RUSSIAVILLE — In a matchup of two ball-control, ground-and-pound offenses, Western was able to finish its key drive of the second half while Cass was not.
The Panthers secured a share of the Mid-Indiana Conference title with a 23-8 win over the Kings on Friday night.
“They’re a tough team, they always are,” said Western senior quarterback Drew Bellus, who led the Panthers with 81 yards rushing and a touchdown and also added a pass for a score. “Our O-line, everybody else, just stepped up and really did their jobs. We stayed tough through the whole game, and that was really the key, staying tough and being tougher than them.”
The Panthers (8-1, 6-1 MIC) share the league title with Hamilton Heights, which knocked off Peru Friday night. Western last won a share of the league title in 2011.
“It’s always great to win the MIC. It always great to beat everyone in the county and it just feels good to be the best team in the area,” Bellus said.
The Kings (5-4, 4-3) had to settle for a tie for third place with Maconaquah.
The Kings trailed the Panthers 16-8 at the half but opened the half with a time-consuming drive that took over nine minutes off the clock. They got as close as first-and-10 from the 13-yard line and on a third-and-16 play,
Owen Ohman hit Payton Young with a pass that appeared to be good for a first down near the goal line. But the play was called back by a holding penalty and eventually the Kings were forced to punt after a Quentin Fields sack.
“That happens. There’s no argument there. You don’t really see it all the time,” Cass coach Scott Mannering said. “That hurt. That hurt bad. We don’t get a score there and they were able to drive the field and get one in.”