SPENCER -- It may have been Owen Valley's homecoming, but the night was all about Greencastle's domination on both sides of the ball.
The Tiger Cubs (7-2) went into Owen Valley Friday night and took over the game on offense and defense, riding a 28-point first half to a 48-0 shutout of the Patriots.
Greencastle ran just 11 offensive plays in the first half, but it scored twice on two huge runs from Derrick Lenihan, who had 211 yards for the night. Lenihan ran the ball 60 yards for his first score, breaking a few tackles before sneaking through the second level of defenders and running virtually untouched the rest of the way.
In the second quarter, a counter run fooled the defense into going left, but Lenihan juked right and found the promised land 82 yards later with 4:54 left in the second quarter.
"We ran the ball extremely well," said Greencastle coach John Perkins. "We came in, Coach David Stevens called the offense as well as he could."
Greencastle's first score came from the defense. Both teams went three-and-out for their first drives, but on the Patriot's next drive, Mac Shuee jumped a short route to pick off a pass in traffic and then ran it back 45 yards.
After Lenihan's first touchdown score, the Patriots tried to pound the ball across the field with running back Drew Bradley, calling six straight running plays, and seven total in the eight play drive. But the final play led to another interception and Hunter Smith made Owen Valley pay for it with a 45-yard touchdown run.
Owen Valley tried to regain momentum before the half ended and the defense showed some cracks. Owen Valley converted two fourth downs on the 11-play drive, bringing the ball to the Greencastle four-yard line. But the Greencastle defensive line broke through and sack-fumbled the Owen Valley quarterback during a handoff, with the fumble recovered by Nate Christy. Greencastle downed the ball with less than 30 seconds left to end the half at 28-0.
The second half saw a change of game plan for Perkins and the Tiger Cubs as they switched to a more aerial offense. Quarterback Nick Gilliam, who was only 1-for-3 in the first half off a 5-yard reception, got a lot more work, ending the night 7-for-14 with 100 yards and one touchdown. Gilliam had to deal with a few high snaps however. With Greencastle four yards from paydirt, Gilliam had to leap in the air as Ryan Battin motioned across the field. Gilliam came down to earth just in time to hand the ball off to Battin for a sweep run that found the endzone, making the score 35-0.
Owen Valley went three-and-out on its next drive, and Greencastle turned in a 11-play drive before Gilliam found Chad Keyt in the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown score. The Tiger Cubs missed the extra point attempt, but the starting lineup was taken out afterward to give the players a rest before sectionals and give the bench playing time.
"There's a lot of guys that we want to get in," Perkins said. "We do have a little bit of injuries, that's one thing, but we have a really deep bench."
Backup quarterback Mike Muncie ran the ball five yards for the final score for the Tiger Cubs with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter.
The Greencastle defense continued to stop Owen Valley at every opportunity. Most opposing drives were stopped after three plays. Those that weren't were stopped eventually through turnovers, either by the two interceptions or two fumble recoveries, or good pass coverage. Owen Valley came close to scoring a second time after a long 13-play drive that took most of the remaining time off the clock. A final incompletion in the endzone with less than three minutes remaining on fourth down sealed the Patriots' fate and allowed Greencastle to preserve the shutout.
The team is now gearing up to play its first sectional game next week at home against Class 3A No. 2 ranked defending state champion Indianapolis Bishop Chatard. With head coach Josh Buis returning to the sideline, the team said it is ready to play and beat Bishop Chatard at home. But even without Buis today, Perkins said his team played "business as usual."
"Our kids performed very well," Perkins said. "I think we're ready for next week."
Greencastle will play at home against Indianapolis Bishop Chatard on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.
At Owen Valley
Greencastle 14 14 13 7 -- 48
Owen Valley 0 0 0 0 -- 0
GHS -- Shuee 45-yd. interception for touchdown (Stuckwisch kick) 5:57
GHS -- Lenihan 60-yd. run (Stuckwisch kick) 3:37
GHS -- Smith 45-yd. interception for touchdown (Stuckwisch kick) 7:44
GHS -- Lenihan 82-yd. run (Stuckwisch kick) 4:59
GHS -- Battin 4-yd. run (Stuckwisch kick) 7:57
GHS -- Hutcheson 12-yd pass (Stuckwisch kick failed) 1:55
GHS -- Muncie 5-yd. run (Stuckwisch kick) 8:29
Rushing -- Lenihan 14-211 2TDs
Passing -- Gilliam 7-14-1 100 yds.
Receiving -- Hutcheson 4-55 TD, Lenihan 1-26, Battin 1-11, Stuckwisch 1-8, Christy 1-21