Rout to a title: Bloomington South completes Conference Indiana sweep

It's been a season full of somewhat unexpected things for Bloomington South's football team and Friday wasn't much different.

Given the graduation losses and numerous question marks, there were no predictors that the Panthers were going to run roughshod over the entirety of Conference Indiana. But here we are. Terre Haute North, Bloomington North, Terre Haute South and Southport found themselves on the wrong side of a 182-21 pummeling altogether.

Certainly in Week 7, Class 6A Columbus North, led by the most prolific quarterback-receiver combination in the league, was going to finally provide the toughest physical and athletic challenge South had faced all season.

And if that's the case, the 5A No. 5 Panthers aced the test, roaring out to a shocking 30-point lead early in the third quarter and posting a 46-15 victory, one that vaults the Panthers into consideration as the best Class 5A team in southern Indiana.

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"There were a lot of things to play for tonight," South coach Gabe Johnson said. "And right now, we're playing well and that's a good thing."

The CI title, South's first since 2016, is a big deal since that same streak coincides with a five-game losing streak to the Bull Dogs, who had won 13 straight conference games.

"It's huge," South quarterback Zach David said. "None of us expected it. We lost a huge senior class last year so we were expecting to just rebuild and do what we could do this year. But obviously, we have a lot of talent, so we're just going."

It was the usual South MO: Come out fast and use all three phases, offense, defense and special teams to put it away.

"We knew they were a good team," South safety/receiver/kick returner Drew Crum-Hieftje said. "I think we just outplayed them tonight."

Off and running and passing

South (6-1, 5-0) got off to its usual quick start, quicker than usual on offense in fact, after receiving the opening kickoff after Columbus won the toss and deferred. The mix of run and pass was as sharp as usual and at 3:41 in, the Panthers were up 7-0.

"We've been kicking off the first six games of the season, so it was weird that we had the ball first," David said. "We just told each other we had to set the tone like the defense has been doing and that's what we did."

South would go on to score on each of its first four possessions to lead 24-3 by halftime.

The defense started the third quarter with a safety and the ensuing TD drive made it 33-3. Read that again, 33-3.

"I think we were just really focused," David said. "All week in practice we've been stressing how big this game is and we've all been super excited and ready for it. We had a great week of practice and it showed out there again."

Close, but no cigar

The only real blemish on South's performance followed as a sluggish finish to the third quarter let Columbus North (3-4, 2-1) linger. It's the first time all year South hasn't delivered the final punch that leads to the running clock when it had the chance.

CN got within 33-15 at 2:34 of the third after two quick TDs, one on a trick play. But South took command again in the fourth, getting the stop and methodical TD drive it needed to put the game away.

"When they got to 15 with the second touchdown, we were all just kind of bug-eyed, like, 'Oh, we've got to go now,'" David said. "So we went right back to what we were doing in the first half and we ran all over them."

Because of the string of lopsided games, South has not had more than 40 snaps the past three weeks, Johnson noted, so the second half as a whole had a certain challenge left to it despite the big lead.

"We're putting up points, which is good," Johnson said. "And that's key. With good teams, we're going to have those hiccups. Good teams force you into tough situations and Columbus North is a good football team and challenged us.

"Not a great third quarter for us. After the safety, it felt pretty good. Then we had some mental lapses we've got to clean up. We want that. We want challenges. We've been fortunate to be in the running clock situation, that's not reality to me."

Running game sets up South

South's run game was on point all night, with 44 carries for 252 yards. Gavin Adams had 31 carries for 164 yards and a TD and Ben Morrison found the end zone.

Their effectiveness caused Columbus North to over-pursue and QBs David and Jarrin Alley took advantage. David had four carries of 48 yards and two touchdowns on designed keepers of 11 and 17. Alley, who took charge of South's third possession, ran three times for 40 yards and a TD.

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"It's nice to be able to run and pass and them not being able to expect what we're doing," David said.

David generally had plenty of time, save for one sack, to find his fleet of receivers, which will no longer include junior wideout D'Andre Black, who tore his ACL last week at Southport. Both tight ends were effective as Tysen Smith had five catches for 42 yards and Sawyer Bailey two for 30.

"The more you practice with them the more chemistry you build," David said. "And I just love all these guys. I trust they can make plays.

Three picks for the Panthers

Crum-Hieftje also had two of South's three interceptions. One went for naught as South fumbled on the ensuing possession, but the second was unforgettable one.

Columbus North was looking for a late addition to the scoreboard when he stripped the ball away from a Bull Dog receiver at his own 2 and tore down the home sidelines all 98 yards for the score with 1:02 left.

It was the second goal-line pick of the game for South as Columbus North tried a fake field goal with five seconds left in the second quarter. Holder Hudson Elwood rolled to his left and tossed the ball toward the end zone, but South was alert and had it covered as Ralph Rogers snagged the pass at the horn to preserve the 21-point edge.

Columbus North piled up its yardage as Zac Horn threw for 242 yards and two scores, both to Cooper Horn, who had seven receptions for 131 yards.

"We knew they were going to do some trick play stuff, which they got us on," Crum-Hieftje said. "But mainly just staying deep. Coach Johnson wanted us to not get beat deep and we did and we did a good job and won the game."

A week off for South

It's a scene Johnson is all too familiar with from the COVID season of 2020. The Panthers will have Week 8 off before heading to Seymour for the season-ender. The Owls, who slipped past Jennings County 21-14, scoring with 35 seconds left for their fourth one-possession win of the season, have New Albany next week.

Meanwhile, South will have South on the schedule.

"We're going to play each other this week," Johnson said. "It's going to be our offense versus our defense. Our staff is going to come in, we're going to practice our kids really hard and we're going to come in Friday evening and scrimmage each other and make sure we keep normalcy and get after each other."

Contact Jim Gordillo at and follow on Twitter @JimGordillo.


Columbus North (3-4, 2-1 CI) 3 | 0 | 12 | 0 — 15

Bloomington South (6-1, 5-0) 7 | 17 | 9 | 13 — 46


BS: Zach David 11 run (Bryce Taylor kick), 8:29. BS, 7-0.

CN: Osian Guest 29 FG, 3:39. BS, 7-3.


BS: Taylor 22 FG, 9:11. BS, 10-3.

BS: Jarrin Alley 22 run (Taylor kick), 4:48. BS, 17-3.

BS: Ben Morrison 4 run (Taylor kick), 2:47, BS, 24-3.


BS: Safety, Zac Horn called for intentional grounding in end zone, 9:33. BS, 26-3.

BS: David 17 run (Taylor kick), 7:37. BS, 33-3.

CN: Cooper Horn 32 pass from Z.Horn (run failed), 5:24. BS, 33-9.

CN: C.Horn 37 pass from Z.Horn (pass failed), 2:34. BS, 33-15.


BS: Gavin Adams 1 run (kick blocked), 3:02. BS, 39-15.

BS: Drew Crum-Hieftje 98 interception return (Taylor kick), 1:02. BS, 46-15.



Columbus North (22-123): Tyler Blythe 15-104, Sam Mormino 4-10, Zac Horn 3-9.

Bloomington South (44-252): Gavin Adams 31-164, Jarrin Alley 3-40, Zach David 5-33, Ben Morrison 3-8, Lucas Waldon 1-9, Drew Crum-Hieftje 1-(-2).


Columbus North (21-36-3-242): Z.Horn 21-34-2-242, Blythe 0-1-0-0, Hudson Elwood 0-1-1-0.

Bloomington South (14-19-0-175): David 13-17-0-165, Alley 1-2-0-10.


Columbus North: Cooper Horn 7-131, Nathan Palmer 6-50, Blythe 5-33, Damon Edwards 2-19, Braylon Thoman 1-9.

Bloomington South: Tysen Smith 5-42, Crum-Hieftje 3-28, Waldon 3-18, Sawyer Bailey 2-30, Ty Tschetter 1-57

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Bloomington South High School football completes conference sweep