MUNCIE, IND - Coming off of a four-game win streak, the Muncie Central Bearcats (4-5) looked to end their postseason woes against the Beech Grove Hornets (4-5) in the opening round of sectional play.
However, the Bearcats’ playoff losing streak continued as Beech Grove took the matchup 42-28.
The contest at Muncie Central High School started with a bang. On the first play from scrimmage, Beech Grove's senior Jarron Murry took a 60-yard running back pass to the endzone to open up the scoring.
The Hornets continued to throw gut punches and on the ensuing drive, intercepted a tipped pass from Muncie Central senior quarterback Leo Boyd. They would turn the interception into a touchdown to take an early 14-0 lead.
For Muncie Central, their mental fortitude was being tested and a shift was needed to fight back.
“We weren’t sitting down for an easy loss,” senior De’Markis Cole said. “[They weren’t] going to get it easily.”
Despite taking some hits early, the Bearcats would show some fight. After a long run from Boyd, a short touchdown run from sophomore running back Dae’cion Echols was their first score.
The big plays would continue to shred the Bearcat defense as they would give up a 65-yard passing touchdown to allow the Hornets to take control again with a 20-7 lead.
Turnovers would be the name of the game for the purple and white as they committed five total on the night.
“It comes down to taking care of the ball,” Muncie Central head coach Kyle Padgett said. “We’ve been doing that the past five weeks and it wasn’t our night tonight.”
Before halftime, the Bearcats began to gain some momentum led by Cole. His two scores helped close the gap and made it a one score game heading into the locker room.
The Bearcats squandered the momentum they carried as they had a promising drive going to start the second half. However, a high snap led to a fumble recovery by Beech Grove, swinging the momentum back in their favor.
Beech Grove took advantage of the mistakes by the Bearcats and punched in two more scores to put the game out of reach for Muncie Central. The Bearcats couldn’t overcome their mistakes in this matchup and had no answer for the Hornets defensively.
This extended Muncie Central’s streak of postseason losses to seven. Yet the energy around this team has shifted in comparison to years past, and there is a strong belief in the Bearcat locker room that the outgoing seniors have changed the culture.
“They set the standard,” Padgett said. “This group not only set the new standard but then raised it as a group of seniors and that’s going to be their legacy.”
Senior defensive lineman Marvin Mcclinton embodies that mindset. He suffered a meniscus tear in the first game of the season and was out until tonight.
“I couldn’t leave without playing with my brothers,” McClinton said. “This means too much to me, and I feel like if I didn’t get to play with them, I would’ve let them down.”
Other scores around the county included Delta defeating Norwell 47-7 and Yorktown taking down Fort Wayne Concordia 31-14.
Contact David Moore with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @gingninj63