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Warren Central, making its first appearance in the state finals since back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985, dominated in nearly every way possible as the Warriors defeated Penn, 57-7, for the big school state championship at the RCA Dome.
The Warriors racked up an
impressive 460 yards of offense in the first half alone on their way to a 50-0
halftime lead. Amazingly, they only had the ball in their possession for of the first 24 minutes of play.
Penn’s defense was unable to solve Desmond Tardy in the first half as the Warren Central quarterback ran wild, scoring four touchdowns on 11 carries and 287 yards. He scored on runs of 70, 62, 47 and 13 yards in the first half and finished the game with a state finals record 317 yards despite being replaced for the fourth quarter. He would finish with one overall state championship game record and four Class 5A records. Running back Mark Bonds scored three times on the ground as well in the opening half on runs of 34, 9 and 35, the last of which came just :20 before halftime. Bonds finished with 180 yards on 11 carries. The Warriors also recorded a safety as the snap to the punter went through the back of the endzone.
Aaron Lacey scored the other
It was the 13th win of the year for fourth year coach Kevin Wright’s crew against two defeats. Wright also follows in his father’s footsteps as a state championship coach, the first person to do so. Larry “Bud” Wright coached the Sheridan Blackhawks to six Class A state titles, the most recent in 1998.
Under first year coach Cory Yeoman, Penn finished 13-2 and finished as the state runner-up for the fourth time in nine championship game appearances.
Penn’s Wade Iams Named Eskew Mental Attitude Award Winner
Wade Iams of Class 5A state runner-up
At the conclusion of each state championship game, the IHSAA Executive Committee presents the award to an outstanding senior participant in the football state tournament. The recipient of the award, who was nominated by his principal and coach, must excel in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability. The award is named in honor of the third commissioner of the IHSAA who served from 1962 to 1976 and oversaw the beginning of the state football tournament.
In his 3rd year as starting quarterback for the Kingsmen, he has received numerous awards, including Kiwanis Athlete of the Month, All-Northern Indiana Conference, All-Area and Dream Team Quarterback. He is also a member of the school baseball team.
Scholastically, Wade ranks 12th in his class of 631 with a GPA of 3.97 while taking many Honors and AP classes. He is a member of the National Honor Society. Undecided as to his college choice, he hopes to study Medicine or Engineering.
His volunteer work includes involvement with Big Brother and Big Sisters, an aide at the children’s summer camp and he has served as a reader at Sacred Heart Parish.
Wade is the son
of Tracey and George Iams of
Insurance, the IHSAA corporate partner, presented a $1,000.00 scholarship to
Like Father, Like Son
Kevin Wright, the Warren
Central coach, becomes the first person to follows in his father’s footsteps
and win a state championship.
State Championship Records
Most Points: (Set 5A) 57 by Warren Central.
Most Combined Points: (Set 5A) 64 by both teams.
Most Points In A Quarter: (Set 5A) 30 by Warren Central (2nd Quarter).
Most Points In A Half: (Set Overall and 5A) 50 by Warren Central (1st Half).
Largest Margin of Victory: (Set 5A) 50 points by Warren Central.
Most Touchdowns: (Set 5A) 8 by Warren Central.
Most PAT Kicks: (Tied 5A) 5 by Warren Central.
Most Rushing Yards: (Set Overall and 5A) 575 by Warren Central.
Most Rushing Touchdowns: (Set Overall and 5A) 8 by Warren Central.
Fewest Pass Attempts: (Set 5A) 1 by Warren Central.
Fewest Pass Completions (Tied Overall and Set 5A) 0 by Warren Central.
Fewest Passing Yards Allowed
(Tied Overall and Set 5A) 0 by
Total Offensive Yards: (Set Overall and 5A) 575 by Warren Central.
Most First Downs By Rushing: (Set 5A) 19 by Warren Central.
Most Points: (Set 5A) 26 by Desmond Tardy, Warren Central.
Most Touchdowns: (Set 5A) 4 by Desmond Tardy, Warren Central.
Most Rushing Yards: (Set Overall and 5A) 317 by Desmond Tardy, Warren Central.
Most Rushing Touchdowns: (Set 5A) 4 by Desmond Tardy, Warren Central.
New IHSAA Book, Play On,
Recaps 100 Years Of High School Sports in
holiday gift ideas? The exciting new book, Play On, celebrating 100 years of
high school sports in
Team Posters And Individual Action Photographs Available
Visit 20-20 Photographic, the IHSAA’s photographer and the
For t-shirts and other merchandise commemorating this year’s tournament or for any of our events, visit our friends at Morris, Inc.
State Finals Programs Available
Couldn’t be there for the
football state finals? You can still purchase a copy of the official state
finals program while supplies last! Programs are $3.00 if you purchase in
person at the IHSAA Office (
Warren Central Coach Kevin Wright
“The kids up front (linemen) did a great job today. Desmond (Tardy) is a great runner but he’s had a lot of help this season. I felt that our offense could create some problems for Penn’s defense. Penn has a great tradition and we knew we had to overcome that. We played exceptionally well in all three phases of the game. Everyone is talking about all of the offensive records we set but I think our defense was equally as great.”
“We didn’t turn the ball over today and I thought we executed very well on offense.”
“A lot of people thought this team was down and out late in the regular season but it continued to get better each week of the state tournament. My goal every year has been to win a state championship and this is truly a dream come true. This is why you coach.”
Warren Central Quarterback Desmond Tardy
“I never imagined that this (winning) could happen. Coach Wright told me that if I had a big game we’d get a big win. That’s basically what happened. There was a lot of pressure on me coming into this game. But I think I handled it well. Our linemen really helped me read the defenses they were throwing at us. I was able to hit a lot of the gaps that led to some big games. We had a great game plan going in and we knew what Penn was going to throw at us defensively. I couldn’t ask for ask for a better way to end my high school career.”
Penn Coach Cory Yeoman
(On Warren Central’s quick scores) “They exploded. We’ve been doing that to other people all year long and it happened to us tonight.”
“They had a heckuva fast start and their athletic ability really showed through tonight. They have so many weapons with so many different people. (Desmond) Tardy really hurt us.”
“We got messed up on our option responsibility. It was not so much that we got messed up, however. It was just great athletes making great plays. They executed very well. Tardy really got to us, but they really played tough defense, too.”
“Our kids played hard the second half like I knew they would. But Warren Central deserves to be the 5A state champions.”
(On Mental Attitude Award winner Wade Iams) “He’s an outstanding young man with a huge heart. He’s been a three-year starter for us. What he has done for this team is unbelieveable.”