Panthers top Bull Dogs for conference title

BLOOMINGTON — Columbus North’s chance at a three-peat for the Conference Indiana title quickly vanished.

Bloomington South showed why they are one of the top teams in Class 5A in winning the battle in all three phases of the game to gets its first win over the Bull Dogs since 2016 with a 46-15 victory to claim the CI title.

Bloomington South (6-1, 5-0) took very little time get on the scoreboard. They marched down the field using a balance of the pass and run to eventually make it in the red zone at the 12-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Zach David found an open hole and ran it in for the 12-yard score to put the Panthers ahead 7-0 with 8:29 left in the opening quarter.

On the ensuing possession, North (3-4, 2-1) drove down the field and with a couple of big passes to eventually get it to the 13-yard line. The drive stalled three plays later and Osian Guest kicked it from 29-yards out to cut it to 7-3 with 3:39 left in the first.

Heading into the second quarter, Bloomington South redeemed itself after a couple penalties to get a first down and put themselves deep into Bull Dog territory. After the drive stalled, the Panthers had to settle for a field goal to make it 10-3.

Following a North punt, Bloomington South got a couple third down conversion when they needed them. Those critical conversion led to a Jarrin Alley 22-yard run for the touchdown to extend the lead to 17-3 with 4:48 left in the first half.

After another Bull Dog drive stalled and forced to punt again, it only took three plays to score the touchdown. Following a short gain, David threw a deep pass that landed at the 4-yard line and Ben Morrison then punched it in for the score to make it 24-3 with 2:47 left in the half.

After both teams turned the ball over, North had its best opportunity to score towards the end of the first half. Faced with a fourth down with five seconds left, the Bull Dogs lined up for a field goal, but they tried for a trick play with a fake, but the pass was intercepted to end the half.

Things didn’t get any easier for North. On it’s first offensive drive, a chop block penalty was called and it pinned them deep in their own territory at the 8-yard line. On the next play, an intentional grounding was called in the end zone, resulting in a safety to grow the deficit to 26-3. After the kickoff, the Panthers got into the endzone once again on a run-pass option from David for the score to make it 33-3.

The Bull Dogs then had their biggest drive of the game. Tyler Blythe had a big run to put them in Bloomington South territory. A few plays later, quarterback Zac Horn found Cooper Horn for the 32-yard touchdown pass, but the two-point conversion failed to make it 33-9 with 5:29 left in the third.

After a Panthers punt, North started clawing its way back into the game when the special teams made a long return to put the Bull Dogs in good position past midfield at the 37-yard line. It only took one play for North to get on the board when Zac Horn found Cooper Horn for the touchdown to make it 33-15 after another failed two-point-conversion with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

However, the slight comeback momentum was short lived as Bloomington South chewed up a lot of the clock in the fourth quarter, and then right near the goal line, Gavin Adams ran it for the 1-yard score to make it 39-15 with 3:02 left. The Bull Dogs were driving down the field late, but a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed the game with 1:02 left.