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Rox come up short against Sheridan

Friday, November 23, 2007


AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Nick Zachery can throw the football, too, but boy, can he ever run.

The Sheridan junior rushed for three touchdowns, returned a kickoff 87 yards for a fourth TD and, surprisingly, passed for still another score as the Blackhawks beat Rockville 34-28 Friday for their third straight Class A championship.

It was a record ninth overall title for the top-ranked Blackhawks (15-0) and for coach Bud Wright, the state's winningest active coach with 338 wins in 43 years.

Rockville (14-1), in the finals for the first time, led 14-7 after one quarter before Zachery and the Blackhawks took over.

The Sheridan quarterback, who did not complete a single pass in either of Sheridan's championship wins the past two years, threw 18 yards to Corey Hamersley for a touchdown late in the second quarter and put Sheridan ahead with touchdown runs of 39 yard 40 yards in the third period.

Aided by two pass interference penalties, the Rox came within 27-21 midway through the fourth quarter on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Matt King to Zach Clapp. On the first play of the next series, however, Zachery burst through for 61 yards and another TD to put the game out of reach.

Zachery, who also stopped one Rockville drive with an interception in the fourth quarter, finished with 198 yards rushing and 61 yards passing.

Clapp, who also ran for one touchdown, received the Indiana High School Athletic Association Eskew Award for mental attitude.

King, who also passed 62 yards to Daniel Martin for a touchdown on the opening possession of the game, hit Aaron Bridge from 3 yards out for the final score with 2:19 left, and Sheridan ran out the clock.

King, whose father, Rockville coach Herb King, was a member of Tippecanoe Valley's Class A championship team in 1979, finished with 20 completions in a Class A-record 47 attempts for 276 yards.

Zachery's father, Brian, played on Sheridan's first title team in 1980, and his uncles, Derry and Shelly Zachery, played on winning teams in 1984 and 1992, respectively.

Two years ago, as a freshman, Nick Zachery rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns to lead Sheridan over Knightstown 21-7. Last year, again without completing a pass, he rushed for one touchdown and returned a fumble 61 yards for another score in a 34-28 overtime win over Indianapolis Ritter.

One of the top offensive teams in the state, Sheridan managed only one first down through most of the first half against Rockville.

The Blackhawks scored their first touchdown on the 87-yard kickoff return by Zachery, but the Rox regained the lead late in the opening period after passes of 25 yards to Clapp and 15 yards to Taylor Harper set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Clapp.

Sheridan reached the Rockville 38 with a 32-yard run by Seth Burgan early in the second period, but a penalty for intentional grounding, a fumble and an incomplete pass forced another punt by the Blackhawks. The Rox lost the ball on downs with just over a minute to go, and Sheridan -- uncharacteristically -- went to the air to set up its next score.

Zachery, who missed both of his pass attempts in 2005 and all five attempts last year, hit Kyle Moore for 7 and 36 yards. Zachery then ran 5 yards and passed 18 yards to Hamersley for the touchdown. Rockville's lead stayed at 14-13, however, after Austin King missed the extra-point kick for Sheridan.

Zachery's 39-yard TD run on the opening drive of the third quarter put Sheridan ahead 20-13, and the Blackhawks never trailed after that.

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