Russ Yeast’s other five-touchdown game was on Ohio soil as a sophomore at his former high school.
Center Grove’s ultimate playmaker now has one on this side of the state line after leading the Trojans to a thrilling 44-41 overtime win against Cathedral on Friday.
Hauling in seven of Jack Kellams’ passes for 210 yards and five scores, Yeast played a monster role in the defending Class 6A state champions celebrating senior night with an eighth consecutive victory.
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The score was tied 38-all after regulation.
Cathedral was on offense first, got to the 1-yard line on two carries, but settled for a field goal after getting stuffed for a 2-yard loss on third down by Trojans seniors Dan Root and Nick Arbuckle.
Yeast carried for three yards on Center Grove’s first play. On second down, Kellams, the senior quarterback, rolled right and threw a 7-yard dart to Yeast in the right front of the end zone.
“We had to stay the course because they kept making plays. Every time they made a play, I told myself I have to go make a play,” Yeast said. “Big-time players want the ball in big-time games like that, so I definitely wanted the ball in key situations.”
Center Grove appeared in command early in the third with a 35-17 advantage after Kellams and Yeast hooked up from 32 yards out.
But the Irish, led by a pounding running attack and their own pass-catch combination of quarterback Quincy Keller (229 yards passing) and senior Luke Sanders (seven grabs, 125 yards, 3 TDs), refused to go away.
Center Grove couldn’t stop Sanders.
Cathedral couldn’t stop Yeast.
“Actually, on the sideline all the coaches were talking about how this is a great game to be a part of,” Trojans coach Eric Moore said. “The kids are having so much fun. It’s for nothing but bragging rights and an 8-1 record, which we desperately wanted.
“It takes a lot of pride to stay in and fight, and our kids did that. Big play after big play.”
Cathedral won the total yardage battle, 381-262.
Center Grove’s normally potent ground game spun its wheels most the evening, netting only 75 yards.
“Our kids played well, and we made some mistakes at different times. I’m sure (Center Grove) felt the same way,” Irish coach Rick Streiff said. “Both teams battled hard. It had to be from a fan’s perspective a fun game to watch.”
A first half dominated by huge plays concluded, fittingly, with one as Kellams delivered a strike to Yeast over the middle just as the former was getting hit by an Irish defender.
Yeast, who had already hauled in 60- and 11-yard TD passes from Kellams, zigged and zagged downfield until he cruised in with a 53-yard score for a 28-17 Trojans halftime lead.
Cathedral started the game using 16 plays just so that it could produce a 27-yard field goal.
Center Grove struck on its third play from scrimmage, Kellams throwing a perfect strike to Yeast, who caught the football at the Cathedral 25, shook free from a defender at the 15 and made it into the end zone.
With the Trojans ahead, 14-10, a total of three touchdowns were scored over the final 32.9 seconds of the second period.
First, Center Grove senior Trevor Hohlt scored a 9-yard run. Cathedral countered with a slant pattern that resulted in a 72-yard strike from quarterback Quincy Keller to long-striding 6-foot-4 receiver Luke Sanders.
The Irish were penalized for targeting on the ensuing kickoff, which advanced the pigskin from Center Grove’s 32-yard line to its 47. This put Center Grove in position to get Yeast in the open field, which is precisely what happened.