New Palestine’s Charlie Spegal scampered 80 yards for a touchdown on his team’s first snap of the third quarter to provide the key play in a 27-20 victory over Valparaiso in the Class 5A championship game.
Spegal, the state’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, had been stymied in the first half by the Valpo defense and that helped the Vikings forge a 10-10 tie at halftime.
After the second-ranked Vikings missed a field goal on their first drive of the third, Spegal took off around the right side, broke a couple of tackles just past the line of scrimmage and rambled the rest of the way to give the Dragons a lead they didn’t relinquish.
The No. 1 Dragons (14-0) captured the win in the only contest of the state finals that featured two unbeaten teams. It gave them their second straight and third state title overall, each under the direction of coach Kyle Ralph.
New Pal played the majority of the game without starting quarterback Lincoln Roth, who left with a leg injury early in the second quarter. He fired a 24-yard scoring pass to Blake Austin to open the scoring in the first quarter.
After Spegal’s long run, the Dragons added the second of two field goals by Alex Kropp and a Ryker Large 34-yard interception return to open up a 27-10 lead after three quarters.
The Vikings of coach Bill Marshall hung tough, cutting the deficit to 27-20 with three minutes left after a 1-yard scoring run by Tommy Burbee and Liam Shepherd’s second field goal of the game. The Dragons, however, took the kickoff and ran off a pair of first downs to allow them to run out the clock.
Valparaiso finished 13-1.
Class 5A State Championship Records
None.
Valparaiso’s Josh Fedorchak named Eskew Mental Attitude Award recipient
At the conclusion of the state championship game, the IHSAA Executive Committee named Josh Fedorchak of Valparaiso High School as the winner of the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award in Class 5A Football.
Josh is a four-year member of the Valparaiso Football Team. He was chosen as the most valuable defensive back on the Vikings’ team. Heading into tonight’s game, Fedorchak has amassed 24 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 pass deflections, and 6 interceptions – two of which were for touchdowns with the long being 82 yards. Fedorchak was also his school’s mental attitude award winner in freshman basketball. He was a member of the Vikings baseball team his freshman and sophomore year as well.
Josh is in the top 5% of his senior class of 515 students academically and is a member of the National Honor Society at Valparaiso. Fedorchak has been on the “A” Honor Roll for four straight years. He spends time volunteering in his community through the Pop Warner Football program, Elementary Pen Pal program, and has helped with a food drive to raise food for his local food pantry. He is also a member of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church.
Josh is the son of Josh and Stephanie Fedorchak of Valparaiso, IN. He is undecided on his college choice at this time but will be concentrating on Mathematics and Statistics.