Greensburg Daily News
The South Decatur football team fell to West Washington 29-14 Friday in the Class 1A Sectional 39 semifinal.
The hosting Senators jumped out to a 7-0 lead and pulled away from the Cougars in the second half.
South concludes its season at 3-7, while the Senators improved to 8-3.
West Washington jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter and carried a 15-8 advantage into halftime. The Cougars broke through with a touchdown run from sophomore Damen Martin, and senior Matthew Gatewood produced the two-point conversion.
After the Senators scored to make it 22-8, junior Chris Johannigman connected with senior Byron Balser for a touchdown pass that cut it to 22-14.
“We had opportunities to cut into that lead, and eventually take the lead,” said South head coach Rod Martin.
The Cougars gained 301 yards offensively. Junior Chris Johannigman completed 16 of 31 passes for 241 yards, including a touchdown pass and two interceptions.
The Senators held South to 60 yards rushing on 21 carries, for an average of 2.9 per rush. Gatewood gained 23 yards to lead South. Chris Meadows and Damen Martin each gained 13.
“We startred off kind of slow,” said Martin. “They’re a very good football team.”
Martin credited the Senators’ team speed.
“They have very good team speed,” said Martin of the linemen and skill position players. “They’re not big kids, but they have pretty good team speed. It took us a while to adjust to that, but we did a couple things to give our kids come confidence and realize that we could play with them.”
The Cougars committed 10 penalties for 85 yards, which prevented them from mounting a comeback against a formidable opponent.
“It was a pretty good team, but the game came down to our own mistakes and penalties,” said Martin.
Balser led South in receiving with 99 yards, while Josh Miller caught six for 70.
Game stats -
Tackling: Josh Miller, Gatewood 9 each; Brayden Helms 8; Myles Lewellyn, Randall Canady, Bryce French, Ben Tichenor, Chris Meadows 3; Byron Balser 2; Austin Ortman, Braiden Halcomb 1.
Brayden Helms tallied an interception.
Gatewood punted four times and averaged 42 yards, with a long punt of 61 and one inside the 20.
Johannigman finished the season with 2,343 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. He completed 51.4 percent of his passes (167-for-325).
On the season, Gatewood led South in scoring (50 points) with seven touchdowns and two, 2-point conversions and six PAT’s. Balser scored a team-high eight touchdowns for 48 total points. Meadows scored six touchdowns and six 2-point conversions for 42 points, while Johannigman and Martin each scored two touchdowns.
Junior Chris Meadows led South in rushing this past season, with 263 yards on 55 carries (4.78 per rush), with three touchdowns. Damen Martin gained 173 yards on 37 carries (4.68) and two touchdowns. Junior Logan Speer rushed 21 times for 96 yards (4.57). Johannigman gained 95 yard with two touchdowns, and Bryce French gained 83 yards and scored once. Brayden Helms rushed for 29 yards, while Matthew Gatewood gained 25 yards on 4 carries (6.25) and a score.
Senior Byron Balser caught a team-high 55 passes for 795 yards and eight touchdowns to lead South in receiving. Gatewood caught 28 for 576, averaging a team-high 20.57, and scored six times.
Other receiving stats: Chris Meadows 27-395 (14.63), 2 TD’s; Josh Miller 37-316 (8.54); Damen Martin 5-91 (18.2); Speer 4-43 (10.75); Helms 3-41 (13.67), 1 TD; Bryce French 5-40; Myles Lewellyn 3-27; Jordan Hatton 1-19.
Senior Bryce Moore led South in defense with 84 stops, including 73 solo stops. Martin tallied 56 tackles, including 49 solo.
South tackling: Josh Miller 50 (42 solo); Helms 49 (43); Ben Tichenor 42 (38); French 31 (26); Chris Meadows 30 (29); Balser/Speer 29 each (25 solo each); Randall Canady 29 (26); Lewellyn 14 (11); Tyler Hahn 10 (10).
Ben Tichenor, Logan Speer and Damen Martin each led South in sacks with two. Helms, Canady and French each tallied one.
Josh Miller recorded a team-high five interceptions and two fumble recoveries, along with two blocked field goals. Gatewood intercepted two passes and defended two, adding a forced fumble. Bryce Moore recovered two fumbles and blocked a field goal. Johannigman, Martin and Tichenor each recovered a fumble, while Tichenor added a blocked field goal.
Other interceptions: Balser 2, Helms 1, Speer 1. Balser added a pass defensed.
South will conduct its end-of-season team banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.