Oh what a night

Giants pull out another improbable win to advance to state

Just how bleak did it look?

Ben Davis trailed 45-28 with 4:43 left in the third quarter and Center Grove was driving for another touchdown. Two interceptions by senior Jailyn Harden, a huge fourth down stop and a 74-yard touchdown run later, the Giants were back in the state finals for the first time since 2002.

“These guys have the heart of champions,” veteran coach Mike Kirschner told an adoring pep rally crowd in the gymnasium some 25 minutes after the game ended.

And what a game it was.

The Giants could not stop Center Grove’s run game in the first half and yielded 197 yards to Center grove’s Max Norris before Norris pulled up with a pulled hamstring on what looked to be a 91-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. The Trojans ran out to a 31-21 halftime lead and scored on the final drive of the half when they went kicked a 33-yard field goal with :56 left in the half.

Ben Davis scored on the first drive of the second to pull within 31-28 on an nine yard towchdown pass from senior Kyle castner to ssenior Brennan Gillis.

The visitors then took control of the game and went up 45-28 on two long scoring drives, the second ending with a 51 yard touchdown run by Calvin Daggett.

Enter the “Never Say It’s Over” Giants.

“Who of you at that point thought the game was over?” Kirschner asked the pep rally crowd. Hardly anyone said a word. “Well, we didn’t.”

The Giants made it 45-35 just before the third quarter ended on a 21 yard pass from Castner to Stori Emerson. Ben Davis then closed it to 45-42 on a 31 yard touchdown pass from Castner to Trew Smith with 7:00 left.


Center Grove then went back to work on the ground and went on a time-consuming drive. The Giants held on a crucial fourth-and-one with a little over three minutes remaining.

Three plays later Evans took a handoff by Castner, went right, found the sidelines and went untouched for 74 yards.

That play sent the crowd into a frenzy and sent the No. 4 ranked Giants to a Nov. 28 Class 6A state final matchup against undefeated and No. 1 ranked Carmel.