SHERIDAN, Ind. -- Larry "Bud" Wright had been in the position many times.
The Sheridan High School football coach has won nine state titles and he figured he had a chance at playing for No. 10 when the Blackhawks had second down on the Lafayette Central Catholic 4-yard line trailing by three points late in the second half of Friday's Class A semistate championship.
But running back Austin Hoover was stopped for no gain and LCC's Matt Thieme swatted away a Sam Zachery pass. Sheridan missed a field goal and LCC went into halftime with the lead and some momentum on its way to a 13-3 victory. The No. 1 Knights -- playing for a fourth consecutive title -- will face No. 7 Scecina in a rematch of last season's state championship at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Lucas Oil Stadium.
"If we score a touchdown, I think that might have been a key for us," Wright said. "But we didn't do it. They rose to the occasion and stopped us and we just didn't get the opportunity after that to get in position to score."
Sheridan dominated the first quarter and grabbed an early lead on Mike Burnell's 22-yard field goal. But the game turned when an Andrew Hubertz punt pinned Sheridan (9-5) at its own 4 early in the second quarter and LCC forced a three-and-out. Five plays later, Will Jones ran in a 9-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 6-3.
LCC put the game away on a play-action strike over the middle that Timmy Mills hauled in for a 31-yard touchdown reception and 13-3 lead in the third quarter.
"They had some real heavy running backs that just came at you," said Ross Corcoran, Joe's older brother who was unofficially credited with 21 tackles and had red marks on the bridge of his nose and forehead attesting to the game's physical tone. "They love to hit and they love to play physical football, and I guess we do too."