Football (Varsity) New Palestine High School

Passing game shines in football victory over PH

By Andrew Smith | Sep. 16, 2022 10:51 PM


The New Palestine football team faced a Pendleton Heights squad determined to slow down the Dragons' powerful running game Friday night. The Arabians did so - holding NP to 160 total rushing yards - but the Dragons instead found their stride in the passing game, as quarterback Danny Tippit threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-14 Dragons victory. Tippit completed 18 of 21 passes, throwing more touchdowns than incompletions. It was the Dragons' first 300-yard game since Lincoln Roth threw for 341 yards in the 2020 sectional against Franklin. “All in all, we played pretty well tonight,” NP coach Kyle Ralph said. “I think we’re getting better, but there’s still a lot of improvement this team can make, which is a good thing if we can get there.” The victory moves the Class 4A No. 1 Dragons’ mark to 5-0 on the season and 3-0 in Hoosier Heritage Conference play. PH falls to 2-3 and 1-2. Isaiah Thacker made five catches for a career-high 147 yards and a score, in the process becoming the ninth Dragon to reach the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards. Blaine Nunnally had five catches for 67 yards and two scores. Six different receivers caught passes. Kyler Kropp had four catches for 43 yards, while Ty Mitchell had two catches for 19 yards. Thomas and Micah Clark had one catch each. “What’s best about what we’re doing offensively, Danny is really competitive, he wants to be the leader of the offense and he is,” Ralph said. “What I’m proud of is he’s really bought into a touchdown for one is a touchdown for all. He’s evolving. It doesn’t matter who scores it, six points is six points. He’s distributing the ball really well. All of our receivers are getting catches. He’s making the right reads. His continued evolution is going to be huge for us. He had a really nice night tonight. When he was called on to throw it tonight, he threw it well and that was important.” PH unveiled an aggressive, blitzing defense early designed to slow the Dragons’ running game - and it did early, forcing a turnover on downs on the first drive. But on the Dragons’ second possession, Tippit hit three straight passes for 60 yards, capping it with a 25-yard aerial to Nunnally, and NP was off and running. Isaiah Thacker made an acrobatic catch in the end zone for a 26-yard reception on the next drive, and then had a 68-yard catch and run to set up a 7-yard TD to Nunnally on the following possession to put NP up 21-0 early in the second quarter. Two more drives finished with touchdown runs by Grayson Thomas to cap the opening half with the Dragons up 35-0 and triggering the running clock for the second half. Tippit was 16-of-19 for 280 yards in the opening half. Meanwhile, the Dragons’ defense sacked PH quarterback Isaac Wilson three times and picked him off twice - Baylor Hurst and Isaiah Thacker had the interceptions, the latter coming inside the 10-yard line to thwart the Arabians’ best drive of the first half. PH scored on both of its second-half possessions - the second coming against the Dragons’ second-unit defense. Daniel Thacker’s long kickoff return set up a third-quarter TD pass to Ty Mitchell for the Dragons. The Dragons were successful in their first defense of the HHC’s Helmet trophy since regaining possession of it with last week’s 42-6 victory over Mt. Vernon. Their next chance to do so will be next week in the team’s 55th annual homecoming game against Greenfield-Central. “When I got the job here 10 years ago, getting the Helmet was not a priority. Getting us back on track was. But when we got the Helmet, one of the most enjoyable parts has been defending that helmet because every week, you have to bring your best, because walking it across the field hurts,” Ralph said. “One of the fun parts about this is you are everybody’s Super Bowl. You have to come prepared to play every week and you have to bring your best. You want to be the team remembered for getting it back. That’s been their mission. We had a great week this week. It needs to continue to be next week.” Notes: Isaiah Thacker became the ninth Dragon to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark. He now has 1,042 receiving yards, passing Keith Roseman into eighth place on the all-time receiving list. He needs 11 yards to pass Todd Yoder and move into seventh place. ... Tippit's 310 yards were a career-high, eclipsing a high of 220 set last week ... His four TDs marked the first four-touchdown game for a Dragon since Lincoln Roth on Sept. 20, 2019 in a 47-6 win over Pendleton Heghts ... Isaiah Thacker's 147 receiving yards were a career-high, eclipsing his high of 138 set last year against Pendleton Heights. ... The Dragons had two touchdown drives of 90-plus yards. ... The 68-yard pass from Tippit to Thacker was the longest play from scrimmage for the Dragons this season. Week 5: Dragons 42, Pendleton Heights 14 Friday, Sept. 16 at John Broughton Field, Pendleton New Palestine (5-0, 3-0 HHC) 14 - 21 - 7 - 0 -- 42 Pendleton Hts. (2-3, 1-2 HHC) 0 - 0 - 7 - 7 -- 14 Scoring summary NP–Bl.Nunnally 26 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), 5:55 NP–I. Thacker 25 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), 3:04 NP-Bl. Nunnally 7 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), 10:32 NP–Thomas 3 run (Tanksley kick), 2:20 NP–Thomas 5 run (Tanksley kick), :19 PH–Sims 5 pass from Wilson (Apo kick), 5:05 NP–Mitchell 8 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), :33 PH–Wilson 19 run (Apo kick), 6:54 Team stats First downs: NP 21, PH 12 Rushes-yards: NP 31-160, PH 21-80 Passing C-A-I: NP 18-21-1, PH 11-23-2 Passing yards: NP 310, PH 134 Total plays-yards: NP 52-470, PH 44-214 Fumbles-lost: NP 0-0, PH 1-0 Penalties-yards: NP 5-49, PH 1-5 Punts-avg: NP 0-0, PH 3-46.3 Time of possession: NP 23:21, PH 24:39 Individual stats New Palestine Rushing: Thomas 18-85, Kropp 4-30, Armstrong 3-33, Cad.Jacobia 5-12, Tippit 1-0 Passing: Tippit 18-21-1-310 Receiving: I.Thacker 5-147, Bl.Nunnally 5-67, Kropp 4-43, Mitchell 2-19, Clark 1-21, Thomas 1-13 Pendleton Heights Rushing: Wilson 12-43, DeVault 7-31, Hess 1-6, Roberts 1-0 Passing: Wilson 11-22-2-134, Hess 0-1-0-0 Receiving: Jordan 4-50, Sims 3-39, DeRolf 2-28, Reddington 2-17

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