TIPTON — Senior Mitch Witteveen’s 67-yard punt return with 1:06 remaining in the game lifted Class 2A No. 3-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic to a 14-7 Hoosier Conference victory over Tipton on Friday night.
Central Catholic coach Kevin O’Shea said it was the first time in his 21-year coaching career that he’s won a game on a punt return late in the fourth quarter.
“We were trying to set up a wall that we thought we had set up a couple of times before that and never got to it,” O’Shea said. “This time our special teams coordinator Jim Schrader made sure we got to it and Mitch did a great job of getting the wall, our kids did a nice job of sealing things off and Mitch was an athlete. We spent enough time shooting ourselves in the foot as we got down toward the red zone anyway I told Mitch ‘thanks for bailing us out.’”
The Knights improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the conference, keeping their drive for a repeat HC title alive. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, fell to 1-3 in the conference and 3-3 overall.
“I felt our kids battled [Friday],” Tipton coach Aaron Tolle said. “We played well defensively; we gave up about three plays all night defensively. Offense was better, we made some plays, we extended some plays but they just made two or three more plays than we did.”
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first half. The Blue Devil defense came up with a pair of big fourth down stops.
Central Catholic was the first to reach the end zone scoring on a 13-yard middle screen pass from Ty Preston to Joe Smith. Sam Milazzo’s PAT put the Knights up 7-0 with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter. The TD pass capped off a 3-play, 42-yard drive that was set up by Jackson Anthrop’s 22-yard punt return and aided by a defensive pass interference penalty against Tipton.