INDIANAPOLIS — Shenandoah’s lockdown defense and relentless rushing attack were just too much for the Broad Ripple Rockets on Friday night, lifting the Raiders to a 49-6 win and setting up a meeting with Knightstown in Round 2 of Class 2A Sectional 38 next week.
“I’m really proud of these guys tonight. They had a great week of practice,” Raiders coach Scott Widner said. “Our defense was outstanding all night long.”
Shenandoah couldn’t get out of its own way in the first half, or the winning margin might have been wider. A fumble at the Rockets’ 16, a turnover on downs at the 5, a 15-yard punt and an interception ended four of the Raiders’ five possessions in the first half. The fifth was capped by a 26-yard run by JJ Myers, one of three the junior had on the night, and gave Shenandoah a 7-0 lead at halftime.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” Widner said. “Then we had a penalty on one play that put us in a hole. We had a bad snap that put us in a hole. We’ve got to clean some of that stuff up.”
The door may have been left open for the Rockets at halftime, but the Raiders slammed it shut shortly after the third quarter began. Forcing Broad Ripple into a three-and-out on its first possession, Shenandoah went on a bruising 70-yard drive to go up 14-0 on an 8-yard run by Chandler Hale, who had 111 yards on the night.
With some breathing room, the Raiders’ linebackers were free to let loose on Rockets QB CJ Shittu and his rattled offensive line, while the secondary, starring Moose Kirk and Trevor Conner, smothered the receivers in man coverage.
“The plan was we were gonna play man on their receivers and try to make them pass it and not let No. 1 (Shittu) beat us. Cause he’s a special kid,” Widner said.