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No. 4 Tigers drop first contest of season to No. 1 Saints

Triton Central's Hayden (23) and Keaton (2) Kermode watch as Lutheran quarterback Blake White takes a snap Friday in a battle of state-ranked teams.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

INDIANAPOLIS — As the game progressed, both Triton Central and Lutheran fans grew weary. Several delays in Friday's contest between the Class 2A No. 4 Tigers and the 1A No. 1 Saints caused frustration for both teams and their fans — especially TC, which fell 28-14 after leading top-ranked Lutheran 14-7 early in the first half. 

An injury to Triton Central's Zack Martin, holding and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a few questionable calls, to say the least, made a battle between state-ranked teams an interesting affair. The host Saints, however, would overcome three first-half turnovers en route to their third consecutive Indiana Crossroads Conference win to begin the season. 

Lutheran did not allow the visiting Tigers to find any sort of rhythm in the second half, holding TC scoreless for the final two quarters of play. In fact, the Tigers, who entered the game averaging just over 28 points per game offensively, did not find the end zone in the final 34:30 minutes of the game. 

Triton Central took a 14-7 lead with 10:30 to play in the second quarter after senior running back Keaton Kermode scored his second rushing touchdown of the game. K. Kermode's other touchdown came with 6:08 to play in the first quarter. Three offside penalties from the Saints and a fourth-down conversion allowed TC to take the early 7-0 lead. 

But Lutheran had an answer. The Saints took the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, which tied the game (7-7). 

Lutheran, trailing 14-7, scored its other touchdown of the first half in the second quarter after an interception near midfield from TC junior quarterback Erick Hebauf. The Saints marched to the end zone and used a 4-yard rushing touchdown with 3:00 minutes to play to even the score before the break.  

Depsite forcing three turnovers, TC failed to go into halftime with a lead. K. Kermode and senior Luke Hornung had interceptions in the first half for the Tigers. Martin, playing on the defensive line, recovered a fumble in the first half, which was the third turnover for LHS. Unfortunately, Martin, a junior, was wheeled off the field on the back of a John Deere Gator in the third quarter. It appeared Martin had suffered some type of ankle injury. 

In the second half after a scoreless third quarter, Lutheran took command with a 10-yard pass to the front corner of the end zone with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. Saints quarterback Blake White, a junior, showed his strong arm several times in the contest but was more productive in the second half after a slow start. 

Another Triton Cenral interception with 6:00 to play in the game gave the ball back to the home team. The Saints sealed the game with a 5-yard rushing score (4:27 left in fourth quarter) from senior running back Marcus McFadden, a tough and physical runner with good speed.

In the end, after a fine start, the Tigers failed to come up with a big play in the second half when needed. 

With the loss, Triton Central moves to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the ICC. The Tigers return home next week for a contest with Monrovia.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.