CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco’s football team put on a show for its homecoming fans Friday night, blowing out Prairie Heights 49-0.
The Eagles opened the game with three touchdowns in the first quarter — one in their first possession off a run by Nate Keener, another at the 5:35 mark off a pass to Gage Kelly, and the third with 20.8 seconds left by quarterback Tom Richards.
The scoring barrage didn’t slow in the second quarter, as the Eagles scored off an interception minutes into the quarter, then again on a 50-yard touchdown reception by Gage Kelly to put Churubusco ahead 35-0.
Prairie Heights didn’t pick up a first down until over halfway through the second quarter. The Panthers worked their way all the way to the 15-yard-line, but two Churubusco sacks ended the drive, making the halftime score 35-0.
Joey Emenhiser opened the second half with a quick touchdown, then Sam Wood intercepted a Prairie Heights pass and picked up more than 65 yards to put the Eagles in scoring position, leading to their final touchdown to make the score 49-0.
Prairie Heights threatened another touchdown in the final minutes of the game, but the Eagles’ second-string players preserved the shutout.
“I’m happy for the young guys to stop them,” Sade said. “That’s huge — it’s a big stage for them to perform on.”
Richards completed 10 of 14 passes for 171 yards. Kelly caught three of those passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Wood had one reception for 34 yards and Emenhiser caught two for 27 yards.
Emenhiser led the ground game with 83 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Keener had 79 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and Jake Fulk had three carries for 42 yards.
Panther quarterback Ethan Hoover was 11 for 25 for 79 yards in the air. Most of those passes were thrown to Elijah Malone, who had six receptions for 51 yards. Bennett Johnson led Prairie Heights’ rushing with 22 yards on one carry.
Though the Eagles came away with a big win, Sade says these aren’t the kind of wins he enjoys.
“I don’t like games like this. I don’t find any joy in them,” Sade said. “I’m happy for our kids, every win is precious, but you don’t want to get anyone hurt or run the score up — but we still had some things to work on to get better.”
The Eagles aren’t playing to their potential yet, but they are improving each week, Sade said.
Churubusco remains undefeated after five games, and some are already considering the potential for postseason success. The Eagles are ranked fifth in Class 1A in the Indiana High School Football Coaches Association Poll. However, three other teams in Sectional 43 also rank in the top 10: Adams Central in third, South Adams in seventh and Southwood in ninth.
“We’ve been in this situation before and didn’t have things go the way we wanted them to go down the stretch,” Sade said. “It doesn’t mean a whole lot if we don’t finish. We have a lot we need to work on and continue to improve upon.”
The ranking isn’t a topic of discussion between the coaches and players.
“I think its a great honor to be ranked, especially in the coaches’ poll. But we don’t discuss it. It’s not something we focus on,” Sade said.
Churubusco travels to Fremont this week to face the 0-5 Eagles, and Prairie Heights, now 1-4, travels to 1-4 Eastside.