Just like last year: It will be Cathedral vs. Zionsville

The Irish and the Eagles will play for the 5A football State title


Jade Zhao

During the regular season game against Brebeuf Jesuit, all the Braves defense can do is watch the Irish put up another score. For the second consecutive year, the Irish will play for the Class 5A State football championship. The team will take on Zionsville on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Will Mayer, Sports Editor

After a long, eventful season, the Class 5A top-ranked Irish are back in Lucas Oil Stadium for the second year in a row. 

The blue and gold are battling for the gold once again after the Irish took down New Albany in a dominant fashion 52-13 in the south Semistate championship game on Nov. 19 at Arsenal Tech. The Irish will play Zionsville on Nov. 26, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
This marks the second straight year these two teams have met for the Class 5A State title, with the Irish coming away with a 46-28 win last year. 

Zionsville reached this year’s State championship game with a 51-21 north Semistate win over Michigan City. 

Led by Head Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ‘88, the Irish look to repeat their past success. During an interview on Sunday morning before the weekly coaches’ meeting, Peebles said, “It’s great. Getting there a second time is in some ways harder and more gratifying. The first time was exciting, especially because of Covid and not knowing if we were going to play the next week because of it. But to grind this out with our Senior Class has been awesome,” Peebles said. 

In the dominant victory over New Albany, junior running back Carson Johnson stepped up and had an outstanding performance, rushing for 233 yards and one touchdown in the first half alone. And you read that right — those stats are from the first half. Peebles said, “It was the offensive line that helped Carson. He’ll tell you the same thing. Our offensive line dominated New Albany up front. Carson just made great reads, broke tackles and did what we wanted him to do. The offensive line deserves as much credit as he does, because they played great.”

The Irish defense also had a stellar performance coming up with three interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown by senior linebacker Gavin Crooke. Peebles said, “Gavin Crooke’s Pick 6, for a guy that’s been through the injuries he’s sustained, the last two weeks have been unbelievable for him coming back from his injury. He replaced Blake Williams, who got injured. I can’t be happier for a kid than I am for Gavin and how he’s overcome adversity.”

The Irish are set to match up against a similar Zionsville team they saw the year before. Peebles said, “Zionsville has two great running backs in Colin Price and Gage Bankert. One of their top offensive linemen is a Notre Dame recruit in Joey Tanona. They’re big and strong up front and they’re a great football team.”

Peebles said this year that the current team and last year’s team has been the best he’s ever coached. 

This year’s squad has been particularly special for Peebles and here’s why. “This team has taught me patience and that It’s OK to rely on other people. I’ve always been a ‘go for the fourth down’ guy. I’ve always been aggressive. But between (senior) Ben Gomez being a great kicker and our defense being great, I’ve punted the ball more and taken more field goals than I ever have as a head coach. 

“There are parts of this team that are the best that I have ever coached with. The defense is the best I’ve ever had. Ben Gomez is the best kicker I’ve ever coached. So I’ve become more patient, taken more field goals and relied on others more, when I used to be very aggressive.”

Peebles also gave some recognition to the recent WISH-TV Zone Championship Banner winners, the Irish Nightmare. The award is given to the best student section in Indiana. Peebles noted that for the Class 5A State championship game, people need to see why the Irish won the banner. 

Peebles said, “We need everybody there. I need to see 1,000 students in the stands at the game supporting us. We’re going to need it, too, because Zionsville is a good football team.”