ARCADIA — As much as the Week 5 loss to Maconaquah took the winds out of the sails of Western’s football team at the time, the Panthers knew they still controlled their own destiny in their quest to win a Mid-Indiana Conference football championship.
Western redeemed itself in a big way Friday night.
The Panthers dominated the line of scrimmage and time of possession, pounding 3A No. 4-ranked Hamilton Heights 35-14 to spoil the MIC-leading Huskies’ senior night and create a two-way tie atop the league standings with one week left in the regular season. A Western win over Cass next week will ensure the Panthers at least a share of the conference title.
“Maconaquah — we didn’t show it,” Western coach Nate Andrews said. “It’s all about preparation. Hopefully, we learned a little bit of a lesson. I think we’ve been building a little bit since then. It’s not like we were lights out the next week. Last week we were a little better, and this week we were pretty sharp. Hopefully we can continue to do that. We have to do that next week against Cass as they continue to be Cass, especially at the end of the season.”
Western (7-1, 5-1) was a well-oiled machine offensively, finishing the night with 337 rushing yards on 71 carries, only being dropped for a loss on two of its 76 offensive plays. Four of its five scoring drives lasted over five minutes.
“The execution of our offensive line was excellent,” Andrews said. “We have a senior-laden offensive line. They’ve been doing it all year with cohesion and working together. They don’t get enough credit. Guys like Brett Boswell, Dante Graham, Sydnee Allen, Logan Shepherd, David Grimme and our tight ends Kyler Vail and Skylar Braden. Those kids plug away and do a great job.”