DUNLAP — Concord got the most critical prize being chased, the win — and with it a first-ever high school football meeting next week against Elkhart Central — while Elkhart Memorial got some of the improvement it’s been chasing.
The stubbed-up Minutemen fought off the stubborn Crimson Chargers for a 23-7 Class 5A sectional semifinal home victory Friday, Nov. 1, at Jake Field.
No. 7-ranked Concord (8-2) faces the Blue Blazers (4-6) in next Friday’s sectional final at Rice Field. The neighboring schools have never met in the more than 40 years that each has fielded a program.
The Minutemen played the semifinal minus four injured starters, including quarterback Trevor Wilmore, who is expected back next week.
They led the Chargers just 9-0 at the half — and that was with the two Concord scores being set up by takeaways that gave the hosts the ball at the Memorial 32 and 25 — but then added an electric 64-yard punt return for a touchdown from Jerrell Pointdexter and a 40-yard Larry Smith scoring run in the third quarter for a 23-0 advantage.
Smith also scored on a 23-yard scamper in the first quarter, while Ryan Tepe got the night’s opening points with his 40-yard field goal.
The Chargers (2-8) scored a TD with 45 seconds left in the game to avoid the shutout.
“We sputtered on offense, but we knew our defense could stop them,” Concord coach Tim Dawson said after advancing to at least the sectional final round for the fifth straight year. “We really did sputter at times, but I figured it would be like that. They had two weeks to prepare for us, and I thought they did a good job defensively.”
“We had that bye week and really had two good weeks of practice,” said Memorial coach Bill Roggeman, whose team had lost to the Minutemen 38-7 in Week 2. “I think the kids enjoyed having the time to just concentrate on us. We made some improvements with some of the things we were screwing up earlier in the season. We were able to execute a lot better. A loss is a loss, but we played a lot better tonight than we have.”
“They brought it, they really brought it, they came hard,” Smith said of the Chargers. “I thought at the beginning (of the game), we were sleeping a little bit, but we brought it in the second half.”
Concord 23, Memorial 7
Scoring by Quarters
Memorial 0 0 0 7 — 7
Concord 9 0 14 0 — 23
School — Scoring Play
C — Ryan Tepe 40 field goal, 4:25.
C — Larry Smith 23 run; kick failed, 1:51.
C — Jerrell Pointdexter 64 punt return; Tepe kick, 5:39.
C — Smith 40 run; Tepe kick, 2:11.
M — Nathan Troutman 27 pass from Jefffery Sindle; David Doyle kick, 0:45.
Officials: Mike Monhan, Chris Ronan, John Walczewski, Ron Otolski, Darin Metcalf.
Team Statistics Me Co
Net yards rushing 38 94
Net yards passing 121 56
Total Yards 159 150
First Downs 9 9
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-3
Penalties 5-55 7-55
Memorial: Rushing — Nathan Troutman 6-22, TieShawn Johnson 2-16. Passing — Troutman 6-13-61 (1 int.), Trevor Trowbridge 4-8-33 (0 int.), Jeffery Sindle 1-4-27 (0 int.). Receiving — Izayah Newsom 3-54, Troutman 3-32, Jaylin Rhodes 1-15, David Doyle 1-10, Chris Kale 2-10. Fumble recoveries — team, Newsom, Jared Peek. Interception — Myles Rosenberg.
Concord: Rushing — Larry Smith 10-91. Passing — Jason Grooms 6-9-41 (0 int.), Cullen Fisher 3-9-15 (1 int). Receiving — Jerrell Pointdexter 5-29, Adam Glanders 3-14, Brandon Thomas 1-13. Fumble recovery — Nick DeFreese. Interception — Pointdexter.