After narrowing it down to just 4 teams left in IHSAA’s 6A football playoffs, Merrillville at Westfield looked to be the more exciting of the two. Merrillville came into the game undefeated yet was looked at as underdogs because of two factors; strength of schedule and simply how dominant Westfield has been when playing much better competition. Nonetheless, we expected a good game to play out in Westfield with two teams that are right on the verge of a state championship.
The game came off to a fast start as the Shamrocks came onto the field for a four-play drive capping off with a 20+ yard touchdown from running back Micah Hauser. Merrillville followed that drive up with a three-and-out after Charlie Dager sacked quarterback Angel Nelson on third down. Drive number two for Westfield followed right as their last did as they finished with a 12-yard touchdown run from QB Maximus Webster but a missed extra point making the game 13-0 in Westfield’s favor.
Most of the second quarter of action played out without any significance to the game. The scoring drought ended when Merrillville’s star running back, Lavarion Logan broke 3 tackles and outran another to land in the end zone for Merrillville’s first points of the night. Westfield ends off the half with another touchdown, again by running back Micah Hauser punching the ball in from 3-yards away. Westfield goes into the locker room up 20-7 and essentially controlling the game.
Merrillville was set to receive the kickoff in the second half. The Pirates were driving down the field and made it past the 50, but Lavarion Logan fumbled on third down setting up a fourth and 12 for Merrillville which lead to a punt. Westfield proceeded to go the length of the field dominating on both the ground and through the air. Maximus Webster ran into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night pushing the ball just 1-yard. Right before the end of the 3rd quarter, Micah Hauser goes 39-yards and to the house for yet another Westfield touchdown and his third of the night.
The score coming into the fourth was 34-7 with Westfields dreams of returning to the state championship just 12 minutes away. Merrillville was able to make up a small number of points earlier in the fourth when Lavarion Logan got into the end zone on a 2-yard run. The Pirates defense had fallen apart at this point and in two plays, gave up a 48-yard touchdown run to Trevon Hatchett to completely seal the game. Anthony Feltrinelli brought back an interception to expand the lead for Westfield even more. Merrillville’s Justin Marshall took the ball 64-yards for a touchdown which would become the biggest play of the night, but time ran out on Merrillville’s season. Westfield dominated with a final score of 19-48 and will be heading to Lucas-Oil for a state championship game for the second year in a row!