Multiple Teams · Sectional football preview: Dragons vs. Muncie Central


Class 5A Sectional 12 semifinal
Muncie Central Bearcats (1-8) at
#2/1 New Palestine Dragons (9-0)
7 p.m., Kelso Stadium
Local broadcast: New Pal Radio

The second season begins tonight as the New Palestine Dragons return to Kelso Stadium to face Muncie Central.

NPHS is looking to continue its recent success in the tourney. The Dragons have won nine sectional titles in school history, including three since 2013. The Dragons have also won five regional titles, three semistates and a state championship.

The Dragons drew a bye week last week and are opening sectional play this week against Muncie Central, with the winner meeting Zionsville or Anderson next week.

A 55-7 victory over Delta two weeks ago clinched an unbeaten regular season. QB Zach Neligh threw for a career-high 326 yards- his second straight 300-yard game. He has now thrown for 1,677 yards – including 894 in the last three weeks. His total is the sixth-most passing yards in NPHS history. He needs 20 rushing yards to become the third Dragon to run and throw for 1,000 yards in the same season. Four receivers – junior Colby Jenkins (541), seniors J.T. Hoffman (388) and Jaxon Manes (388) and sophomore Kade Large (221) have at least 200 yards. Jenkins needs 37 yards to become the seventh Dragon to tally 1,000 career receiving yards.

RB Luke Canfield is also in the 1,000-yard club, as he has run for 1,450 yards and 27 TDs, the ninth-most rushing yards in a year in NPHS history.

The Red Rage defense is led by sophomore Maxen Hook’s 60 tackles and junior Luke Ely’s 57 stops and 6.5 sacks. Senior Landan Burton has 5.5 sacks. Sophomore Ryker Large has five of NP’s 17 interceptions.

Click here for the full media preview/game notes

Game info
Site: 
Kelso Stadium, New Palestine
Time: 7 p.m.
Admission: $6. Because this is an IHSAA event, NPHS all-sports passes and season tickets will NOT be accepted.

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 Senior Night. The Dragons seniors will be honored prior to the game. Tonight is also Cancer Awareness Night. Fans are encouraged to wear pink. Balloons will be for sale to be released just prior to the opening kickoff.

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 winner plays either Anderson or Zionsville. If the Dragons win, they would host Zionsville or travel to Anderson.