In new MIC rivalry, Center Grove sneaks by Pike

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GREENWOOD –  If the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference wasn’t the best in football in Indiana before the 2013 season, it may easily be now.

When Terre Haute North and South left the conference, Pike along with Lawrence Central joined in. Add those powers in with Ben Davis, Carmel, Warren Central and others, and there is no league that packs the punch like the one featuring the Class 5A and 6A Central Indiana schools.

At the same time new rivalries figured to form as the Red Devils and Bears would now face teams as conference foes rather than out of conference showdowns. One of those new match-ups-Center Grove and Pike-took place on Friday night in front of a packed crowd in Greenwood.

Like the hopes for the league itself, the 48 minutes of the field didn’t disappoint.

Tight defensive football ruled the day as the Red Devils and Trojans were within striking distance the entire game, but in the end it was Center Grove who pulled out a 14-13 victory on their home field to remain 5-0 on the season. A missed extra point by Pike would prove to be the difference in the game which figures to be the first of many classic games between the schools.

Center Grove jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and nearly had more when Matt O’Brien caught a long pass and took it 43 yards down field. But Pike defensive back Keith Cork caught up to O’Brien and knocked the ball out of his hands and out of the endzone for the Red Devils touchback.

Pike quarterback Brent Lyles was able to get a few drives into Center Grove territory in the first half but the team came up empty, turning the ball over on downs once and by an interception. The Trojans tried to add to the lead late in the second half, but a fake field goal attempt was snuffed out by the Red Devils to keep it 7-0.

Lyles started Pike off fast in the second half as he capped a long drive with a two-yard touchdown run to even the game at seven.

Center Grove’s Luke Calvert put the Trojans back in the lead in the fourth quarter with a four-yard touchdown run but Lyles quickly responded with a three-yard touchdown run of his own. But after that Pike touchdown the extra point was no good so the Trojans held the one-point lead.

That would hold all the way till the end as the Red Devils failed to mount another scoring drive.

Eric Moore’s team now heads to another new MIC rival-Lawrence Central-for a game next Friday night while Pike (2-2) faces Ben Davis next Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.