South Bend St. Joseph won’t be partying like it’s 1995.
The Indians lost in the Class 3a Football State Championship to Chatard 31-7 Saturday at the RCA Dome.
St. Joe was making its first trip to State since winning it all 12 years ago.
The State championship is the 7th in 11 years for Chatard.
It was a game of field position early on, with neither team scoring in the 1st quarter. Both teams punted on their first two possessions.
With 2:20 left in the 1st quarter, Indians senior Michael Krzyewski sacked Trojan QB Rob Doyle, forcing the ball to come loose. Thomas Bagiackas would recover the ball.
Jordan Taylor would make his first appearance on the ensuing drive. Battling a hamstring injury he suffered in the 1st half of last week’s Semi-State win, Taylor gutted it out on Saturday.
He had a solid first run that was called back due to a penalty. The Indians were flagged 13 times for 98 yards in the game.
The drive stalled and the Indians punted.
Chatard responded on the next drive with two big runs by sophomore sensation Ari Pappas. Dan Kleinschmidt finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Chatard.
With 1:18 left in the 2nd, Pappas made it 14-0 with a 3 yard touchdown run. Pappas finished the game with 83 yards rushing.
Then the big blow hit the Indians. Trying to make something happen before the half, Joey Hecklinski threw a short pass that was tipped and intercepted by Kyle Dietrick. The senior cornerback ran it back 37 yards for Chatard’s 2nd touchdown in 18 seconds to make it 21-0 at the half.
St. Joe came out in the 3rd quarter with its best drive of the game. Jordan Taylor and Dustin White mixed it up on the ground, leading St. Joe down field.
But on a 3rd and 4 from the Trojan 21, Taylor was stuffed.
The Indians went for it on 4th and 4. Hecklinski threw it up to Bobby McClintock in the endzone but the Trojans’ defensive star, Dietrick, knocked it down.
Kleinschmidt then busted one 32 yards to the Indians 27 yard line. Quarterback Rob Doyle rolled out and hit Steve Webster for a 24 yard touchdown to make it 28-0.
A field goal in the 4th made it 31-0 Chatard.
St. Joe scored its only points of the game when Zach Matthews stripped Braylon Parham and then picked up the fumble and returned it for a long touchdown.
That made it 31-7. That was the final.
It’s the 2nd straight State title for Chatard and 9th in school history. They have won State in 1983, 1984, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 and now 2007.
St. Joe wraps up its season with a 12-3 record. The loss snaps a 9-game winning streak for the Indians. Their other two losses came to Elkhart Central and Penn.
St. Joe senior lineman Mitchell Speer wins the Mental Attitude Award. He is the 4th student in St. Joseph history to win the prestigious award.