Indiana High School Football 5A Championship: Can Carmel Break Their Curse?

Chad IrvineContributor IIINovember 22, 2011

Jalen Duncan celebrates with a teammate against Ben Davis in the Regional Championship game (Photo Courtesy of George Sinnis)
Jalen Duncan celebrates with a teammate against Ben Davis in the Regional Championship game (Photo Courtesy of George Sinnis)

The two teams in the 5A championship have combined for 11 state championships (Carmel 6, Penn 5). Both teams have very rush heavy offenses, but they achieve it in very different ways.

The greyhounds are lead by Jalen Duncan, who has rushed for 1,706 yards on the season (121.9 YPG), Then it drops down to Brandon Denning who has 778 yards (56 YPG) and has carried the Greyhounds to a 13-1 record on the year. Their one loss was to Nationally ranked Warren Central team in the regular season.

The Hounds went on to avenge their loss in the playoffs, beating the Warriors in a come from behind miracle, scoring the game winning touchdown with 23 seconds left in the game. 

The Kingsmen of Penn have Jamil Davis and Zach Oakley rushing the ball, Davis, from the running back position, and Oakley splitting snaps at quarterback with Chad Gindleberger. Davis has 1,001 yards (71.5 YPG) and Oakley has 977 yards (69.8 YPG).

Their passing game is very predictable, Gindleberger passes, and Oakley rushes from under center or shotgun. He hardly passes the ball, with less than four passing attempts per game. Look for the defenses to have to step up for both teams in this one.

The state championship is a familiar friend, or foe, to the Greyhounds as of late. They have competed in four of the last five state final games, the exclusion being last year where they lost to eventual champion Fishers in the sectional championship game.

The Hounds have played in Lucas Oil Stadium four times the past four seasons, and have yet to win a game, losing earlier in the year to Warren Central on a last second field goal. Of course, three of the four games have been to the No.1 state ranked Warren Central Warriors.

Lets see if the hounds can get their win at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night,

The running game of Penn will have to be stopped if they want to do so, and their secondary has to step up. The hounds have thrown four interceptions all year, yet forced opponents to throw 15 interceptions this year.

Penn has thrown one interception and forced 15, both secondaries are phenomenal. Whoever can step up and force more turnovers will win this game.

Can Carmel get their first win at Lucas Oil Stadium? Can Penn get their first championship since 2000?

We'll have to wait and see under the big lights Saturday night.