The 4A No. 3 New Palestine Dragons beat 3A No. 5 Yorktown 48-13, building an early 21-point lead with touchdowns on Alex Neligh’s first three passes, and then using a strong defensive effort to pull away to the victory.
Afterwards, the skies provided them – the game was delayed for 30 minutes in the third quarter due to lightning. When the game resumed, the teams played another quarter and saw the Dragons add 17 more points before the game was officially called with 6:30 to go.
NP led 31-13 at the lightning delay, then finished the drive that began before the delay with a 37-yard field goal by Spencer Corey. That followed with with TD runs by Nick Brickens and Neligh, and a defense that produced several near-interceptions – and a pick-six by junior nose tackle Thaddeus Muse with 6:30 left that was called back by a penalty.
For the third straight game, NP got off to a fast start, building a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. It took just 45 seconds for Alex Neligh to hit Noah Grable, who caught the ball at his own 45 and outran the defense for a 65-yard TD. Neligh’s first three pass attempts went for TDs – 28 yards to Garrett Kuhn with 8:35 left after a Yorktown fumble, and 25 yards to Duke Blackwell with 6:30 left in the opening quarter.
Neligh finished 8-of-16 throwing the ball for 187 yards, and also ran for 50 yards and a score. He led an offense that scored on eight of its nine drives.
Quarterback Riley Neal led the Tigers on back-to-back TD drives in the opening quarter, sandwiched around a NP fumble, but Yorktown’s three forays into NP territory from that point forward were stymied due to sacks and forced two turnovers on downs and a punt. Sterling Curran had three sacks to lead a Dragon defense that allowed 17 rushing yards. Neal was sacked six times.
Dragon running back James Young carried much of the load after the early 21-point burst. Running behind an offensive line that more and more controlled the line of scrimmage, he became the featured back in the final three quarters. He had eight carries on a 13-play, 66-yard second-quarter drive, including the 1-yard TD run. That drive allowed NP to answer Yorktown’s two scores and go up 28-13. He had several carries on a 14-play drive that led to Corey’s half-ending field goal, and then had 10 more totes in the second half to help NP extend the lead. The senior had 31 carries – a career high – for 166 yards.