Updated: Saturday, 17 Nov 2012, 12:11 AM EST
Published : Saturday, 17 Nov 2012, 12:11 AM EST
CLICK ON VIDEO TAB TO SEE WANE'S EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS PLUS POST-GAME INTERVIEWS.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - After prepping all week for an explosive Merrillville offense - it was Snider that put up the points on Friday night. The Panthers outlasted the Pirates 42-39 to advance to the programs first 5A state championship game since 2004.
Snider was actually outgained by Merrillville 523 yards to 416, but strong special teams play cut the field in half for the Panthers - as the Panthers picked up 97 yards on kickoff returns.
Tyrell Swain led the way for the Panther's vaunted ground attack, carrying 15 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Je'norie Smith added 79 yards rushing. Quarterback Brandon Phelps was equally as impressive, completing 12-of-18 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. Addison Dellinger was the primary target in the passing game, hauling in four catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, including a 53-yard score in the first quarter.
Merrillville's Jake Raspopovich was impressive in defeat, the quarterback completing 22-of-39 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Dylon Collins rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Snider will travel to Indianapolis to face unbeaten and No. 1 Lawrence Central in the state championship on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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