SHARPSVILLE — Records fell. History was rewritten. And it all happened in front of a nearly packed house Friday night.
Garrett Kelley broke the school’s single-season rushing record as No. 8-ranked Tri-Central blanked Hoosier Heartland Conference rival Clinton Prairie 32-0 in the Class A Sectional 44 final as the Trojans claimed the program’s second overall sectional title and first since 1991.
The 11th straight win earned Tri-Central (11-1) a trip to South Adams (5-7) for a regional game next Friday. South Adams beat Southwood 40-39 in OT Friday.
“We’ve got 11 seniors on this team who grew up wanting this,” Kelley said. “This is huge. When we were young, Tri-Central wasn’t very good. To get to this point is crazy. Our community has been so strong behind us. It feels great to get this win.”
Kelley finished the game with 156 yards on 16 carries, averaging nearly 10 yards per tote. He finished the game with 1,526 yards for the season, passing the single-season record of 1,502 set by Austin Horn in 2012.
“Everybody thought we’d come back with no running backs this year,” TC coach George Gilbert said. “He’s a fast kid and when he gets loose, he’s off to the races.
“I’m just really pleased with where we’re at right now,” Gilbert continued. “Our crowd is just incredible. It’s great high school football at a small school.”
Kelley also had two scores on the night. The first was a game-changer that brought the fans to a roar.
The Trojans were nursing a 12-0 lead when they sacked Prairie quarterback Kale Morris for a 10-yard loss on 3rd and 10, forcing the Gophers to punt. TC took over on its own 44 and on the first play of the drive, Kelley broke loose for a 56-yard TD run, putting the Trojans up 18-0 with 6:27 to play in the half.