ZIONSVILLE — The Zionsville football team couldn’t have asked for a much better start Friday night in the opening round of the sectional against Pike.
The Eagles jumped up to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in a 36-0 win over the Red Devils.
“It was a testament to the weeks of practice we had and we had great game plans offensively and defensively,” Zionsville head coach Scott Turnquist said. “It came down to coming out and executing what we wanted to do, and our kids started fast and got things rolling right away.”
After forcing a Pike punt on the opening possession, Zionsville went 59 yards all on the ground and took a 7-0 lead on a 8-yard run by Colin Price.
Pike took a safety on its next possession after a bad snap went through the punter’s legs, and the Eagles’ ground game went back to work, with Price carrying five times for 53 yards and scoring from seven yards out.
Starting quarterback Cole Wiseman was injured three plays into the game, so Price had a bigger load than normal in the first half, carrying it on 23 of the Eagles’ 29 plays.
He finished with 32 carries for 210 yards.
“We know we can rely on the offensive line and Colin and they came through again,” Turnquist said. “They dominated the football game from start to finish and when you have a senior group like that up front, it just helps out when injuries happen and you need guys to step up.”
Chris Freeman added short field goals in the second and third quarters to make it 22-0 midway through the third quarter.
The Eagles added a 7-yard touchdown pass from Josh Stone to Dom Vechiarella in the fourth quarter, and a 25-yard touchdown run from Jacob Horton.
Stone was 6 of 11 for just 33 yards, but Turnquist said he felt like the back-up quarterback got more comfortable as the game went on.
“There is always going to be a little bit of jitters with a kid coming in for that situation,” Turnquist said. “I thought he handled it really well. The thing we know about Josh is that he is really calm and he is going to make sure he stays calm and cool. He really just did what we needed to do to manage the game.”
It was the second shutout of the season for the Zionsville defense, which allowed just 192 yards and 12 first downs.
Pike had one real scoring chance in the second quarter, but the Eagles blocked a field goal attempt.
“It is huge to get the shutout and it’s a big confidence builder for those guys,” Turnquist said. “Most importantly, they played physical football and they took advantage of the things that were given to them. That is what we have been preaching all year, and hopefully we can keep that momentum going.”
Zionsville will host Brownsburg for the sectional championship next Friday at 7 p.m.
Turnquist knows that the Bulldogs provide a tough game for anybody.
“We know it is one of the best teams in the state and we need a good week of practice to prepare,” Turnquist said. “But it helps that we played them fairly recently, I know our coaching staff will have a great plan and we are going to do our best to execute it.”