Are you ready for a state championship?

It is Ben Davis vs. Carmel, Round Two, for the Class 6A state title


Twelve years ago, the Ben Davis Giants defeated Fort Wayne Snider for the Class 5A state championship. Current Ben Davis students were small children at the time. Since then, for a grueling 12 years, Ben Davis has been unable to claim another spot in that final championship game.

Until now.

The Giants will face the Carmel Greyhounds in the Class 6A state championship Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Carmel is ranked number one in the state, and has put up an unbeaten 13-0 record this season.

One of those 13 victories was against our own Giants earlier this year, winning 37-14. They ran for 463 yards, rarely needing to pass on what was a cold and rainy night. While it was easily the Giants’ worst loss of the season, head coach Mike Kirschner believes there’s something to take out of it.

“You look at what they tried to do scheme-wise the first time, versus what they’ve been doing since and try to compare and get a feel for what it is they actually want or don’t want to do to us, based on what our scheme is,” Kirschner said as he talked to the media on Monday.

As far as their rushing attack goes, Kirschner knows where the Giants need to improve.

“One, we have to tackle better. We felt like we didn’t tackle very well (in the first game). Two, we’ve had to make some personnel adjustments. And three, our scheme has gotta put our kids in a better position to make those tackles,” Kirschner said.

On the opposite side, while the Greyhounds fared well in the first matchup, they aren’t taking the Giants lightly. One game made no difference to what has been a rivalry the past few years.

“If you ask our kids, they’ll tell you they’ve been playing since youth league, our seniors will tell you that Ben Davis beat them as freshmen; they still remember that,” Carmel head coach Kevin Wright said.

“It’s one of those things where the first game means very little. It was two months ago, and both teams have evolved,” Wright said.

Since that game, Ben Davis and Carmel have made quite the case for themselves to be here in the finals. Ben Davis fought off a pesky MIC-filled playoff bracket, defeating Center Grove in semi-state, while Carmel defeated a then number-two ranked Penn team in their semi-state.

The championship will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium, so there will be no weather conditions, unlike the first meeting. Quarterback Kyle Castner will have the green light to throw, but our rushing game has also been formidable as of late, with the explosive talent of Chris Evans and the return of Dorian Tate. The balance of offense will be key.

“We’re gonna spread it out, and we’re gonna mix it up,” Kirschner said. “A little bit will be dictated on what they do. Are they gonna change their scheme to take away something we’re trying to do? And if they are, will we go to something else? We’ve gotta look at the whole scheme thing as the game progresses.”

Kevin Wright knows that defending that offense will be tough, but he feels his own offense can help with the cause.

“The biggest thing that you can do against their offense is to keep the ball in your own hands, and don’t give it to them. If we can control the ball with our running game, I think that’s a huge benefit for us. Sometimes your best defense is a good offense,” Wright said.

Win or lose, it’ll be a fight for your Giants. If this year has been any indication, we probably have another nail biter on our hands. The team has worked extremely hard all year, putting everything into this final goal. They’ll leave everything on the field Friday night.

It’s been a long twelve years. It’s great to be back.



-This is Ben Davis’ tenth state championship game. In the previous nine, their record is 7-2.

-Carmel is playing in their 13th state championship game. In the previous 12, their record is 7-5.

-Ben Davis has never before played a 6A state championship game, as until last season there had only been five classes.

-Head coach Mike Kirschner would be only the second head coach to win a football state championship for the Giants. Dick Dullaghan won all seven of our previous titles.

-This is the first meeting between Carmel and Ben Davis in a state championship.

-In a record-breaking season all across the board, perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: the previous record for receptions in a season was 47, set by Caleb Cornett. Four Giants have already broken that record this year. If Rashawn Bond gets three receptions Friday night (he’s currently at 45 receptions), then the top five reception leaders in a season in the history of BD football will have come entirely from this year’s receivers.

-Our all-time record against Carmel is 19-18.