Football (Varsity) New Palestine High School

Hot start carries football to 34-14 victory

By Andrew Smith | Sep 15, 2023 10:40 PM


From the kickoff, the New Palestine football team was in control Friday night against Pendleton Heights. Kyler Kropp ran the opening kickoff back 89 yards for a touchdown, then punctuated the next drive with a 9-yard run, sending the Dragons on their way to a 34-14 victory over Pendleton Heights. Grayson Thomas ran for 191 yards and a score to highlight what was an uneven performance for the Dragons despite controlling the game throughout the evening. The Dragons led 20-0 at halftime and extended it when the defense forced a three-and-out and Thomas took the first snap up the middle for a 56-yard touchdown, but they struggled to move the ball after that, gaining two first downs. Brady Armstrong added a 50-yard interception return for a score - one of three picks by the Dragons in the game - to punctuate a strong defensive performance. The Dragons’ defense was making plays, as Armstrong picked off a pass and took it to the house from midfield with 10:40 to go, and Mason Hiatt ended the next PH drive with his third pick in as many weeks. Alex Guhl had another interception on the Arabians’ final play of the first half. Guhl’s pick set up Jake Wells’ second long field goal of the night, a 44-yarder before halftime to extend the lead to 20-0. He earlier hit a 43-yarder on the Dragons’ previous possession. The Dragons scored on four of their first five offensive possessions. After Kropp’s opening kickoff return, NP forced a punt and drove 83 yards, converting 3rd-and-12 on a 14-yard run by Thomas. They also converted 2nd-and-15 on a 34-yard pass to Micah Clark - who wrestled the ball away from a PH defender for the catch - and Kropp scored from nine yards out on third-and-8. The Dragons’ defense held PH to 178 total yards, including 66 in the first half. The Dragons improved to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference. They next play Friday at HHC co-leader Greenfield-Central, with conference championship implications riding on the contest. Week 5: New Palestine 34, Pendleton Heights 14 Friday, Sept. 15, 2023 at Kelso Stadium, New Palestine Pendleton Heights (3-2, 1-2) 0 - 0 - 7 - 7 -- 14 New Palestine (3-2, 3-0) 14 - 6 - 7 - 7 -- 34 Scoring summary NP-Kropp 89 kickoff return (Wells kick), 11:47 NP-Kropp 9 run (Wells kick), 6:24 NP-Wells 43 FG, 5:03 NP-Wells 44 FG, :00 NP-Thomas 56 run (Wells kick), 10:28 PH-DeRolf 11 pass from Frank (Apo kick), 1:22 NP-Armstrong 55 interception return (Wells kick), 10:40 PH-Sims 16 pass from Wilson (Apo kick), 6:13 Team stats First downs: PH 11, NP 13 Rushes-yards: PH 25-53, NP 43-184 Passing C-A-I: PH 13-34-3, NP 4-9-1 Passing yards: PH 125, NP 56 Total plays-yards PH 59-178, NP 52-240 Penalties-yards: PH 5-30, NP 9-75 Fumbles-lost: PH 0-0, NP 0-0 Punts-avg: PH 3-44.3, NP 4-36.8 Time of possession: PH 22:52, NP 25:08 Individual stats Pendleton Heights Rushing: Wilson 15-35, Surface 3-10, Roberts 2-6, Jones 2-3, Trout 1-3, Frank 2-(-4) Passing: Wilson 7-20-2-63, Frank 6-14-1-62 Receiving: Sims 4-49, DeRolf 4-28, Stevens 3-35, Reddington 1-11, Wilson 1-2 New Palestine Rushing: Thomas 31-192, Kropp 2-18, Neal 8-6, team 2-(-32) Passing: Neal 4-8-1-56, team 0-1 Receiving: Kropp 2-12, Clark 1-34, Rollyson 1-10

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