The Dragons play their final regular season road game of 2018 as the HHC’s top rushing attack meets one of the conference’s most potent passing attacks in the New Castle Trojans.
5A No. 1/1 New Palestine Dragons (7-0, 5-0 HHC)
at New Castle Trojans (4-3, 2-3 HHC)
Date: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5
Site: Neal Field, New Castle (directions)
- New Pal Radio (link to listen or click the embedded link below). Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
NineStar TV will air the game on tape delay Saturday and Sunday on NineStar Channel 9.
SETTING THE SCENE
The Dragons hit the road for the fifth time in a six-week span as they travel to HHC rival New Castle. NP enters the night seeking the 350th win in school history and to extend its regular season winning streak to 52 games. NP is 349-194-2 in 51 seasons of varsity football. NC has dropped two straight and needs two wins to clinch its second straight winning season.
NP can clinch at least a tie for its sixth straight HHC title and 10th overall with a victory tonight. A win coupled with a Delta loss will clinch it outright.
The Dragons are 5-0 all-time in the series, including a 56-24 victory last year.
The Dragons enter this week after scoring a school-record 46 points in the first quarter and 74 in the first half of last week’s 77-7 win over Shelbyville. Charlie Spegal ran for 225 yards and six scores. He also had a 39-yard TD reception. Colby Jenkins had a TD reception. Zach Neligh rushed for two scores and Luke Ely had a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown. Spegal became the first Dragon with rush/rec TD in same game since Jenkins vs. Richmond on Aug. 25, 2017
Neligh completed 6-of-9 passes last week for 145 yards and two TDs. He now is second in school history with 4,543 yards of total offense. He needs 78 yards to move into fifth place on the school’s career passing list. Neligh and Chris Guhl completed 10 passes last week to nine different receivers.
Spegal tied one school record and broke another last week. He set the single-season scoring record with 230 points and tied Alex Neligh’s record with 37 rushing TDs with a seven-touchdown performance in the win over Shelbyville. Spegal broke Alex Neligh’s single-season scoring record of 222. Spegal has 38 total TDs on the season. Spegal also tied his own school record with seven touchdowns in a game. Spegal leads the nation in rushing TDs and scoring.
The Dragons scored 76 and 77 points the last two weeks, the first time since 2016 the Dragons have scored 70+ points in back-to-back weeks. It’s the fourth time in school history that feat has been accomplished.
Spegal is closing in on another milestone. He needs 148 yards to become the 26th player in IHSAA history to rush for 6,000 career yards.
The Red Rage forced seven turnovers last week against Shelbyville and held the Bears to zero passing yards. It was the time holding a team with 0 passing yards since Oct. 27, 2017 vs. Muncie Central. The Dragons are now +22 in turnover ratio.
The Dragons’ varsity offense scored on all 10 of its possessions Friday. The No. 1 offense has scored 54 touchdowns and three field goals in 64 drives.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
New Castle has the HHC’s most prolific passing attack, led by QB Drew Barber and WR Luke Bumalough. Barber leads the HHC with 1,312 passing yards and 17 TDs. Bumbalough, a Ball State basketball recruit, has 42 catches for 573 yards and nine TDs. Triston Chesher has 426 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Gage Burk (439 yards) leads the Trojans’ running game.
New Castle posted its first winning season since 1984 a year ago, going 6-5. The Trojans return much of the nucleus of that squad as they seek their second winning campaign in a row.
The Dragons host Delta at 7:30 p.m. next week for Senior Night at Kelso Stadium.
The IHSAA sectional draw is scheduled for Sunday on the IHSAA Champions Network and IHSAA.tv. New Palestine competes in Class 5A Sectional 12 with Anderson, Greenfield-Central, Muncie Central and Zionsville. The tournament begins Friday, Oct. 19.