It wasn’t a pretty effort for South Decatur’s football team, but the visiting Cougars had more than enough offensive firepower — and brute force — to make up for any sloppiness in their Class A sectional opener at Edinburgh.
The Cougars lost three fumbles, had two passes intercepted and committed 110 yards in penalties, but they also dominated the line of scrimmage, and every offensive statistical category, on their way to a 57-34 victory.
The win moves South Decatur (5-5) into a sectional semifinal matchup next Friday at home against third-ranked Indianapolis Lutheran, which defeated Cambridge City Lincoln 54-16 in its first-round game Friday.
The Cougars outgained Edinburgh on the ground, 347 yards to 55. Jacobi Shook rushed for 150 yards on just 14 carries for South Decatur, and Devon Martin added 71 yards and three touchdowns on 11 rushes. Shook’s touchdown late in the third quarter illustrated the difference in the running games better than any statistic could.
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Facing a third-and-30 on his own 30-yard line. Shook took the handoff, went up the middle and ran over and through several Edinburgh defenders, dragging would-be tacklers and shaking off others en route to the end zone. That touchdown, with 22.6 seconds to play in the third quarter, gave the Cougars a 49-20 lead and effectively squelched any hopes of an Edinburgh comeback.
Lancers sophomore quarterback Tyson Sackman did his best to offset South Decatur’s advantage on the ground. He threw for 159 yards, completing 10 of 26 passes for three touchdowns before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter due to what appeared to be a minor injury.
Zach Murphy caught four of those passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, while Dillon Simpson and Dakota Balthazor hauled in the other two touchdown passes. When Sackman left, Murphy stepped in and completed another touchdown pass to Balthazor with 16.7 seconds to play.