By Michael Walker
Despite their pedestrian 5-5 record, Indianapolis Cathedral came into the second round of sectional play ranked in the top 10 in both the AP and the Coaches Poll.
Three of their five losses came at the hands of out-of-state competition as the Irish were gearing up for a 3-peat of the 4A state title.
Friday night marked the third time since 2005 that they have matched up against the Lebanon Tigers in sectional action and with the 49-19 victory, Indianapolis Cathedral has sent the Tigers home each time.
Coming in Lebanon knew they were going to have to make big plays in order to keep pace with a high powered offense that averaged better than 28 points per game against nationally-ranked competition.
While the game got off to an ominous start for the Irish, it was missed opportunities early on that told the story for the Tigers.
On Cathedral’s very first pass attempt Lebanon’s Caleb Brannon jumped a quick out and had nothing but green grass in front of him.
Instead of a pick-six to start the game, however, Brannon dropped the pass.
From there the Tiger defense forced a punt, but despite great field position, Lebanon was unable to capitalize and turned it back over on downs.
Cathedral’s running back Gino Gillum caught fire on their next possession with a 48-yard burst right through the heart of the Tiger defense.
He took the hand-off up the gut, broke it to the outside before being pushed out at the two.
He would finish it off on the next play with a 2-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Irish a 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
“Our defense played hard and fast to the ball,” said Lebanon head coach Kent Wright. “We missed a few plays that could have changed the complexion of the game, but give them credit they are a very good football team.”
After a quick Tiger three-and-out, its defense would have another opportunity for a game changing play.
First, Cathedral started the drive with a 60-yard connection between quarterback Connor Rice and wingback Terry McLaurin.
Then two plays later, Ryan Reese jumped another short route, but couldn’t hang on to an interception that would have kept Cathedral off the board and could have given his offense momentum with a big return.
Instead the Irish scored a second touchdown on a quarterback draw.
It was a nicely designed play as Cathedral spread the field with five wide receivers allowing Rice to take the shotgun snap six yards, untouched for the score.
For more of this story, read Saturday's Lebanon Reporter.