MERRILLVILLE | Holding the opponent to 13 positive plays in its first 28 is pretty ominous.
Scoring on the first six drives and punting for the first time when 6:04 remains in the third quarter, a nine-year dearth of semistates is about to end.
Finding another gear defensively in a perfect season in which exactly one of 14 foes was within sniffing distance of a lead, it’s time to book passage and lodging in Indianapolis.
Andrean led 35-0 at halftime and did everything right, playing its most complete meaningful playoff game in a decade to keep the red and gold train rolling to the state finals for the first time since the 2004 team won it all, beating visiting West Lafayette 52-7 Friday night to win the Class 3A northern semistate at Father Eckert Stadium.
“We definitely came in with a chip on our shoulders after last year (a home semistate loss to Fort Wayne Luers),” senior tight end and linebacker Tylor Petkovich said. “We’ll finally be able to look up in a game and not see sky. We’ll see the dome.”
The 59ers (14-0) will play the winner of today’s southern semistate final between Brebeuf (10-3) and Gibson Southern (13-0) at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Overall it’s the fifth state finals appearance for Andrean, which broke through for the first time in 1997.
“We’re going to the dome; it’s a pretty big win!” said Andrean coach Phil Mason, who earned his first trip to state in 13 years as a head coach.
Andrean senior quarterback Matt DeSomer has only lost eight games in his career, and after favoring an injured ankle early in the week, he came out determined to show that his wheels were ready and he wasn’t going to lose a second consecutive home semistate.
DeSomer ran for a 39-yard touchdown on Andrean’s third play from scrimmage and finished with two rushing TDs and two passing, getting a big boost from the team’s defensive effort.
Andrean tallied 449 yards, compared to 154 for West Lafayette (12-2).
“Offensively I think we just dominated,” DeSomer said. “The line did their responsibilities, and everyone did what they were supposed to do. Basically it’s a balance. If you focus on one person, the others will do something.”
Andrean’s scoring ledger was once again populated by the same menagerie of names.
Trevor Berg ran for 135 yards on 22 carries and scored twice. Donovan Chandler and Jamie Johnson each caught a touchdown from DeSomer, and backup Cameron Bosak led the second string on a touchdown drive that finished with his rushing TD.
Mike Gore added a late field goal to finish with 10 points kicked.
The Andrean defense had several killer Bs, including Josh Barajas, who had a big interception in the second half and was part of a unit that held West Lafayette star Maurice Woodard to 73 hard-earned yards on 30 carries, including the shutout-breaking touchdown, his 35th of the season, in the final minutes.
Barajas is playing in a state championship game for the second consecutive year, but he was playing at Mount Carmel last year when the Caravan won state in Illinois.
“I’m just blessed with this opportunity,” Barajas said. “Hard work pays off. It’s a great team. I’m speechless.
“We don’t back down from any fight. They had a great player, but our defense was great.”