Southridge captures sectional on home field

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Southridge’s Ricky Pflanz is lifted into the air by teammates after Friday’s football game in Huntingburg. Southridge defeated Salem, 35-7, winning the sectional championship. “It felt amazing,” Pflanz said of celebrating the win. “Everybody said we weren’t going to be anything this year. We just worked and here we are.” For more photos from the game, click here.


HUNTINGBURG — The Sectional 32 Championship trophy belongs to Southridge after completing its three-week journey on Friday with a 35-7 win against Salem at Raider Field. Much of the second half, including the entire fourth quarter, had a running clock.

This is the third sectional championship in four years for the Raiders (12-0).

“It feels great,” Southridge coach Scott Buening said. “It’s hard to do. This is a very tough sectional with some tough teams, and so we’re very appreciative of the opportunity we had. We’re very excited to get the win.”

The Lions won the opening toss, and pushed the ball down field on the ground game — converting on a fourth down. However, they fumbled on the pitch, and Raiders senior Parker Kippenbrock recovered with 6:54 to play in the opening quarter, and it didn’t take long for Southridge to make Salem pay.

Senior quarterback Chase Taylor chucked the ball to a wide open senior Camden Gasser for a 26-yard Southridge score. The Raiders held a 7-0 lead at the 5:05 point of the first quarter after senior kicker Jaylon Leon pointed the extra point through the uprights.

That was the first of two times Taylor found Gasser for a score. Gasser also ran around two Salem defenders and went the distance for 70 yards with 3:40 to play in the third quarter that triggered a running clock.

The Raiders themselves fumbled the ball, and the Lions recovered with 9:48 to play in the first half. This turnover did not cost the Raiders, however, as the Lions punted it away — taking all of their timeouts with 8:10 to go in the second quarter.

It was the first of two times the Raiders put the ball on the ground in the opening half, with the Lions recovering both times.

“We’ll just keep working on it,” Buening said. “It is something we want to do a little bit better but the bottom line is is we’re excited to be where we are tonight. To win a 3A sectional, these kids — they got bumped up. And with the success factor and to come into this sectional — to go home with a sectional championship, that’s all we’re concerned with tonight.”

Southridge grabbed an insurance touchdown when senior Matt Springer capped a 72-yard drive by dashing into the end zone on a 13-yard run. The Raiders held a 14-0 lead with 5:56 left to play.

Southridge’s Carson Niehaus carries the ball during Friday’s football game in Huntingburg. Southridge defeated Salem 35-7. For more photos from the game, click here.

The Raiders escaped the first half without the Lions putting points on the board. A would-be Salem touchdown was wiped away due to an illegal man downfield.

The Lions were also penalized on a false start on fourth down — which they converted, but couldn’t reach the end zone as time expired.

Salem tried to get something going by attempting an onside kick to start the third quarter. It backfired, as the Raiders recovered, and took advantage of the field position, as Kippenbrock ran in a 13-yard touchdown with 9:58 left to play.

Kippenbrock added a second touchdown run with 5:26 to go in the third quarter to put Southridge ahead, 28-0. He also had multiple sacks and multiple tackles for a loss to go with his fumble recovery and two touchdown runs.

The Lions averted being shut out when senior quarterback Peyton Arthur found fellow senior Reese McCoskey for in the waning seconds. Freshman Jonathan Tally kicked the point after to bring the game to its final score.

Southridge is scheduled to play next week at Lawrenceburg, who won the Sectional 31 championship on Friday against Franklin County, 49-12.

Buening did not know which day the Raiders and Tigers will play, but Southridge will be tasked in trying to stop a high-scoring team in the regional.

“I don’t really know much about them,” He said. “So, we’ll get our film and we’ll see what we need to do, but we’ll cross that bridge tomorrow.”

For more photos from the game, click here.

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