Junior quarterback Chris Patterson completed 9-of-20 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns and rushed the ball 14 times for 128 more yards and two more scores as the Crispus Attucks Tigers fended off a Beech Grove comeback to defeat the host Hornets 35-28 Friday night in Class 4A Sectional 22 action at TCU Veterans Stadium.
Patterson threw touchdown passes of 68 yards to junior wide receiver DuVuan Love and 44 yards to senior wideout Jayon Barnett. The signal caller scored touchdowns from 12 and 50 yards out as the Tigers led by as many as 21 points on two different occasions in the third quarter (28-7 and 35-14).
Playing without the services of junior quarterback Gavin Mitchell, who suffered a season-ending collarbone injury in the regular season finale against East Central, the Hornets platooned at the position with freshman Adonis Adams and sophomore Braden Keen. Adams got the start, completing five out of six passes for 60 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown strike to senior Donovan Bailey with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter to draw Beech Grove to within seven at 35-28. Keen completed just 2-of-7 tosses for 16 yards, not faring as well as Adams.
However, the difference in this sectional opener was the pass the left-handed Keen threw that was intercepted by the Tigers’ Adrieon Smith for a game-changing touchdown. The senior picked off Keen’s backpedaling toss and rambled 82 yards for a pick-six with 41.7 seconds remaining in the first half, giving Crispus Attucks a 21-7 lead at the intermission.
In his final prep school game, Beech Grove senior Teron Washington picked up 127 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns, on runs of 10 and 67 yards, to bring the Hornets to within 28-14 and 35-21, respectively. Fellow classmate Keyonni Johnson had 94 yards on seven rushes. Sophomore Damon Thompkins scored from three yards out on Beech Grove’s opening drive of the contest to give the Hornets a 7-0 lead, their only one of the night, while junior defensive back Garrett Esposito intercepted two passes, including one in the end zone to thwart a scoring drive for the visiting Tigers (7-2).
Crispus Attucks’ Barnett had an outstanding game defensively, recovering two fumbles and getting a key quarterback sack on fourth down in the third quarter.
The Tigers, who picked up their first-ever victory in the sectional since the all-comers tournament (where every school qualified, regardless of regular season record) was implemented in 1985, will host Roncalli in second-round action of Class 4A Sectional 22 this Friday night at Northwest Middle School. Beech Grove finished its season 2-8 (1-6 in the Indiana Crossroads Conference). That record includes forfeit losses to Cascade, Speedway and Monrovia, all ICC opponents. The Hornets have not won a state tournament game on the gridiron since October 31, 2014, when they defeated Pendleton Heights 46-0 on a cold, snowy night at Pendleton.