The New Palestine football team has paved a path to downtown Indianapolis over the past six seasons.
This year, that path was paved with the run and the Red Rage in a 45-0 semistate victory over Bloomington South Friday at Kelso Stadium.
The Dragons ran for 389 yards – including 277 from Charlie Spegal – and the Red Rage pitched its third shutout of the year to clinch its fourth State Finals berth in six seasons.
The top-ranked Dragons will look to defend their state title – and win their third since 2014 – at 7 p.m. Nov.29 when they face No. 2 Valparaiso at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams bring 13-0 records to the State Finals.
The Dragons wasted little time getting started, as Charlie Spegal went 62 yards in the game’s first minute to give NP a 7-0 lead. It was all the scoring the Dragons would need. The Dragons threw an interception on their next possession, but forced a turnover on downs and then went to work. Spegal tallied a 57-yard touchdown on the next possession, then took it 24 yards for a score after the Dragons again stopped the Panthers on down.
Alex Kropp nailed a 35-yard field goal and Brody Luker notched his second pick-6 of the season in the second quarter, followed by a 33-yard TD run by quarterback Lincoln Roth, giving NP a 38-0 edge at halftime. Spegal added his fourth TD of the night in the second half to extend the lead.
Spegal posted his sixth straight 200-yard game in the victory. Roth also ran for 73 yards on seven carries.
Defensively, Aven Jones led the Red Rage with 10 tackles, while Maxen Hook and Kyle King had eight each. King also had 1.5 sacks.
The Dragons have now won 27 consecutive games, one shy of the school record winning streak.
The Dragons would love nothing more than to set the record next week, and bring home a third state title trophy.
Friday, Nov. 22 at Kelso Stadium
Bloomington South (8-5) 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 0
New Palestine (13-0) 21 – 17 – 7 – 0 — 45
NP-C.Spegal 62 run (Kropp kick), 11:04
NP-C.Spegal 57 run (Kropp kick), 6:44
NP-C.Spegal 24 run (Kropp kick), 3:39
NP-Kropp 35 FG, 7:58
NP-Luker 42 interception return (Kropp kick), 5:30
NP-Roth 33 run (Kropp kick), 1:35
NP-C.Spegal 2 run (Reid kick), 5:22
Rushing: C.Spegal 24-277, Roth 7-73, E.E.y 4-22, Roudebush 4-20, R.Large 1-(-3)
Passing: Roth 0-2-1-0