New Palestine completes undefeated season with 5A crown

The New Palestine Dragons celebrate after capturing the class 5A state championship Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. (WXIN November 24, 2018)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – New Palestine capped off an undefeated season, winning the class 5A IHSAA state championship over Decatur Central 28-14 Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It’s the top-ranked Dragons second football title in school history and second in five years after winning the class 4A crown in 2014.

New Palestine jumped out to 14-0 lead behind a 20-yard touchdown run by quarterback Zach Neligh and a two-yard TD by Charlie Spegal.

The Hawks cut the Dragons’ lead to 14-6 on a 24-yard Parker Harrington to Kenny Tracy scoring strike, but New Pal responded with two touchdowns in the final 44 seconds of the first half to take control of the game.

Colby Jenkins made a beautiful catch on tight coverage for a 30-yard TD, then Spegal broke several tackles on his way to the end zone for a 27-yard score as time expired to put the Dragons up 28 to 6 heading into halftime.

Harrington connected with Tracy again to make it 28 to 14, but that was as close as Decatur Central could get.

The Hawks were looking for their first ever state football title after advancing past the sectional round for just the second time in school history.

Spegal’s two scores gave the junior running back an astounding 70 for the season, adding to his state record for touchdowns in a season he set in the semi-state round.

New Palestine senior running back/linebacker Luke Ely won the Eskew Mental Attitude Award.

Six state champions were crowned this weekend.  They will return to Lucas Oil Stadium in next month to be honored at a Colts game.

Class A: Pioneer

Class 2A: Western Boone

Class 3A: West Lafayette

Class 4A: Bishop Dwenger

Class 5A: New Palestine

Class 6A: Warren Central

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