Bloomington South vs New Palestine semi-state preview

John Kelly, Editor

Bloomington South Panthers (8-4) at New Palestine Dragons (12-0)

When: Friday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m.

Where: Shepler Field, New Palestine, Ind.

Last Meeting: N/A

A dominant second half performance over Floyd Central has advanced the Panthers to semi-state, where they will face top-ranked New Palestine. 

Offense: South has kept the juice going on offense, breaking the 30 point mark for the fourth time in five games, with some credit going to the defense. Senior running back Maveric Thiery has been instrumental in this playoff run, rushing for 584 yards in the last three games. Another big game from Thiery is going to be necessary if South wants to compete with New Palestine’s high powered offense. As a unit, New Palestine’s defense is allowing just 8.7 points per contest, including just 10 points last week to fellow Indy powerhouse Cathedral. Up front defensively for the Dragons is senior defensive end Kyle King. King is a Michigan State commit who is ranked as the seventh best player in Indiana according to MaxPreps. At 6 foot 4, King is a nightmare for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks. South will need to contain him if they want to get any production offensively. Senior safety Maxen Hook is a very versatile player on the NewPal defense who can not only make big plays in the secondary, but get after the quarterback as well. 

Defense: The Panther defense again proved themselves against Floyd, shutting them out in the second half. However, they face their biggest challenge yet in an offense that’s averaging just shy of 51 points per contest. The biggest threat that NewPal brings to the South defense is senior running back Charlie Spegal. Spegal is, statistically, the greatest running back in Indiana history, accumulating 11,295 rushing yards and 186 rushing touchdowns over his four years at New Palestine. This season, Spegal is averaging a ridiculous 10.6 yards per carry to go along with his 3,356 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns. He is also ranked as MaxPreps #2 player in the state of Indiana. Under center for New Palestine is junior quarterback Lincoln Roth. Roth is a solid quarterback, but isn’t used or needed much due to the run heavy attack. 

Overview: New Palestine comes into this game as the best team in the state, ranked in the top 50 nationally according to MaxPreps. They have a very impressive point differential, outscoring opponents 609-104 this season. Coach Kyle Ralph is 86-4 since taking over the program in 2013. Bloomington South comes into this game as monumental underdogs but are certainly capable of pulling a miracle off. The winner of this game will face either Valparaiso or Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger in the state championship at Lucas Oil Stadium. Prediction: BHSS- 14 NPHS- 42