INDIANAPOLIS — The Lapel Bulldogs had a nemesis Friday night, and his name was Camorrie Shittu.
Shittu’s 75-yard, tackle-evading touchdown run with just under two minutes to play put the exclamation point on a 46-30 Broad Ripple victory over Lapel. The junior quarterback threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-28 passing and ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns.
“Their quarterback, that kid is one amazing athlete. He’s a special player,” Bulldogs coach Tim Miller said.
Shittu, at the helm of a very athletic and very fast Broad Ripple team, ran seemingly at will despite constant pressure from the Lapel rush. He also had an arm that could heave the ball to speedy receivers downfield. It was just too much for the inexperienced Bulldogs to handle. But Miller doesn’t want his team’s lack of time under the lights to be an excuse.
“We need to start overcoming that,” Miller said. “It’s Week 3 now. We can’t continue to say the same thing.”
Lapel’s own quarterback struggled to connect with his receivers Friday night. Junior Brady Cherry was 18-of-48 for 233 yards and four touchdowns, but spent most of his night evading a flood of Broad Ripple rushers the Bulldogs’ offensive line couldn’t hold back. It was a tough test for Cherry in just his third high school football game and for his young line and fleet of receivers.
“Playing against press man coverage, especially with a team as athletic as Broad Ripple, you can’t simulate some of that in practice,” Miller said. “So our line was rattled. We got more pressure than we’ve had.”
Despite giving up 46 points, there were bright spots in the loss that dropped Lapel to 1-2. Joe Hart returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. He also had 78 yards and two touchdowns receiving. Senior Bailey Partington led Bulldogs receivers with 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Miller also praised the defense for creating turnovers and doing a better job of running to the football and knowing their assignments. It will take the little things, like staying focused for the passing game-lengthened Bulldogs’ games, for Lapel to be successful going forward.
“The other thing we’ve done that’s a step from last year is we fought for four quarters,” Miller said. “Our kids were in it, which is even more amazing considering how long our games go. We’re asking kids to focus for three-and-a-half hours.”
The Bulldogs return home next Friday to face Park Tudor, another Indianapolis program. Lapel fell 33-6 to the 2-9 Panthers last year and are 0-4 in the series. But Miller says things are different this year.
“I think one thing we have turned the tide on is these kids expect on Friday night that they’re going to win. The kids expect on Monday night that they’re going to win,” Miller said. “Now, we’ve won one and lost two, but when our kids show up on Friday, no matter who it is they expect to win.”