Prep football

JIM PETERS: Carroll snowed under by Merrillville momentum

2012-11-09T21:45:00Z 2012-11-10T03:15:11Z JIM PETERS: Carroll snowed under by Merrillville momentumJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 09, 2012 9:45 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | Momentum is a fickle old sort in the game of football, switching sides at the slightest whim without as much as a moment's notice.

Well, most of the time anyway.

Merrillville seized control of Friday's Class 5A regional against Carroll with a 45-yard Jake Raspopovich to Aaron Dye touchdown pass just 95 seconds into the game, and the little snowball quickly became an avalanche. 

A Ryan Neal interception led to a Matt Warren field goal. A blocked punt set up a Bryant Isabell scoring run. When Raspopovich connected with BJ Jenkins for a 65-yard TD on the first play of the second quarter, the Pirates led 22-0 and the rout was on. A Tyrie Fuller 1-yard run on the last play of the half made it 36-0 and Merrillville was thinking about semistate.

"All cylinders were all there," Raspopovich said. "Offense, defense, special teams, all three came together. From the beginning, we brought the energy, even in the pregame. I'm so proud of our team. The seniors, we knew, no matter what, that this was our last home game, and we wanted to come out with a victory."

Raspopovich threw for three scores and ran for another, earning the fourth quarter off as Merrillville rolled to a 50-point lead. Yep, 50. In a regional, against the team that beat Penn.

"Very surprising," said linebacker Brandon Oliver, who snagged his fourth and fifth interceptions of the season. "It all started in practice, with coach (Zac) Wells emphasizing that we had to be disciplined, but we also had to play hard and fast. That's what we try to go out and do every single game."

Practice doesn't always translate into performance, but in this case, it did.

"We had a really good week of practice," Wells said. "The kids were extremely focused on the task at hand, which is difficult as you move deeper in the tournament. That's a pretty good sign of leadership. You can talk all you want, but if they don't believe what you're preaching, it doesn't really matter."

Raspopovich was salivating at the prospect of his receivers getting single coverage from Carroll and the result was the same it's been all season -- defenders seeing the backs of Merrillville pass catchers sprinting to the end zone.

"When I found out they played man-to-man, I was really excited," Raspopovich said. "With our athletic receivers and great line giving me all the time I wanted, I just have to throw the ball. It makes the game easy for me."

Merrillville's defense continued its post-season renaissance, pitching a shutout until the first unit was pulled.

"It's really been just getting healthy, getting all of our guys back," Oliver said. "We wanted this really bad."

Merrillville will head to Fort Wayne next Friday to face Snider, which rallied for an overtime win over Fishers. Lucas Oil Stadium is one game away for the Pirates.

"When you get this far, it's like, 'Wow, it's really happening,' Raspopovich said. "But we're not looking ahead. We're going to focus on Snider. Obviously, they're a great team. When you look ahead, you get beat."

At least on this night for the Pirates, there was no looking back.

 

This column represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls soccer team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses