Multiple Teams · Friday football preview: Dragons vs. Shelbyville

Shelbyville Golden Bears (5-1, 3-1) at
#3/2 New Palestine Dragons (6-0, 4-0)
7:30 p.m., Kelso Stadium
Local broadcast: New Pal Radio

The New Palestine Dragons celebrate a half-century of football tonight with the school’s 50th Homecoming game.

NPHS started varsity football in 1968 under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Marvin Shepler, who led the Dragons for 34 seasons. In the first 49 years of Dragon football, NP has won 16 conference titles, nine sectionals, five regionals, three semistates and a state championship. This Friday’s game will also feature a reunion of Dragon football players from all 50 years.

Tonight will go a long way in deciding who wins the 2017 HHC title. The Dragons currently enter with a one-game lead, with Shelbyville in a second-place tie at 3-1. If the Dragons win and Delta beats Pendleton Heights tonight, NP will clinch at least a tie for its fifth straight HHC title and seventh in nine years.

Last week, NP’s special teams were big in a 59-3 victory. The kickoff team recovered a loose ball, the punt team forced three errant plays that set the Dragons up inside the 30 and led to a scoop-and-score by Luke Ely, and the Dragons also intercepted three passes. NP had six takeaways in the game, and is +12 on the season.

J.T. Hoffman, Jaxon Manes and Brody Luker all had interceptions. Maxen Hook also had 10 tackles.

Offensively, Zach Neligh ran for 133 yards and threw for 135 in the victory, throwing TD passes to Hoffman and Colby Jenkins. Neligh also ran for two TDs. Luke Canfield crossed the 1,000-yard mark and ran for three touchdowns, giving him 17 for the season.

For the third straight week, the Dragons held an opponent to negative rushing yards, holding G-C to minus-26 on the ground.

Click here for the full game notes/media preview

Game info
Kelso Stadium, New Palestine
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $5

BroadcastClick here to listen to the LIVE New Pal Radio broadcast. Full pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with the Tailgate Show, and will continue with play-by-play and full postgame coverage. Mobile users: Search for “New Pal Radio” on the TuneIn app. (alternate links and archives here).

Promotions: It’s homecoming. The king and queen will be crowned at halftime and the traditional homecoming festivities will take place. Also, it’s the 50th year celebration of Dragon football. Former players are invited to attend and participate in the GIA tailgate at 5:30 p.m. They will be introduced by decade during the game.

Traffic/parking note: In the interest of player safety, the parking lot at New Palestine High School is closed immediately behind the press box, and thus closed to thru traffic, from 5 p.m. on football gamedays through 30 minutes after the end of the game. Fans may enter off Gem Road (CR 500W) west of NPHS, where they can access the large parking lot south of Kelso Stadium. There is also limited parking available from the U.S. 52 entrance.

Next up: The Dragons return home Friday, Oct. 6 to face New Castle on Senior Night.