Uncharacteristic mistakes silence Snider’s playoff dreams, season

Members of Snider's offensive line look downfield while waiting on another penalty to be marched off against them during the third quarter Friday night against Carmel. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

Members of Snider's offensive line look downfield while waiting on another penalty to be marched off against them during the third quarter Friday night against Carmel. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

Maybe the most striking thing about the end of Friday’s Snider-Carmel regional championship game was the absolute silence.

While defending Class 6A state champion Carmel celebrated a 22-21 win, everyone else was virtually silent as they filed out of Spuller Stadium. It was like the Panthers and their fans are so unused to losing football games no one knew what to say to each other or to console the players or how to react.

Snider, 11-1, isn’t used to losing home games, especially not this way. The Panthers lost their 20-game home winning streak because they helped beat themselves. An interception and a fumble contributed, but the main factor, at least statistically, were 11 penalties. The critical ones seemed to come after the Panthers had built a 21-7 early third-quarter lead following a 70-yard Michael Haupert run up the Carmel sideline, an interception and then a 2-yard pass from Haupert to Simon Dellinger.

The Panthers seemed to have control, momentum and the crowd all leaning the same way, but then they started making uncharacteristic mistakes such as the penalties and a punt snap out of the end zone for a safety.

“We made some really good plays, and at times made some mistakes,” Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said. “At this time of the playoffs, mistakes are usually what determines the game.”

Those are the kind of things the Panthers typically use to dominate opponents, not help their foes, but Carmel was a good enough team to take advantage of them, scoring on a pair of Willy Schmidt runs to wipe out the momentum and then take the lead. In a defensive struggle where both teams were battling cold hands as well as each other, the offenses were conservative, maybe concentrating on just avoiding back-breaking mistakes. Then the Panthers made them and could never regain control.

“We just lost our minds mentally,” Haupert said. “I kept reminding the guys to stay mentally focused because anything could happen. It came down to turnovers and mistakes, and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of that.”

The Panthers fought all the way to the end, but the momentum and field position had flipped into Carmel’s favor. The Greyhounds got just enough first downs to control the field position battle, and then the Panthers would get hit with another critical penalty to kill their own drives or extend those for the Greyhounds on third downs.

“We must made a lot of mistakes,” Tippmann said. “There were all kinds of mistakes… It just kind of snowballed into two series of a lot of mistakes and that’s what costs you games.”

Haupert finished 17-of-28 for 118 yards and two touchdowns and also ran 14 times for 145 yards and a score, but Christian Covington was held to 25 yards on eight carries. Snider out-gained the Greyhounds 278-267. The Greyhounds were called for 13 penalties for 113 yards, and Snider 11 for 111 yards, but the timing of the Panthers’ infractions was critical.

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