MERRILLVILLE – Merrillville senior quarterback Jake Raspopovich threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Pirates defeated Carroll 50-21 in a Class 5A regional game Friday.
Raspopovich completed 13 of 18 passes for 281 yards and was intercepted once by Andrew Noll. Raspopovich also ran for 90 yards on nine carries and had a rushing touchdown.
The Pirates (11-2) wasted no time getting on the board, driving 86 yards on four plays on their opening drive. Raspopovich found Aaron Dye from 45 yards out. Matt Warren missed the point-after attempt, and Merrillville led 6-0 with 10:15 left.
On the Chargers’ first snap from scrimmage, Christian Terry pass was intercepted by Ryan Neal, setting up a 36-yard field goal by Warren as Merrillville went up 9-0 with 8:19 left in the first.
A blocked punt gave the Pirates great field position on the Chargers’ 24, and six plays later, Bryant Isabell scored from a yard out. Again, the PAT was wide right and the first quarter ended with the Pirates up 15-0.
The Pirates picked right back up on the first snap of the second quarter as Raspopovich hit Nate Bride on a 65-yard scoring strike. Raspopovich then added a 23-yard touchdown run.
After the two Warren kicks, the Pirates led 29-0 with 6:20 remaining before halftime.
The Pirates got one more crack at the end zone, and a Tyrie Fuller 1-yard run gave Merrillville a 36-0 halftime lead.
The Chargers (10-3) started the second half with their best drive of the game, covering 38 yards on eight plays, but Brandon Oliver intercepted Terry’s pass at the 30-yard line to kill the drive.
The Pirates needed just three plays to cover the 70 yards as Raspopovich hit Brian Jenkins for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The Warren kick made it 43-0 with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
Oliver’s second pick of a Terry pass gave the Pirates the ball at the 14-yard line, and Dylon Collins wouldn’t be denied as he broke numerous tackles and scored from 10 yards out to make it 50-0.
The Chargers scored in the final 14 minutes as Terry hit Justin Tranquill on a 29-yard pass. Tranquill caught another pass at the 5-yard line and fought his way into the end zone.
Justin’s brother, Drue, grabbed a Terry pass from 9 yards out and also scored on a 3-yard run. The three Bayden Lee kicks closed out the scoring at 50-21.