Nov. 28, 2014

New Palestine unleashes offense in Class 4A win over New Prairie
Big-play, high-octane offense? The New Palestine Dragons, the state's top-scoring team, embodied the term as they marched to the Class 4A state championship.

Less than 15 minutes into the game, New Palestine had scored 35 points, needing a total of only 14 plays on its five touchdown drives. That provided a window to what would come. The relentless Dragons went on to capture a record-setting 77-42 victory over the New Prairie Cougars and finish an undefeated season.

New Palestine's scoring total set a new standard for all classes in the state finals. The Dragons averaged 61.5 points in six tournament games. In the Class 4A final, the game's combined scoring (119) also stood as a new record.

New Palestine's James Young totaled a Class 4A-record 282 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 17 attempts. In New Palestine's fast and furious start, Young bolted to a 98-yard touchdown run, setting a record for all classes in championship game play. Quarterback Alex Neligh ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns in 14 attempts. 

Neligh also passed for 211 yards and five touchdowns, breaking the 4A pass-scoring mark and tying it for all classes. Duke Blackwell caught five passes for  130 yards and three scores. The Dragons totaled 462 yards against New Prairie, breaking that mark for all classes.

Coach Kyle Ralph's Dragons, ranked second in the Associated Press poll, finished 15-0 in winning their first football championship. Their record the last two seasons is 28-1.

Coach Russ Radtke's Cougars, ranked eighth in the AP poll, completed their season at 13-2. Radtke became the first coach to lead three different schools to a football state title game. He also coached North Judson-San Pierre and Griffith to the final game.

New Prairie's Tyler Weller rushed for 179 yards and four touchdowns on 27 attempts. The Cougars totaled 321 rushing yards and 389 total yards.

New Prairie’s David Walbring named Eskew Mental Attitude Award winner
At the conclusion of the championship game, the IHSAA Executive Committee named David Walbring of New Prairie High School as the winner of the Class 4A Mental Attitude Award.

David also participates in basketball and track and ranks second in his class of 232 seniors, the largest senior class in the history of New Prairie. He is an active participant in his high school band and serves as a proud member of the National Honor Society.

He is the son of Andrew and Jodi Walbring of New Carlisle, Ind. and plans to major in Naval Engineering at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Each year the IHSAA Executive Committee selects a senior player who was nominated by his principal and coach and was determined to have best demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability. The award, named in honor of the IHSAA’s third commissioner from 1962-76.

The Indianapolis Colts presented a $1,000 scholarship to New Prairie High School in the name of David Walbring. The Colts have been the presenting sponsor of the entire football state tournament since 2009 and are sponsoring the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award for the first year.

Class 4A State Championship Game Records

Team Records
Most Points:  77 by New Palestine
Most Combined Points:  119 New Palestine vs. New Prairie
Most Points in a Half:  49 (1st half) by New Palestine
Most Touchdowns:  11 by New Palestine
Most PAT Kicks:  11 by New Palestine
Most Rushing Yards:  462 by New Palestine
Most Rushing Touchdowns:  6 by New Palestine AND New Prairie
Most Passing Touchdowns:  5 by New Palestine
Total Offensive Yards:  673 by New Palestine
Total Offensive Yards by Both Teams:  1,062 by New Palestine vs. New Prairie
Most Kickoff Return Yards:  234 by New Prairie

Tied Team Records
Most Points in a Quarter:  28 by New Palestine

Individual Records
Most PAT Kicks:  11 by Kyle Barton, New Palestine
Most Rushing Yards:  282 by James Young, New Palestine
Longest Touchdown Run:  98 by James Young, New Palestine
Most Touchdowns Passing:  5 by Alex Neligh, New Palestine
Longest Interception Return:  79 by Tyler Weller, New Prairie
Longest Play from Scrimmage:  98 by James Young, New Palestine

Tied Individual Records
Most Points:  24 by Tyler Weller, New Prairie
Most Touchdowns:  4 by Tyler Weller, New Prairie
Most Touchdown Receptions:  3 by Duke Blackwell, New Palestine