Nov. 28, 2014

Ben Davis stuns No. 1-ranked Carmel in Class 6A
When the Ben Davis Giants fell behind by 17 points early in the second quarter, they didn't panic. They persevered. And they started chipping away.

The Giants scored 42 consecutive points and pulled out a 42-24 victory over the top-ranked Carmel Greyhounds in the Class 6A state championship game. Ben Davis, making its 10th appearance in a football championship game and the first in 12 years, collected its eighth title.  The Giants became the seventh school with as many crowns.

Coach Mike Kirschner's Giants, ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll, finished with a 12-2 record. The Giants captured the state championship on the strength of victories over four consecutive top-10 teams to end the year.

One of the night's biggest plays for Ben Davis came with 5:38 left in the game. The Giants lined up as if to attempt a field goal. Instead, holder Kyle Castner took the snap, turned and headed for the right corner of the end zone, scoring a 3-yard touchdown that put Ben Davis ahead by 18.

On the Giants' first two touchdowns of the second half, they capitalized on a fumble recovery and a pass interception. The two takeaways set them up in Carmel territory, leading to scoring drives of 26 and 38 yards.

Castner, also the Giants' quarterback, passed for 136 yards and two scores on 18-of-30. Running back Chris Evans rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Coach Kevin Wright's Carmel team completed its season 13-1. Carmel, also the runner-up in last year's tournament, was seeking its second state title in four years and eighth overall.

For Carmel, Shakir Paschall rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts. Chris Perkins rushed for 64 yards and a pair of scores on 13 carries.

Carmel’s Nate Thompson named Eskew Mental Attitude Award winner
At the conclusion of the state championship game, the IHSAA Executive Committee named Nate Thompson of Carmel High School as the winner of the Class 6A Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award.

Nate not only excels on the field, he excels in the classroom where he has achieved a 4.21 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He has contributed to the IHSAA Champions Together initiative and helped oversee a new Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Carmel High School.  Nate is also active in his church where he leads a small group of 6th grade boys.

He is the son of Lawrence and Karleesha Thompson of Carmel, Ind. and plans to major in International Relations at Wheaton College, where he is interested in playing football as well.

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 Carmel High School in the name of Nate Thompson. 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.