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Tipton avenges loss, ends Rensselaer’s run

Rensselear's Avery Walker (left) consoles teamate Noah Ahler after being defeated by Tiptduring class 2A football semistate game held TiptHigh

Rensselear's Avery Walker (left) consoles teamate Noah Ahler after being defeated by Tipton during the class 2A football semistate game held at Tipton High School, in Tipton on Friday November 22, 2013. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 24, 2013 6:15AM



TIPTON — Rensselaer didn’t take advantage of an early opportunity and Tipton quarterback Austin Hooker didn’t let the Bombers have many more.

Tipton reversed its regular season loss against the Bombers, winning the Class 2A North Semistate, 27-0, on Friday. The Blue Devils will meet Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter in the state championship game on Friday.

Rensselaer recovered a fumbled punt early in the first quarter at the Blue Devils’ 30-yard line, but punted again three players later.

“We needed to capitalize right there and put pressure on them,” Rensselaer coach Chris Meeks said. “All night long we didn’t put pressure on them at all.”

Hooker rushed for a scoring touchdown in each quarter, on runs of 1, 2, 6 and 11 yards. He was also 8 of 15 passing for 161 yards.

“He’s a fullback that can throw the ball 60 yards,” Meeks said. “He’s a phenomenal quarterback which is tough to defend.”

Rensselaer junior quarterback Dyland Wright didn’t have similar success, completing just 2 of 23 passes with two interceptions.

The Bombers rushed 32 times for 202 yards, but couldn’t sustain many drives, with 12 first downs in the game.

“We’d get some running plays going and then we had to his some play-action passes but we just couldn’t hit any passes,” Meeks said.

Tipton coach Aaron Tolle was surprised to hear Wright was just 2 of 23 passing, especially when evaluating the play of his defensive line.

“We did not get great pressure tonight and he had a lot of time to throw back there,” Tolle said. “We covered really, really well.”

Meeks did not place all the blame for the passing game’s inefficiency on Wright.

“We had open passes, but a lot of drops,” Meeks said. “Offensively we didn’t make the plays we needed to make.”

After Tipton went ahead, 14-0, in the second quarter, Rensselaer responded with a 11-play drive that reached the Blue Devils’ 12-yard line, but Luke Robertson’s 42-yard field goal attempt was short with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.

Tipton then received the second half kick off, but Rensselaer held after allowing a first down. The Bombers rushed three times for a first down, before three straight incompletions stalled the drive.

Hooker then led an eight-play drive that resulted in his third rushing touchdown of the game and a 21-0 lead.

“I said all year long he’s the heart and soul of this football team,” Tolle said of Hooker. “I’ve coached a lot of great players and great kids, but I’ve never had one that can turn it on like him.”

The larger Tipton’s lead became on Friday the more narrowed Rensselaer’s play book became.

“When you get ahead 14-0 you can’t use wishbone and the phone booth (formations) when coming from behind,” Tolle said. “When you get behind you have to throw and the pass defense was phenomenal.”

Rensselaer junior Rylan Arihood rushed seven times for 95 yards, including a 55-yard gain. Tipton’s Nate Hein rushed 13 times for 85 yards.



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