Penn football returns to semi-state for rematch against Carmel
For Penn football, the postseason in 2017 has, in part, been about revenge.
First, against Valparaiso, the only team to beat the Kingsmen this year. Now, after another regional title, it's back to Carmel in a rematch of last year's semi-state heartbreak.
“There’s always things you wish you could change after the fact but I just know it’s going to be a heck of a football game,” said Kingsmen head coach Cory Yeoman.
“Knowing we were so close to making it to state, it was our determination this summer to make it back there," said senior Jackson Weston. "Hopefully we can make it to the big house.”
“A lot of us seniors," said defensive back Paul Moala, "especially those who played a lot last year, they remember that day like yesterday."
If that 21-10 lost weren't enough motivation, four seasons worth of competition should do it.
These teams have met in this game, each year, since 2013. This will be the seventh postseason meeting between the two teams in 10 years.
During that stretch, Penn only came out on top in the 2015 semi-state matchup, so the Kingsmen know that this game is one way they can truly measure where the program stands.
“Carmel is a great team, a great program," said Moala. "They always come every year with great competition. They’re easy to remember.”
“Our fans love it. Their fans love it. They’re special programs," said Yeoman. "You just look in the trophy cases at each school and you’re going to see a lot of trophies.”
“We always look for good competition," Weston added, "but there’s nothing like the teams down there in Indy. We can’t wait. It’s going to be a good game.”
That's been the case all along for the Kingsmen, as they once again attempt to prove that football in this part of the state can compete on any stage.
“We’re just in the middle of nowhere up here in Northern Indiana," said center Mitch Bernard. "We have all the support of teams around here, even Mishawaka. They just want us to do the best we can and go down there, perform in Indy and see what we can do.”
“You dream about making plays in championship football games," said Yeoman. "When we’re playing one of these schools like this, it’s usually in a championship ball game, and that’s what you play for.”