By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Many football games have a key, pivotal moment coaches and players can point to later and say, “That was the ballgame, right there.”
In Friday night’s Class 4A, Sectional 11 championship game between Concord and Wawasee, such a moment came right at the beginning of the fourth quarter: Trailing 21-3, the Warriors were on the Concord goal line, and a TD could have been a game-changer.
The Minutemen, according to senior linebacker Dallas Maynard, thought back to the sectional quarterfinals against East Noble, where they blew a late 21-point lead and had to rally for a 38-35 win in the closing seconds.
“The coaches talked to us about it, and we knew we couldn’t let them score,” Maynard said. “We didn’t want to let them back in the game.”
The Minutemen’s defense denied the Warriors on three straight plays, and then on fourth-and-goal, they stuffed a Wawasee run, with Maynard getting the key hit.
Concord coach Tim Dawson said it was another clutch performance from his defense all night long.
“I know it’s a cliche, but defense wins championships,” Dawson said. “They guys stepped up and got it done for us tonight.”
“Getting it done” included denying big plays to a Wawasee offense that had fed on them during a six-game winning streak.
Concord’s defensive approach stymied the Warriors when it counted, according to Wawasee coach Tom Wogomon.
“Good defenses do that,” Wogomon said. “They may bend a little, but when it matters, they make a key play. They were able to do that, and we weren’t.”