LAKE STATION | Behind a balanced offense and an opportunistic defense, Boone Grove won its first state tournament game Friday night, defeating Lake Station 47-6 in their Class 2A Sectional 25 matchup.
“We’re very proud of how our program has progressed,” Boone Grove coach Tony Tinkel said. “We very excited to have our first postseason win.”
The game had an auspicious start for Boone Grove, who lost its only previous sectional game 37-21 to North Newton.
The Wolves fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Eagles recovered on their 42. But Kody Lemley threw an interception to Dean Hill on the second offensive play, and Hill ran it back for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead at the 10:27 mark of the first quarter.
“Confidence has been an area of concern for us since Cody (Poynter) got hurt,” Tinkel said. “We left a few scores on the field the last two weeks. So we needed a good start tonight.”
The Eagles (2-8) took the next kickoff and put together a 12-play drive to the Wolves’ 17-yard line. But Lemley was sacked on fourth down and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs.
Boone Grove (7-3) then put together a nine-play drive that covered 83 yards. Jason Sawa ran around left end for a 37-yard TD run to make it 13-0 with 1:29 left.
“Finishing drives tonight was critical for us,” Tinkel said. “The boys knew we needed to put together a couple of strong drives and finish them off.”
In the second quarter, the Wolves added a pair of scores to separate themselves from the Eagles. Kyle Wolfe ran the ball in from the 8-yard line, and Hill had a 1-yard quarterback draw.
The score was 28-0 at the half.
“We had to establish the ground game tonight and use ball control,” Lake Station coach Mike Hepp said. “We knew we had to keep Boone Grove’s offense off of the field.
“But we also knew we had to eliminate turnovers,” Hepp added, “and we didn’t do that.”
Lake Station was intercepted twice and two lost fumbles.
Boone Grove’s Jason Sawa had 60 rushing yards and 72 more receiving. He also had a 37-yard rushing TD. Sawa also had a 76-yard kickoff return for a TD.
Lake Station’s Kyle Gooch ran for 135 yards and the lone Eagle touchdown.
Both teams came into the sectional opener struggling on both sides of the ball. Boone Grove had lost two straight, while Lake Station had a four-game losing streak.
Boone Grove will face Andrean, which defeated Wheeler, next Friday.