INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The East Central Trojans took the state football title Saturday for the first time since 1994.
The Trojans (12-3) beat previously undefeated Lowell 14-7 in the IHSAA 4A State Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Quarterback Alex Maxwell's 6-yard TD run with two minutes left broke a 7-7 tie and Nathan Lloyd's second interception with 1:35 left clinched the victory.
East Central coach Justin Roden said he was impressed by the large number of East Central fans that drove up from St. Leon and Dearborn County, but he was blown away by his team’s heart and willingness to fight for a win.
“It really is awesome. I look out there in the crowd and we’ve got … we sold out of pre-sale tickets this week … I told everybody in the community, I’m very humble,” Roden said. “They came out full force tonight.
“They should be very proud of their kids. They battled. Even when the (opponent's) kids are faster, bigger, stronger -- they found a way to get it done.”
Though East Central had only 207 yards of offense, the Trojans defense forced three Lowell turnovers in their territory.
Lloyd had an interception in the end zone just before halftime after Lowell had driven to the 11-yard line. In the third quarter, Logan Moser had a big hit to cause a Lowell fumble.
Lloyd's second interception came after Lowell had driven to the East Central 24.
East Central had another big stop in the fourth quarter, breaking up a fourth-down pass in the end zone with 7:19 left.
Lowell (14-1) scored in the first quarter on Jordan Jusevitch's 1-yard run following an 11-play, 78-yard march. But that was all the scoring for the Red Devils.
EC tied it 7-7 in the second quarter when Maxwell threw a 13-yard TD pass to Justin Brown. A few plays earlier, East Central had lined up for a 37-yard field goal on fourth-and-5, but an offsides penalty by Lowell kept the drive alive.