The New Palestine football team travels to New Castle for the final road game of the 2020 regular season. The Dragons enter with a 5-1 mark and a three-game winning streak, while the host Trojans are 3-3.
- (5A #4/5) New Palestine Dragons (5-1, 4-1 HHC) at New Castle Trojans (3-3, 2-3 HHC)
- Time: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 9
- Location: Neal Field, New Castle (directions)
- Tickets: Tickets will be sold to the first 250 New Palestine fans who enter at the southeast gate. Tickets are $5, cash only.
SETTING THE SCENE
The Dragons bring a three-game winning streak into this weekend’s contest at New Castle, where the Trojans enter 2-3 in conference play.
This is the eighth meeting between the Dragons and Trojans in a series that began in 2014 when New Castle joined the HHC. New Palestine has won all seven previous meetings, including all three at Neal Field. NP won last year’s meeting 68-6.
The Dragons have won 52 of their last 53 HHC games.
The Dragons posted their second shutout of the year and the 20th during coach Kyle Ralph’s tenure last week, blanking Shelbyville 42-0. NP allowed a season-low 38 yards of total offense in the game, while amassing a season-best 518 yards, including 377 on the ground. It was the first 500-yard game since Sept. 27, 2019.
In the last two weeks, the Dragons have averaged 348 rushing yards and produced two 100-yard rushers in each game.
Freshman RB Grayson Thomas ran for a career-high 228 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory over Shelbyville. It marked his first career 200-yard game. He capped it with a 76-yard TD run, the Dragons’ longest play from scrimmage this season. Thomas has run for 100 yards in three games this season.
Senior QB Lincoln Roth has had back-to-back 100/100 games. Last week, he threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns – both to Blake Austin – while running for 109 yards and a score. He has tallied a 44-yard touchdown run each of the last two weeks. With Austin tallying a career-high 109 receiving yards, the Dragons had a 100-yard rusher, 100-yard passer and 100-yard receiver.
Austin posted his second 100-yard game in three weeks last week. He tallied 106 yards Sept. 18 against Pendleton Heights. The previous week at Mt. Vernon, he reeled in 98 receiving yards. He averages 17.4 yards per catch and 72.7 yards per game. Austin now has 912 career receiving yards and needs 88 to become the eighth Dragon to reach the 1,000-yard mark.
With 2,311 career passing yards, Roth is the eighth Dragon to reach the 2,000 mark. He needs 31 yards to move to pass Chris Van Dyke and move into seventh on the Dragons’ all-time list.
The Dragons are averaging 23.0 points per game this season. The Red Rage defense has allowed 12.0 ppg, including the program’s 19th shutout in eight seasons under coach Kyle Ralph in Week 2 against Yorktown.
The Red Rage defense has held four of its five conference opponents to 200 or fewer total yards.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
New Castle enters with a 3-3 mark. William Grieser leads a pass-heavy attack with 1,096 passing yards through six games, averaging 182.7 yards per game. He is also the team’s leading rusher with 401 yards. Junior Kyle Gabbard is Grieser’s favorite target, catching 40 passes for 418 yards and seven of NC’s 15 passing touchdowns.
The Dragons finish the regular season next week at home against Delta.
The sectional draw will be announced Thursday, Oct. 8. The Dragons will open sectional play Oct. 30 in Class 5A’s Sectional 14. Franklin, Seymour and Whiteland are the potential sectional foes.
All New Palestine games are broadcast on NewPalRadio.com. All home games are also video streamed on the New Palestine High School Athletics YouTube page. NPHS Athletics is on Facebook (NewPalestineDragons), Twitter (@NPHSDragons) and online (NewPalestineAthletics.com).