Juan Sepulveda has big day in East Chicago’s win over Griffith
By Ryan Haskell Post-Tribune correspondent November 1, 2013 11:10PM
Updated: December 3, 2013 6:12AM
EAST CHICAGO — Turning 18 gives you the right to vote and buy lottery tickets in the United States.
Scoring two touchdowns on your 18th birthday is more fun than either of those two things.
Doing it in the sectional semifinals is even better.
That’s what East Chicago senior Juan Sepulveda experienced on Friday night when the 6-foot, 180-pound running back scampered 42 yards for a TD run in the second quarter, giving his team a 13-point lead. He added a 49-yard TD just one minute into the third quarter extending that lead to 20 points.
The Cardinals went on to down Griffith 51-19 in the Class 4A Sectional 17 semifinal, advancing to their first sectional championship game in 14 years. East Chicago has never won a sectional title.
It was the Cardinals’ second straight win over Griffith after 11 straight losses dating back to 1998.
Sepulveda, who used to play at Gavit before transferring to EC during the fall last season, finished with six carries for 122 yards.
“This is great,” he said. “I was getting the ball and doing well because of the type of defense (Griffith) played against us. made my play able to run. This is something special to me because I’ll be remembered doing something I love to do. “
The Cardinals (9-2) got on the board first thanks to a 13-yard TD reception to Deontae Rush from senior QB Carlos Hernandez.
Rush then recovered a fumble on Griffith’s next possession on the 19-yard line and Tre’Quan Burnett capitalized with a 24-yard TD pass from Fernandez.
Griffith made it interesting with a 62-yard TD pass from Kyle Buikema to Matt Colomes cutting the lead in half to 14-7.
But Sepuveda’s back-to-back TD runs set the Panthers back quite a bit especially since they mustered 16 yards rushing in the first half and 45 in the second half.
The Panthers (3-8) were averaging 255.6 yards a game on the ground coming into this contest.
“The guys did well offensively and defensively,” EC coach Stacy Adams said. “We had a bunch of different guys step up today; our defense played outstanding versus their option offense. I’m very thrilled with the effort.”
Martayveus Carter scored on a 4-yard TD run in the third quarter and a 32-yard interception return with 4:22 left in the fourth quarter, while Anthony Hunt wedged in a 19-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.