Arrows respond and win conference game
It was not the place that coach Blaine Powell had hoped his two-time defending Western Indiana Conference Golden Arrows would be in, but Sullivan responded with one of its best efforts in weeks.
Sullivan jumped to a 21-7 halftime lead and cruised to a 48-21 win over Cascade for fifth place in the WIC at Sportland Field on Friday night. It was the first meeting between the two teams.
The Golden Arrows amassed 688 yards of total offense. The varsity defense was just as impressive as they did not allow the Cadets to score from the line of scrimmage — only a kickoff return for a TD.
“We were clicking on all cylinders,” said Powell. “We played really well.
“We were lights out on defense. Coach (Mark) Stoltz did a great job with our line in practice this week. We did a great job on the edge. We came out fast and got after them. They scored two touchdowns against our JV and our JV scored one against them. They never pulled their varsity starters and ours did not play the fourth quarter.”
It was the seventh win in nine games for Sullivan, who ended up 4-2 in the conference. Cascade slipped to 4-4, 3-3.
“This was very encouraging. We had a great week of practice,” Powell. “We made a few adjustments and the kids were really focused all week.
“You could tell on Wednesday, Thursday and today just how ready they were.”
The Arrows have had some good moments, but did not finish strong in the conference with losses to Northview and Greencastle and played a listless first half before rallying to beat West Vigo 27-24.
“Each team is different,” said Powell. “Every season is a work in progress. As a coach, you have to learn to understand your kids. It is tough for kids just dealing with things in everyday life.
“This group has taken a while to find out who they are. At times, this season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. They took a big step forward this week in becoming the team I thought they could be
Powell said that Jakeb Skinner set the tone for the Sullivan offense early. He finished with 164 yards on 14 carries, including two TDs, both in the first half.
“He had over 100 yards in the first half,” said Powell. “We limited his carries in the second half or he could have done what he wanted.
“He ran well and through some big holes, that the offense line opened up. When he gets in the open field, he is tough to bring down.”
Before the game, the senior class was honored including Jack Conner, Daylan Curtis, Curtis Bedwell, Jacob Freels, Jake Powell, Alex Norris, Tyler Emmons, Hayden Sater, Ike Chastain, Ben Pirtle, Jake Steele and Kathleen Ming.
“Ben, Jake and Kathleen just joined us this year, but have been vital to our team,” said Powell. “The other nine have been really special to me. I talked to them before I took the job last year.
“They are such hard workers and have set a great example and the tone by their work in the off season. That is what has made them special to the program.
Conner completed 26 of 39 passes for 354 yards and four TDs. Kyle Vernelson had eight receptions for 139 including scores of 28, 25 and 15 yards.
Karter Vernelson had a 19-yard touchdown catch from Conner as part of a seven-reception, 105-yard night.
Sullivan will open play in the sectional at 7 p.m. Friday at West Vigo.
“We are a different team that played there a week ago,” said Powell.
GOLDEN ARROWS 48, CADETS 21
Cascade 0 7 0 14 — 21
Sullivan 7 14 21 6 — 48
S — Kyle Vernelson 28 pass from Jack Conner (Kathleen Ming kick).
S — Jakeb Skinner 10 run (Ming kick).
C — 89 yard kickoff return (Kick good).
S — Skinner 1 run (Ming kick).
S — Karter Vernelson 19 pass from Conner (Ming kick).
S — Ky. Vernelson 25 pass from Conner (Ming kick).
S — Ky. Vernelson 15 pass from Conner (run failed).
C — 2 run (kick good)
C — 36 run (kick good)
S — Dylan Williams 80 pass from Tristan Drake (Ming kick).
Rushes-yards 32-190 37-235
Passing yards 44 453
Total yards 234 688
C-A-I 4-13-2 29-45-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-1
Punts 3-31 0-0
Penalties 7-50 10-90
Return yards 130 53
RUSHING — Sullivan, Skinner 14-164, Randy Kelley 3-28, Conner 9-25, Curtis Bedwell 3-4, William Newby 4-7, Daylan Curtis 1-2, Dominic Jordan 2-(minus 1), Dylan Williams 1-(minus 4).
PASSING — Sullivan, Conner 26-39-354-1, Ka. Vernelson 0-1-0-0, Ky. Vernelson 1-1-0-19, Kelley 1-1-0-0, Drake 1-1-0-80.
RECEIVING — Sullivan, Ky. Vernelson 8-139, Ka. Vernelson 7-105, Daylan Curtis 5-54, Karver Queen 3-27, D. Williams 1-80, Conner 1-19, Kenton Williams 1-13, Skinner 1-9, Grant Bell 1-7, Donoven McKinney 1-0.