The win snapped an 11-game tournament losing streak to parochial schools, dating back to the 1988 semistate, when the Blue Devils defeated Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 18-16.
But, as euphoric and gratifying as the victory was, coach Aaron Tolle knows the truly meaningful games begin this week, when No. 7 Tipton (8-3) travels to Delphi seeking its fourth straight sectional title.
“It was a very emotional game, and I think that’s one of our big challenges this week,” Tolle said. “We have to get our kids’ heads out the clouds and make them understand that while last week’s game was big, this one is even bigger.
“In tournament play, all you want to do is survive to play the next week,” he continued. “If you can survive, that next week’s game becomes even bigger. We’ve tried to make our kids understand that as big as last week’s win was, they don’t present a trophy for [winning] Round 2. We’ve tried to get across to our kids that every game from here on in has a trophy at stake.”
Delphi (6-5) is a squad Tipton knows well. As Hoosier Conference foes, the Blue Devils have defeated the Oracles 14 straight times dating back to 2001, including a 38-0 win in Delphi in Week 9 of this season on Oct. 18.
Delphi defeated Benton Central (1-9) 21-7 and Southmont (4-7) 40-21 to reach the sectional final round. The Oracles are seeking their first sectional title since 1977.
“It’s scary because I’ve always said it’s extremely tough to beat an opponent twice in one season,” Tolle said. “Now we’re trying to beat an opponent twice in one month. They’ve won two games in a row and I’m sure they’re much more confident than they were three weeks ago. They have reason to be. We have to continue to play at a really high level.”