EAST CHICAGO | TreQuan Burnett doesn’t just catch touchdown passes; it only seemed like that on Friday night.
The senior wide receiver, who finished with five grabs for 159 yards, caught two long touchdown passes from Carlos Fernandez in E.C. Central’s 38-37 overtime win over New Prairie in the Class 4A regional championship game.
“All the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears through the years has finally paid off,” Burnett said. “It all came down to heart.”
Burnett saved his two biggest catches of the season for E.C. Central’s final drive of regulation. He caught a 10-yard pass for a first down on the opening play of the drive.
After an incomplete pass, he ran a post route and came open while Fernandez scrambled and kept the play alive. Fernandez floated a pass to Burnett around the New Prairie 45-yard line, and he outran everyone to put the Cardinals ahead, 31-28, with 1:26 left in the game.
“Carlos kept the play alive and he found TreQuan down the middle, and TreQuan with his track speed went in and got the score,” E.C. Central coach Stacy Adams said.
“I just ran my route and did it to the best of my abilities,” Burnett said.
Burnett faced double-coverage most of the night, so Adams moved him into more of a slot position and forced New Prairie to decide how they wanted to cover the Cardinal receivers.
“Teams have to pick their poison with Martayveus (Carter) on the outside and TreQuan in the middle,” Adams said. “We’ve got a lot of speed.”
Burnett opened the scoring for the Cardinals on E.C. Central’s opening drive when he caught a 62-yard pass from Fernandez.
He ran a fly pattern and raced past the defensive back and ran untouched into the end zone.
“I just did what I had to do to get free and catch everything that was thrown my way,” Burnett said.
The Cougars held Burnett in check for the next three quarters, but he made his presence known again in the fourth quarter.
He caught a 12-yard pass on an E.C. Central scoring drive that got the Cardinals to within four at 28-24 with 8:13 left to play, and then he added two catches on the final scoring drive of regulation.