The Kingsmen are regional champions for the third consecutive season.

The wild bunch defense didn’t play as planned Friday, as they gave up over 500 yards offense. On the first possesion for the defense, was a bad one, giving up a 58 yard passing touchdown thrown by DJ Wilkins. Harvard Football commit Camdon Bohn responded with a 60 yard touchdown to star junior John Olson.

Leading 7 to 6, the Kingsmen defense came out onto the field looking for a momentum swing in the game. The Merrilville Pirates marched down the field and found themselves in a good position, only down 1 point and on the Penn one yard line as the first quarter was ending.

Sophomore standout Paul Moala made a huge sack on the Pirates Quarterback, a loss of nine yards moving Merrilvilles offense to the Penn ten yard line. Reece Treber changed the game, picking off a throw by DJ Wilkins in the redzone. The momentum swung as the Kingsmen offense quickly scored on a 78 yard rushing touchdown by Bohn.

The Kingsmen were on top 14 to 6 and were looking to break open the game. Will Vakalhi intercepted a pass, and then returned it for a 46 yard touchdown.  The game seemed like it was going to turn into another blow out win for the Kingsmen, but the Pirates had something else in mind. Despite the Merrilville offense being forced to punt, on the next possession they capped off a long drive with a 4 yard rush by Wilkins. Even though the Pirates played a sloppy, they found themselves only down two possessions going into the half.

The pirates cut the lead to to 9 and went into the fourth quarter with a real shot at beating the Kingsmen, who are ranked number 6 in the state by the computer rankings of USA today. Penn put the game away with a 30 yard rush by Landon Martz to put the Kingsmen up 56-32.

The Kingmsen will now take on the Carmel Greyhounds, who are emerging as a rival after losing to the Greyhounds the last two years. The Kingsmen look to advance to the state championship for the first time since 2011.


By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to