November 5, 2011

Carmel caps comeback with gutsy calls

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

It's hard to figure out what is most amazing:

The comeback from a 20-point deficit?

The fourth-and-six conversion in the final seconds?

The decision to go for the win instead of the tie?

Or maybe it's just this: Carmel (Ind.) High was given a second-chance to pull off a miracle comeback against Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central.

This time, Carmel held on to win, capturing a state sectional title in the process.

"We just kept fighting," Carmel coach Kevin Wright told the Indianapolis Star. "This is the most selfless team I've ever coached."

And likely the most resilient, too.

Carmel erased a 19-0 deficit in the teams' first meeting five weeks ago - only to lose on a last-play field goal.

This time, it got it right. But it wasn't easy.

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Dallas Jackson breaks down the action on Friday Night]

Trailing 30-27 in the final minutes, Carmel opted to go for it on fourth-and-6 (a play after it was penalized for delay on fourth-and-1) instead of attempting a potential game-tying 44-yard field goal.

Brandon Denning completed an 11-yard pass to Sean Barrett for the first down. One play later, Carmel took its first lead of the game on a 16-yard touchdown run by Jalen Duncan with 23 seconds left in the game.

"It feels like we just won the state championship," Denning told the paper.

Not so fast.

If any team should know, Carmel knows you can count on anything until it's complete.

The win likely will move Carmel to the top spot in Indiana. It started the game ranked No. 32 in the RivalsHigh 100; Warren Central was No. 7.

And while Indiana's no-seed playoffs seemingly paired these teams sooner than they should have played, Carmel's road to the final is not easy.

Carmel is at No. 79 Ben Davis in a regional final next week and has two more potential games after that.

All in a state that is becoming known for producing some good teams.

And some amazing comebacks.

  • RivalsHigh take: This game was a perfect commentary on both teams. Carmel is a never-say-die team that fights until the final whistle. Warren Central has proven to be a team that can beat any team but in many cases it beats itself. This is the second time on the year the Indians have jumped out to a three-score lead over Carmel only to have it come crumbling down. Warren's emotional light switch gets flipped on and off too frequently. It was the more talented team by a long shot - but it was not the better team.

    For more, check out this report in the Indianapolis Star.




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