Warren Central Wins in 2OT

In high school football, the focus should always be on the players and the outcome should be decided by the players on the field. But, in this state final, the outcome hung on a judgment call that went in favor of Warren Central and once again Carmel was the runner up for a second straight year.

The game saw two evenly matched teams playing for the Indiana big school state championship. These two teams had squared off in the regular season with Carmel winning 24 to 22 on October 2nd. But on November 28th, the score was tied in regulation 28 to 28. Warren Central's Shakir Bell had readily established himself as a viable candidate for Mr. Football breaking the 3,000 yard barrier in the 2009 season. He also proved (in my opinion) that he is a bona fide D1 recruit.

The issue which will be argued for months (if not years) is whether wide receiver Maurice Magee, who caught a pass from Derek Hart, was out of bounds (which he was). The issue: was he forced out by the Carmel defender (Matt Seward)? In the official's judgment, he was forced out of bounds. This occurred with just 1 second left on the clock. It was ruled a touchdown. Warren Central had to go for two to tie and did so successfully. But the damage had been done and the "what if game" can be played for eternity.

The game went into overtime and both teams scored 8 points (touchdown and 2 pt. conversion). In the 2nd OT, Carmel fails to score and Warren does thus winning the 2009 5A Indiana state football championship. But, let's talk about some scout.com standouts from Indiana and there were several.

Shakir Bell (5-8 180 lbs), had seen some nagging injuries over the course of the playoffs and suffered a nasty ankle sprain. Bell had the attitude that ankles can heal but a state championship was going to trump the sore ankle. He entered the state finals having accumulated 2,848 total yards rushing. He ran for 236 yards in the state finals and broke the 3,000 yard barrier, thus rushing for 3,084 yards in his senior season. Shakir made the most of his opportunity and is definitely going to be a strong favorite for the coveted Indiana Mr. Football Award.

Kris Harley (6-3 260 lbs), a defensive tackle, is just a junior, but this young man has been proving it all year long. His speed, aggressiveness and quickness have already gotten him offers from Virginia Tech, Stanford and Iowa. He is currently on the beaten path to be one of the "super recruits" from Indiana. Over the course of the season he was asked to come in and block on short yardage situations. In the state finals, he brought a new concept to moving the pile. Warren Central went for it on 4th down 7 times in the state finals and made all 7 attempts. Kris Harley was an effective lead blocker on about 4 of those occasions.

James Manuel was effective at his safety position. The Warren Central safety has verbally committed to Minnesota. He officially had 3 solo tackles and an assist. On the offensive side of the ball, both Michael Gegner (6-3 265 lbs) and Kiaro Holts (6-5 265 lbs) were their usual dominant selves. They led the way for Warren Central's 262 yards of rushing.

Carmel's Brian East Made Me a Believer

I have watched Carmel in 4 games this year and saw Warren Central 3 times. But the strength of the Warren team seemed to be their offense. The strength of Carmel was their defense. Brian East (6-3 195 lbs) is a viable D1 candidate. He is listed as a Carmel outside linebacker. But he seemed to be all over the field Saturday. Much like Luk Swift last season, who was an excellent athlete for Center Grove, I didn't know why he wasn't already committed to some school. I feel the same way with Brian East. Somebody in Indiana needs to take a look at some more film on this player. In the state final's game, East had 5 solo tackles and 5 assists. He had a sack as well. This wasn't the only time his ability shone through. Brian East has the size and speed to play somewhere at the D1 level.

Do not Cry for Carmel

Seriously, Carmel reloads! That seems to be the norm for the Greyhounds and two players this season caught my attention. Sophomore (Jr. next season) Shawn Heffern (6-5 200 lbs) is listed as an outside linebacker and of course the running back Devin Brinson (6-0 185 lbs). Brinson wound up gaining 1,185 yards in his Jr. season. With experience and the weight room those numbers will go up in 2010.

Video Courtesy of Fox 59 www.indysportsnation.com

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