The joy of homecoming night gave way to stunned silence at Center Grove on Friday night.
Pike stormed back from an early 14-point deficit to pull ahead in the fourth quarter, and after the Trojans woke the crowd up by tying it with a late touchdown, the Red Devils got the last word and left town with a 28-20 upset victory.
The Class 6A No. 6 Trojans (3-4, 2-4 MIC) gave up 20 unanswered points and the lead before putting together a game-tying drive. Jackson Moore, who completed 10 of 15 passes, found Lucas Doyle in the end zone with 1:07 left in regulation — but a missed extra point left the score tied.
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Pike (3-4, 2-3) used nearly every bit of the remaining time, using the passing touch of Jordan Garrett (27-40, 298 yards) to move up field. After a couple of clutch completions, Garrett found an open Keith Allender in the end zone with 3.7 seconds on the clock.
Center Grove had one last shot from its own 45, and Moore completed a pass to Jacob Keith, but the ensuing series of desperation laterals ended with the Red Devils jumping on top of a loose ball.
The Trojans didn’t appear to be in any such danger in the first half. After stalling on their opening possession, they got on the board first with a 10-play, 52-yard drive that lasted nearly five minutes. Gavin Matheson capped it off with a 15-yard run to make it 7-0 at the 7:58 mark of the second quarter.
Carson Steele did the bulk of the work on Center Grove’s next trip down the field, ripping off rushes of 23 and 19 yards before scoring from 12 yards out with 2:52 remaining before halftime.
Steele finished the night with 155 yards rushing. Garrett totaled 101 yards on the ground for Pike.
After the break, the Red Devils got a defensive stop and marched 80 yards for their first score. Garrett completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Williams and then added a two-point toss to cut the Trojan lead to 14-8 midway through the third period.
Shorthanded on the line after injuries to right tackle Cory Heinrichs and center Justin Tolle, Center Grove couldn’t get anything going on offense, and the Red Devils continued to chew up time and yardage. Garrett tied the game up late in the third quarter on a 7-yard throw to Daryl Black, capping an 87-yard drive, and he went back to Williams for the go-ahead score from 5 yards out with 8:13 to go in the game.
The Trojans’ first opportunity to respond went by the wayside with a fumble that the Red Devils recovered at the Center Grove 35. But after a couple of defensive stops, the home team took advantage of its final opportunity.
Unfortunately for Center Grove, so did Pike.