Gibson Southern wins its first Indiana high school football championship

Twitter photo by @IHSAA1
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Behind record-setting performances by Gibson Southern quarterback Brady Allen and receiver Rory Heltsley, the Titans beat Brefeuf Jesuit 45-35 for the Class 3A championship at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, who sponsor the state championship games. The Titans had to overcome a 19-point deficit to capture the title.

Allen, a Purdue recruit, set a Class 3A game record by completing 28 passes with a record 13 going to Heltsley, who turned those catches into a record 218 yards and a record-tying three touchdowns.

The victory gives coach Nick Hart’s Titans their first state title in their first-ever state finals appearance. It also makes Hart and his father, John, only the second father-son coaching combination to win state titles. John Hart had previously won state championships at Evansville Reitz (2007) and Warren Central (2009).

Brebeuf started fast and moved out to a 26-7 lead with 9:13 left in the first half behind three touchdown receptions (matching the 3A record) by Max Walters.

Gibson Southern (14-1) began its comeback with a 3-yard TD run by Adrean Lukeman and a pair of TD receptions by Heltsley to pull within 29-28 at halftime. The Titans then took the second-half kickoff and drove 80 yards in 12 plays, culminating in an 11-yard scoring pass to Kaden Hurless and GS never trailed again.

Allen finished 28-of-50 passing for 398 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

For the Braves of coach Matt Geske, Walters matched Heltsley with 13 receptions, good for 210 yards and the three scores.

Brebeuf, which was seeking its first state title in its third appearance, finished 12-3.

Ryan Holzmeyer earns the Blake Ress Mental Attitude Award
During the awards ceremony, Ryan Holzmeyer of Gibson Southern High School was announced by the IHSAA Executive Committee as the recipient of the Blake Ress Mental Attitude Award in Class 3A Football.

The award is annually presented to a senior who is nominated by his principal and coach, and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability during his four years of high school.

Ryan maintains a 3.78 GPA with a vigorous workload. He is a leader in the school as evident by his involvement in Beta Club, Theatre, Fifth Quarter (teen outreach program) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where is the president.

Earlier this fall, Holzmeyer met with school administrators about hosting “Veterans Night” prior to one of their home football games. He contacted the local VFW and organized the entire event on his own resulting in over 30 military veterans in attendance.

Besides four years of football, Ryan also played two years of baseball for the Titans earning all-county honors last spring.

He is the son of Jason and Lee Ann Holzmeyer of Fort Branch, IN. He intends to attend Marian University and major in Catholic Studies.

The award is named in honor of Commissioner Emeritus Blake Ress, who served as the IHSAA’s seventh commissioner from 2000-11.

The Indianapolis Colts, a corporate partner of the IHSAA, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Gibson Southern’s general scholarship fund in the name of Ryan Holzmeyer.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.