Shamrocks claim 1st regional title since ’93
By Ron Hermann
Ft. Wayne — No. 1 Westfield 36, No. 4 Ft. Wayne Snider 7. Let me repeat that: No. 1 Westfield 36, No. 4 Ft. Wayne Snider 7. If you grew up around central Indiana and know your high school football but had been away for a while, that score just doesn’t make sense. In fact, it might look like a misprint. Westfield, No. 1 in the state? The Rocks crush traditional power Snider in Ft. Wayne? Westfield, one game away from a trip to Lucas Oil? Doesn’t make sense right? None of it would have made sense, that is, until this year.
And this year has been different! For those of you that in fact haven’t been following, the Shamrock football team is earning a ‘Dream Season’ with its play. And Friday night’s outcome was just another extension of that. The No. 1 ranking? It’s real! The 11-1 record? It’s real! The Hoosier Crossroads Conference title? It’s real! The 34 points per game? It’s real! The 17 point scoring differential per week? It’s real!
The Rocks are for real and fans are happy to see it.
“They sure are carrying a lot of momentum. I haven’t heard of Westfield winning a whole lot of ball games until this year. Coach Gilbert is doing one heck of a job this year,” said Darrell Schiedel, a decades-long Rocks fan. “I think it’s spectacular! Very aggressive ball team. A whole new look. And they’re playing like a team. Just a real tight unit. I’m really proud of them!”
The realness continued Friday night despite some added apprehension going into the game. The Rocks were without two key senior defensive players due to injuries: DT Keyonte Crawford (concussion) and FS Luke Peters (hand). Each is expected back next week. And there’ll be a next week thanks in large part to an all-around team effort.
The offense scored on its opening possession and never looked back. Senior Nick Ferrer had perhaps the best game of his career, going 20-28 for 281 yards and 4 TD’s. He also ran for one on a QB sneak. Senior Devin Reece caught 3 TD’s while junior Ben Lotfalion caught the other. Lotfalion had a tremendous night snaring balls all over the field in the decisive first half. He ended up with a career-high 10 catches for 136 yards and that one TD. Junior Elvin Caldwell complimented Ferrer’s passing with 128 yards on the ground as the offense moved the ball at will against Snider all evening long.
The Rocks defense was bolstered by the return of junior end Jacob Robinson. The reigning defensive MVP had missed the previous two games with a stress fracture. His return seemed to spark a spirited effort by the Rocks. Senior linebacker Mitch Turley gathered 13 tackles as Westfield limited the Panthers to just 191 yards of total offense.
On Special Teams, junior kicker Nick Dowd had four PAT’s and actually had a memory of a lifetime for a kicker. He scooped up an errant snap on a PAT attempt and completed a pass to senior Nick Krieg for the 2-pt conversion!
Hopefully, for the Rocks, more memories of a lifetime will be created on Nov. 22 as they play host to the No. 8 Concord Minutemen for the Semi-State title and a trip to Lucas Oil Stadium.