in one of the most prolific offensive games of the entire high school season. The Red Devils led 50-46 before a line of severe thunderstorms delayed the game until the next morning at 10 AM. Both teams would return to the field to finish the final 1:44 of the contest with Pike holding the ball deep in Ben Davis territory on a long third down.
The Red Devils ran two plays but were unable to score. Ben Davis took advantage and moved the ball 80 yards in under a minute and won the game on a Kyle Castner touchdown pass to Chris Evans with under ten seconds to go.
“After 31 years you think you see it all and then you see something like that,” said Ben Davis head coach Mike Kirschner of the Pike game in September. “Go back with a 1:44 and be able to survive. They did everything they could to win and we did everything we could to win. It was just an odd situation.”
It ended up being a painful one for Pike who narrowly saw a win over a top-ranked team slip away and for the next few weeks so did their season. After the defeat the Red Devils lost their next four games and went from a MIC contender to the middle of the pack, needing two wins in the final two weeks of the season to finish 4-5.
“We talked about we have to finish games and we’ve got to play through a lot of adversity and I think we’ve grown up over the season,” said Pike head coach Derek Moyers of his team following the Ben Davis game. “I think that’s really allowed us to focus in and get prepared for tomorrow night’s game.”
After dealing with an unusual situation in their last meeting, the Giants and Red Devils now return to some familiar territory. This will be the fourth time in the last five years that the two teams will meet in the Sectional round-and it’s been all Pike in the Playoffs.
In 2010 the Red Devils beat the Giants 45-38 in overtime then took them down in 2012 at home 35-25-both first round Sectional games. Last year the team’s met in the Sectional Semifinals where Pike once again beat Ben Davis 34-32 on the road. In both 2012 and 2013, the Red Devils lost to the Giants in a regular season match-up.
“We have to understand that adversity is going to strike during the season so we need to keep playing and get better,” said Medaris. “I think we’re coming together as one.”
Ben Davis hasn’t had to fight through as much adversity as Pike since that September meeting but the Giants did fall short of their goal of a MIC championship. Two weeks after their win over the Red Devils, Ben Davis dropped their first game of the year at Warren Central 28-21 and then later fell to Carmel 37-14, which put them in third place in the regular season conference standings.
One thing that hasn’t changed about the Giants is their offense-which is one of the best in Central Indiana. With quarterback Kyle Castner leading the way Ben Davis has averaged 41 points a game and put up 99 combined in their final two games of the regular season.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers,” said Giants receiver Brennan Gillis of the offense. “Everybody’s doing their part, we’re in sync with each other-quarterbacks, receivers and the running backs. Our running backs just take over the game. That makes it easy for us.”
Perhaps it will make for another entertaining game that no one who was there will forget six weeks earlier.