Arabians fall to class 4A No. 1 Dragons

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By Andrew Smith | For The Times-Post

PENDLETON — Pendleton Heights coach Jed Richman appeared determined not to allow New Palestine’s powerful running game to beat the Arabians on Friday.

But the Dragons beat them instead with the passing game.

Pendleton Heights succeeded in holding New Palestine’s Grayson Thomas below 100 yards for the first time this season, but Dragons senior quarterback Danny Tippit had a career night, completing 18 of 21 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns leading the Dragons to a 42-14 victory.

The loss moves the Arabians season record to 2-3 (1-2, Hoosier Heritage Conference).

“Everybody sees the talent, everybody sees the size and the strength, but the reality is, their kids just play really disciplined,” Pendleton Heights coach Jed Richman said of New Palestine.

The Arabians unveiled an aggressive, blitzing defense early designed to slow the Dragons’ running game — and it did early, forcing a turnover on downs on the first drive.

“Our guys were playing their hearts out. They make it harder than it needs to be,” Richman said. “They overcompensate at times. The intentions are good, but the results are not, because we’re not where we’re supposed to be at times. Our effort was there, our attitudes were there.”

But on the Dragons’ second possession, Tippit hit three straight passes for 60 yards, capping it with a 25-yard aerial to Nunnally, and New Palestine was off and running.

Thacker made an acrobatic catch in the end zone for a 26-yard reception on the next drive, and then had a 68-yard catch and run to set up a 7-yard TD to Nunnally on the following possession to put the Dragons up 21-0 early in the second quarter.

Two more drives finished with touchdown runs by Thomas to cap the opening half with the Dragons up 35-0 and triggering the running clock for the second half. Tippit was 16 of 19 for 280 yards in the opening half.

Pendleton Heights scored on both of its second-half possessions.

“Our kids believed they could compete, and we come out for the second half and it’s 35-0,” Richman said. “I called the same plays in that drive that I called in the first half, and those were the same plays that worked in the second half. It was a matter of determination and discipline and doing the things you’re supposed to do.”

For the Arabians, Wilson completed 11 of 22 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown to Caden Sims. He also ran for 43 yards and a score, with most of his yardage coming after halftime.

“I’m really proud of Isaac Wilson,” Richman said.

Pendleton Heights will look to get back on track when they welcome HHC opponent Mt. Vernon to town on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. It’s Arabians homecoming night.

“I love these guys,” Richman said. “We’re going to keep fighting.”

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