Photo by Debbie Beigh/Times Sentinel
Zionsville Times Sentinel

Zionsville football fans who traveled to Noblesville Friday, Sept. 1 had to buckle up for an emotional roller coaster ride provided by their team.

The Eagles beat the Millers 55-41. The win gave Zionsville coach Larry McWhorter his 100th career victory. The first half appeared to be a blowout, but the Millers made a big second half comeback.

Noblesville received the opening kickoff and were moving down the field until junior Andrew Mildenberg intercepted a pass by Noblesville junior quarterback Sam Swafford.

That brought the Eagles' offense, and their first play was a big one. Senior quarterback Tyler Reimer found his favorite target, senior Jon Pavey, for a 31-yard gain, A few plays later, Reimer took the ball from the four-yard line to the end zone for the first touchdown of the night.

Reimer can do it all, and proved it by kicking the extra point right afterwards. With that, the score was 7-0, Zionsville.

The Eagles held the Millers to three-and-out on their next possession. Zionsville took advantage on its next possession, as freshman Blake Lueders scored on a three-yard touchdown run. Reimer again kicked the extra point.

That ended the first quarter, and the second quarter was more of the same. It began when Zionsville’s defense stepped up again by stopping Noblesville’s offense on a fourth-down and three situation.

The football was again in Reimer’s hands, and he delivered. He shook off two tackles, ducked under a third, and only after that did he throw a pass that sailed 55 yards into Pavey’s hands. The result was another touchdown. Reimer made this third extra point of the night to give Zionsville a 21-0 score.

Noblesville went three-and-out again, but would quickly get the ball back by intercepting Reimer. With the ball on the Millers’ own 35-yard line, Swafford found senior Zach Birge for a 15 yard-pass play. Birge would later pick up a first down.

But on third-and-3, the Millers fumbled, and the Eagles’ senior Spenser Rohler recovered the ball - and then returned it 72 yards for a touchdown. After all this, there was still 1 minute, 13 seconds left to play in the half.

Noblesville returned the kick to the 44-yard line, and a pass interference flag on the Eagles put the home team in Zionsville territory. Three passes later, the Millers were on the board with a touchdown. But there were only 9.2 seconds left in the half. Noblesville tried an onside kick, but the Eagles recover and the half ended.

The Eagles received the ball to start the second half. Pavey would catch a long touchdown pass from Reimer early, and seconds later, a Noblesville kickoff took a bounce right into the hands of Zionsville junior Jacob Cox. He took it in for a touchdown. But the Millers blocked the extra point kick and it was 41-6.

Three flags against the Eagles gave the Millers a first down at Zionsville’s 11, and Noblesville ran the ball in to score.

The Eagles’ next drive ended with their first punt of the night. But Noblesville’s next drive ended when Zionsville junior Brian Hoyer caught an interception, one of three for him on the night. He would return this one 51 yards for the Eagles seventh touchdown of the night.

Thirty seconds later, the Millers scored, an cut the Eagles’ advantage to 48-20. That ended the third quarter scoring.

Moving ahead to the fourth quarter, Noblesville scored again with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the game. The Millers’ new quarterback, senior Zach Haselhorst hit junior receiver Raymond Burks in the end zone to cut Zionsville’s lead to 48-27.

An Eagles three - and - out gave the Millers the ball again, and they several short pass plays to get a first down at Zionsville’s 27. Birge caught a reception at the Zionsville14 to earn another first down, and that was all Haselhorst needed to score. With 6:03 remaining in the game, the score was now 48-34. The stands were full, but the seats were empty.

The Eagles had the ball, but not for long as Reimer was soon intercepted. But Zionsville responded with an interception of its own with 4:23 left.

Noblesville answered right back, though, as a third-down sack made it fourth-and-14 for Zionsville. The Eagles punted to the Millers, but they wouldn’t have the ball for long, as Zionsville picked them off. That was the Eagles’ sixth interception of Noblesville on the night.

Zionsville went three-and-out again, but Hoyer ended the Millers’ scoring hopes with another interception. Hoyer ran it back to the three-yard line. The Eagles decided the air seemed dangerous, so they took this one in on the ground. That made the score 55-34.

The Millers junior Joey Casey returned the kick 87 yards, giving the Millers the ball at the Eagles 11. All Noblesville needed was one play, as the Millers passed for their sixth touchdown.

Noblesville got an onside kick, but Zionsville’s defense stepped up again with one more interception at the 1:27 mark. Finally, the Eagles could put this one in the book.

Zionsville will play in the RCA Dome at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8 when it faces Hamilton Southeastern in the PeyBack Classic.

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