BY MIKE RILEY
Unbelievable. Just totally unbelievable.
The magical season of the Charlestown Pirates came to a screeching halt Friday as Gibson Southern traveled to Dutch Reis Field, trailed 49-14 at one point before staging an (here's that word again) unbelievable comeback in a 57-49 victory and a Class 3A Regional championship.
Charlestown (12-1) led 49-21 at halftime. That made for the 11th straight game that Charlestown had scored 40 points before halftime. The Pirates entered play on Friday ranked No. 2 in Class 3A and were leading the state in scoring at around 60 points a game.
Someone forgot to tell the Titans.
The Pir ates led 28-0 following Seth McCutchen's second touchdown of the game, a 46-yard run, Gibson Southern (11-2) then drove 65 yards in eight plays to get on the board as quarterback Jordan Scheller threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Schmitt to trim the lead to 28-7 with 4:08 left before halftime.
The last four minutes of the first half, let's refer to that as "fast break football."
Charlestown quarterback Aaron Daniel scored on a 22-yard run. Scheller then responded with a pass that went right th rough the hands of a Charlestown defender and into the hands of Brooks Martin who took it 60 yards for a touchdown.
Daniel responded on first down with a 47-yard pass to Tyler Odle. Two plays later Daniel threw for 12 yards to Wesley Sexton for his second touchdown pass of the game.
With just 1:32 remaining before halftime, Scheller drove his team 72 yards in nine plays — throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Josh Elpers.
But the Pirates weren't finished as Daniel and Odle connected again, this time for 49 yards and a 49-21 lead with 13 seconds left in the half.
Gibson Southern had one more play left in them and it almost worked. Scheller threw to Schmitt, who lateraled the ball to Elpers, but after about a 50-yard gain, he was run out of bounds as the half ended.
The Pirates were shut out in the seco nd half. The Titans scored four touchdowns in the third quarter as Scheller threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more. Gibson Southern took a 57-49 lead as time expired in the third quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Scheller to Martin. Scheller then ran for a two-point conversion. Scheller ended the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run with 7:15 left in the game.
Charlestown had one last drive in them, but Daniel threw an incomplete pass on fourth down from the Charlestoown 40, turning the ball over on downs with 2:03 left. Gibson Southern then ran out the clock.
"We didn' t change anything at halftime," said Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins."We came out in the second half and didn't get it done. But give most of the credit to them. They had played two recent overtime games, they didn't give up and once the momentum changed, we couldn't get it back."
Daniel, in his final game with the Pirates, completed 14-of-24 passes for 222 yards and three touch downs with one interception. He also ran for 181 yards on 26 carries with touchdown runs of 55 and 22 yards. McCutcheon ran for 82 yards on 15 carries. Odle had seven receptions for 131 yards.
Scheller completed 26 of 38 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns. He ran for 88 yards on 29 carries with three touchdowns. Schmitt had 12 receptions for 230 yards.
"We made some mistakes early on," said Gibson Southern coach Nick Hart. "We had been there before. We were down 35-0 in Week 9. But this is a special group of kids — they have a lot of heart and character.
"Scheller and Daniel are two great quarterbacks. It was great to see those two going against each other. "
And while the season ends for the Pirates, Gibson Southern will host Indianapolis Chatard next Friday with a trip to the state finals on the line.
"We're hurting right now," Hawkins said. "But we played 48 minutes tonight and didn't give up. I have 19 seniors on this team, and I'm going to have trouble saying goodbye to them."
CLASS 3A REGIONAL
GIBSON SOUTHERN 57, CHARLESTOWN 49
Gibson Southern 0 21 29 7—57
Charlestown 14 35 0 0—49
C — Tyler Odle 15 pass from Aaron Daniel (Daniel kickoff), 7:44.
C — Seth McCutchen 1 run (Daniel kick), 4:12.
C — Aaron Daniel 55 run (Daniel kick), 9:14.
C — McCutchen 47 run (Daniel kick), 7:06.
GS — Spencer Schmitt 7 pass from Jordan Scheller (Hunter DeWeese kick), 4:08.
C — Daniel 22 run (Daniel kick), 3:08.
GS — Brooks Martin 60 pass from Scheller (DeWeese kick), 2:23.
C — Wesley Sexton 12 pass from Daniel (Daniel kick), 1:32.
GS — DeWeese 7 pass from Scheller (DeWeese kick), :47.
C — Odle 49 pass from Daniel (Daniel kick), :15.
GS — Schmitt 65 pass from Scheller (DeWeese kick), 11:35.
GS — Scheller 1 run (DeWeese kick), 5:35.
GS — Scheller 9 run (Scheller run), 1:39.
GS — Martin 5 pass from Scheller (DeWeese kick), :00.
GS — Scheller 14 run (DeWeese kick), 7:50.
Gibson Southern (44-113): Scheller 29-88, Daulton Armstrong 8-19, David Anguish 2-5, Garrett Elpers 1-2, Adam Heath 1-(minus 1); Charlestown (41-263): Daniel 26-181, McCutchen 15-82.
Gibson Southern (26-38-447-0): Scheller 26-38-447-0; Charlestown (14-24-222-1): Daniel 14-24-222-1.
Gibson Southern: Schmit 12-230, Elpers 3-71, Martin 3-69, Heath 2-58, Andrew Zilliak 5-19; Charlestown: Odle 7-131, Sexton 5-53, McCutchen 2-38.