Lenahan scored again on a 56-yard TD two possessions later. That run came on a fourth-and one situation where again he punched through the line and found open space as soon as he was through the scrum. Western led 41-21 at that point with 3:50 left in the game and the Panthers were in position to seal the game.
“It was tough sledding, though,” Andrews said of Western’s ground game. “They’ve got some big boys in the middle, and it’s tough when [the running game] is our offense too. But [assistant] coach [Marvin] Boswell did a good job sticking with the plan and finding a couple soft spots late.”
Lenahan ran for 219 yards on 23 carries. Bellus added 82 yards and three TDs, and Min Park ran for 51 yards and another score as Western amassed 355 yards on the ground.
“We knew coming in that they’re a fantastic team at running the football,” Mississinewa coach Curt Funk said. “They get three, four yards a pop and then you try to make adjustments to stop that and if they hit a crease on you, it’s gone, and they did that a couple times.”
Mississinewa back Dailey ran 19 times for 181 yards and two scores, and quarterback Hontz McCarty connected on seven of 15 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The Indians showed big-play capability with speed in the backfield and at receiver, but Western came up with big plays on some of McCarty’s eight incompletions.
Late in the first half, Mississinewa turned the ball over on downs when McCarty couldn’t connect with a receiver on fourth down at the Western 35, and in the second half with Western leading 35-21, Western forced a punt when a deep ball by McCarty was well defensed for an incomplete pass on third down. Western also got its hands on three more passes that fell incomplete.