COAL CITY — Facing the prospects of one loss effectively knocking it from the playoff picture, Wyoming East wasn’t about to let that happen.
Caleb Bower made sure of that, in historic fashion.
The junior rushed for a school-record 388 yards and four touchdowns as the Class AA No. 14 Warriors knocked off No. 19 Independence Friday night.
Bower’s record rushing night topped the previous record of 361, set by Tank Tunstalle in 2000, against, ironically, Independence.
Those are the only 300-yard rushing games in school history.
The record offset a fine performance by Independence sophomore Atticus Goodson, who rushed for 241 yards and three touchdowns. He had 227 yards after halftime and all three touchdowns.
His big night helped him set the Patriots single-season rushing mark with an area-best 1,756 yards.
Independence did not find the end zone until the third quarter and trailed Wyoming East 21-2 at the half.
The Patriots, who would be eliminated from the playoff picture with a loss, did not go away quietly.
And it became a mano-a-mano battle between Goodson and Bower in the third quarter.
The Patriots scored on their first play from scrimmage on a 58-yard run by Goodson and after a turnover, big man Marcel Guy, who doubled between the line and backfield, scored on a short 4-yard run to make it 21-14.
That’s when the real fun started.
First Bower gave the Warriors a two-touchdown lead back on the Warriors next offensive play with a 62-yard run with 2:19 left in the third quarter.
Goodson came right back and made it 28-20 on Independence’s next offensive play with a 50-yard run.
After a long-run into the red zone, Bower cashed in a 2-yard run to make it 35-20.
Wyoming East got the ball right back and Bower scored on a 38-yard run to make it 42-20 with 10:56 left in the game.
Goodson returned the favor again with a 53-yard run, making it 42-28.
When the dust cleared, the teams had scored 41 points in a span of four minutes.
There would be no more scoring, and McQuade Canada ended the game late with his fifth interception of the season.
The Warriors, penalized for taunting before the opening kickoff, wasted little time getting started, as Bower went 80 yards for a touchdown in the first play from scrimmage, the same way Independence would open the second half.
Alex Hall added a touchdown run making it 14-0.
Independence finally got on the board early in the second quarter when Hunter Williams and Cody Fleenor tackled a Warriors ballcarrier in the end zone for a safety.
After scoring on their first play of the half the Warriors scored on their final play of the half on a 8-yard reverse pass from McQuade Canada to Jake Bishop.
It was Canada’s record touchdown pass of the season and Bishops sixth touchdown reception.
That made it 21-2 at the break.
Quarterback Seth Ross threw for 73 yards and now has 1,326 yards on the season.
Canada led the receivers with three catches for 35 yards.
Clay Lester had a big game defensively with 17 tackles and a fumble recovery. Tanner Jenkins, Alex Hall and Jake Bishop had eight tackles and Dakota McBride and Chase York had seven each.
Lydia Crook made 6 of 6 PATs and is now 13 for 13 on the season in two games.
Wyoming East has now won seven games, the total number of games the seniors on the team won in their first three years in the program.
Wyoming East will try to make its first postseason appearance since 2014 next week when the Warriors host Liberty Friday night on Senior Night at the War Zone. Liberty beat Wyoming East last season 30-0.
Wyoming East 42, Independence 28
Wyoming East 14 7 14 7 — 42
Independence 0 2 18 8 — 28
WE -Caleb Bower 80 run (Lydia Crook kick), 14:46
WE — Alex Hall 4 run (Crook kick), 5:28
I — safety, Hunter Williams and Cody Fleenor tackled runner tackled in end zone, 10:57
WE — Jake Bishop 8 pass from McQuade Canada (Crook kick), :09.3
I — Atticus Goodson 58 run (run failed), 14:46
I — Marcell Guy 1 run (run failed), 2:32
WE — Bower 65 run (Crook kick), 2:22
I — Goodson 51 run (run failed), 2:15
WE — Bower 2 run (Crook kick), 1:04.
WE — Bower 38 run (Crook kick), 10:55
I — Goodson 53 run (Guy run). 10:32
RUSHING — WE: Caleb Bower 27-388-4, Alex Hall 5-20-1, Caden Lookabill 1-20, Chase York 1-0m Tanner Jenkins 1-(minus-1), Seth Ross 2-(minus-9).Indy: Atticus Goodson 21-241-3, Marcell Guy 9-40-1, Phillip Spurlock 3-25, Cody Fleenor 9-17, J. Monroe 1-6, Andrew Martin 2-9minus-1).
PASSING — WE: Seth Ross 7-13-0-73-0, McQuade Canada 1-1-0-8-1. Indy: Spurlock 2-5–1-10-0, Fleenor 0-2-0-0-0.
RECEIVING — WE: McQuade Canada 3-35-0, Caden Lookabill 2-15, Masopn Houck 1-13, Matt Caldwell 1-11, Jake Bishop 1-8-1. Indy: Fleenor 1-8, Goodson 1-2.
TURNOVERS — WE: Clay Lester FR, McQuade Canada INT.