Bishop Chatard defeats Hamilton Heights to win third straight Class 3A title

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After rushing the ball only five times in the Bishop Chatard’s Class 3A State championship victory over South Bend St. Joseph’s in 2011, Trojans Senior running back Pete Hartley knew he had to make the most of 2012. It’s safe to say that a 172 yard rushing performance in a 30-13 victory over Hamilton Heights may have done just that.

“A lot of us are first year starters as seniors,” said Hartley. “We have seen other people start and play in this game for the last two years. It means a lot to be in this position, and to continue it out.”

After Junior Chase Sadler put the Trojans up 3-0 with a 27-yard field goal early in the first quarter, Hartley broke open a 45-yard touchdown run that put Bishop Chatard up 10-0 and they never looked back.

“They (Hamilton Heights) were well-coached, had a lot of good guys, and I knew that was going to be the case,” said Bishop Chatard Head Coach Vince Lorenzano. “Up-front they gave us a lot of trouble, and we kept on being resilient and fighting through difficult times. We had a long-drive for a score that was a good score, and the defense got stops. Overall, we just played a good team game.”

To lead off the second quarter Bishop Chatard Senior quarterback Sam Neighbours hit Senior wide receiver Joe Fagan running down the sidelines for a 33-yard touchdown reception to go up 16-0.

“We tried to get a run game started,” said Neighbours, who finished with two touchdowns and 159 yards. “Hamilton Heights has a great defensive line and a great defense. So it was kind of hard to run. But Coach (Lorenzano) let the ball fly around a little bit with the pass. We got points though from various people, so it was nice.”

Hamilton Heights would remain scoreless until 9:41 in the third quarter, when Senior quarterback Corey Beck (197 yards, two touchdowns) connected with Landon Cunningham on a 33-yard reception that cut the lead to 16-6 after a failed two-point conversion. It would be the only score of the third quarter, and the Huskies looked as if they had gained some momentum, but on a 4th and 1 attempt from the 9-yard line, Neighbours found Junior Henry Hill wide-open for a touchdown to go up 23-6 at the 10:21 mark.

“A time-out was called and we came to coach saying we needed to run the ball,” said Neighbours. “But of course Coach (Lorezano) blocked out all that, and he knew who to go too. Henry Hill is a great tight end and he got the touchdown.”

Hamilton Heights continued to fight hard and would score on a 12-yard reception from Beck to Spencer Dull with 3:55 left in the game, but it would prove to be too little too late to make any serious damage.

“I’m proud that we weathered the storm,” said Huskies Head Coach Mitch Street. “But I’m prouder that we came out in the second half and continued to battle. That’s a good football team and obviously their history is amazing. But to continue to fight, to continue to battle to the end, and I think you could say the number-one and number-two teams were here.”

Bishop Chatard would score one more time when Junior Stan Jackson toppled onto a forced fumble that rolled into the end zone to put the Trojans up 30-13 in the final. The victory gave the Trojans their 12th State championship in the program’s history, and they will move up to Class 4A for the 2013 season.

“To us seniors, and to finally get the three-peat means a lot,” said Hartley. “Especially to us seniors, because we felt at the beginning of the season a lot of people weren’t giving us the credit we deserved. It’s a good feeling.”