WEST TERRE HAUTE -- The most important thing for the Greencastle Tiger Cubs on Friday night was the win, not the 35-0 final score over the West Vigo Vikings.
For this is tournament play and the 10th victory of an unblemished season sends the Tiger Cubs into the second week of Class 3A Sectional 21 play against the Tri-West Bruins.
The No. 4-ranked Tiger Cubs continued to win with a dominating defense and an offense that took what the young Vikings gave up.
While earning its eighth shutout of the season, Greencastle's defense held the Vikings to just 74 yards of total offense.
All night long Dustin Williams, Caleb Robinson and Alec Pettit chased, harassed pressured and sacked West Vigo quarterbacks and Tyler Scott intercepted two passes.
Greencastle's special teams got into the mix too. Twice Williams appeared to get a hand on West Vigo punts. In the third quarter, with the Vikings punting from their own end zone, Thomas Bollman blocked the kick and Williams recovered it for a touchdown and 28-0 Tiger Cubs lead.
But this was a much improved West Vigo team from the one Greencastle beat 44-0 the second week of the season. The Vikings held the Tiger Cubs to just 61 rushing yards and through three quarters that figure was 28 yards.
"They went 6-1 since we played them the second week of the season. We played a conference championship team tonight and they are much improved. Watch out for them, they are going to be pretty darn good next year," Greencastle coach Josh Buis said.
West Vigo did what others may try further down the tournament road.
"You have to throw the ball against them. (The Vikings) have everybody and their brother in the box. Its cover (defense) zero every single snap. There are eight or nine guys in the box, based on what formation you have. You got to take what they give you," Buis said.
"We're fortunate enough to have a quarterback who can complete some balls. The offensive line did a good job against the blitz tonight, to give him time to do that."
Quarterback Nick Gilliam completed 16-of-29 passes for 211 yards, including touchdown passes to Nate Christy and Tanner Nicholson. Gilliam also ran for two touchdowns.
"When you play a team that is (in) cover zero (defense) every single snap you have to throw the ball. There is nowhere to run," Buis said,
Greencastle never trailed, marching 39 yards on 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead six minutes into the rematch. Gilliam scored on a quarterback sneak.
But because West Vigo stacked the line of scrimmage, Greencastle could not run away with the game. Gilliam found a wide open Tanner Nicholson for a seven-yard touchdown with 6:42 left in the second quarter.
The Tiger Cubs led 14-0 at halftime.
"I came in at halftime and lit a first underneath them. I thought West Vigo won that first half. I thought West Vigo outplayed us," Buis said.
Greencastle put the ball in the aired early and often in the second half. On the second play, Christy took a short pass from Gilliam and sprinted away for a 51-yard touchdown. Sedrick Weinschenk's point-after-kick gave the Tiger Cubs a 21-0 lead.
West Vigo's defense made a goal-line stand from the one-yard and Greencastle turned the ball over on downs. Three plays later Bollman blocked the Vikings' punt and Williams recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown and 28-0 Greencastle lead.
Gilliam scored the final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
At West Vigo
Class 3A Sectional No. 21
Greencastle 7 7 14 7 -- 35
West Vigo 0 0 0 0 -- 0
G -- Nick Gilliam 1 run (Sedrick Weinschenk kick) 7-0, 6:00.
G -- Tanner Nicholson 7 pass from Gilliam (Weinschenk kick) 14-0, 6:42.
G -- Nate Christy 51 pass from Gilliam (Weinschenk kick) 21-0, 11:18.
G -- Dustin Williams recover blocked punt (Weinschenk kick) 28-0, 4:35.
G -- Gilliam 1 run (Weinschenk kick) 35-0, 3:03.
First downs 16 4
Rushes-yards 25-61 32-38
Passing yards 211 36
Comp-Att-Int 16-29-1 2-12-2
Total offense 54-272 44-74
Return yards 21 16
Punts-Avg. 3-29.3 7-23.4
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 6-55.5
Rushing -- Greencastle: Gilliam 7-30, Pettit 9-27, Shuee 1-5, Christy 1-(-1). West Vigo: Maples 13-16, Short 8-16, D. Creasey 7-10, Warnock 1-6, Bowden 1-(-4), J. Creasey 2-(-6).
Passing -- Greencastle: Gilliam 16-29-1--211. West Vigo: Maples 2-12-2--36.
Receiving -- Greencastle: Christy 5-78, Robinson 3-45, Brown 3-31, Nicholson 3-27, Pettit 1-18, Shuee 1-12. West Vigo: Neidlinger 1-24, Short 1-2.
Next game -- Next Friday, Greencastle (10-0) will play the winner of the Indianapolis Arlington at Tri-West. West Vigo finished the season 6-4.