While the Brownstown Central football team walloped Charlestown 46-14 in Week 2 of the regular season, Braves coach Reed May doesn’t see the same Pirates squad heading into tomorrow’s Sectional 31 semifinals matchup at “The Boneyard.”
Last Friday, against No. 2 Heritage Hills, the Pirates scored 32 second-half points to take down the postseason favorite 39-37 at home.
In recent games, the Pirates (8-2) have relied on a ground-and-pound offense.
The Pirates’ three-headed rushing attack of Tate Boley, Antonyo Gaddie and quarterback Brendan Lawler combined for 444 rushing yards to take down Heritage.
Lawler went just 2 for 4 passing with one touchdown and 45 yards.
In their postseason-opener against Salem, the Braves (8-2) came out sluggish, May said.
Despite the slow start, the Braves built a 22-6 lead before halftime and closed out the game 43-18.
“Salem did some things different, so I give them credit,” May said. “The week before, against Corydon, we played really well. Against Salem, we didn’t play so well. That’s kind of what you guard against when you play a team twice. We’re going to play Charlestown twice, but they’ve kept improving. I think the first game is misleading. It’s always tough to beat a team twice.”
The Braves will need a stifling defense to eliminate the Pirates from contention.
In their first matchup, the Braves limited the Pirates to just 77 rushing yards, as Gaddie finished with 22, Boley had 33 and Lawler had minus-5.
The Braves utilized their run, with 303 yards from seven different rushers.
“The first game is kind of misleading because they had a new coach and Gaddie had been suspended all summer, and they had a couple other guys suspended for our game,” May said. “We lost 21 seniors and I’m not sure how they took us either. I think it was a combination of things that led to the score in the first game. This is going to be a heck of a game (tomorrow).”
May said that the Pirates’ offense, on film, has evolved since their first matchup.
“They’re running the ball,” May said. “In the first game we played them, they played one type of offense. They’re now doing multiple formations and running the ball. Going into the game, Hertiage was one of the best defenses in the state in Class 3A. I think a lot of it is that they finally figured out what offense they want to run. Defensively, they changed some things too.
The Pirates have made major coaching changes since 2014.
Jason Hawkins, who coached the Pirates from 2007 to 2013, left the program last season to coach at Silver Creek.
After a one-year stint, Hawkins returned to head the Pirates this season.
The Pirates have size to their advantage in the contest.
“We have our game plan with a scouting report, but the thing is, you need to adjust to different things,” May said. “They have a plan, too. It’s hard to focus on one guy in particular because those three guys each rushed for 100 yards each and they threw the ball. They have a tight end (Jamal Long) who is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds which also creates mismatches. They’re huge. By the fourth quarter, against Heritage, they just wore them down. They pounded, pounded, pounded the ball. They have big, physical linemen.”
Last season, the Braves, who were presumably the favorites to win the sectional, fell to the Pirates 27-16.
That night, at “The Boneyard,” saw rain, sleet and snow.
“I think it’s tough for them to play us here, and tough for us to go there,” May said. “Anytime you go on the road against a good team it’s hard. It’s going to be a tough game. We’ve won down there in the past, so it’s not like we’ve never won down there.
“Unfortunately last year we didn’t win. It’s kind of ironic we’re playing them the second game again this year, down there again. It will be fun. It’s Halloween weekend, and the crowd will all be dressed up. It’s something exciting for the kids because you like to play at those venues with big crowds. It will be a hostile crowd, and I’m sure we will have a great crowd, too.”
While he isn’t hyping his guys too much, May said his seniors and coaching staff haven’t forgotten last year’s loss.
“I think they will be jacked-up,” May said of his senior group. “I’m trying to not get them too jacked-up now because it’s early (Tuesday). They will be Friday night. Last year left a bad taste in our mouth. We had a great group of seniors. It’s something the kids remember. I’m not going to mention it much, but if I”m a senior I remember. I’m sure they remember how the end of last year’s game felt and they will use that to help prepare them for Friday.”
Should the Braves win, they will host the winner of Southridge (7-3) and Corydon (6-4). The Braves bested Corydon 57-6 on Oct. 16.
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“Last year left a bad taste in our mouth. We had a great group of seniors. It’s something the kids remember. I’m not going to mention it much, but if I”m a senior I remember. I’m sure they remember how the end of last year’s game felt and they will use that to help prepare them for Friday.”
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The Brownstown Central High School varsity football coaches have announced awards for Friday’s 43-18 win against Salem.
Earning honors are Justin Donnells, Offensive Back MVP; Jacob Brewer, Offensive Line MVP; Trevor Colby, Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker MVP; Matt Nierman, Defensive Back/Dime MVP; Kyle Kramer, Special Teams MVP; Julian Deaton, Scout Team MVP; Clay Wilkerson, Clay Hauer, Tyler Neal, black jersey winners.
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What: Brownstown Central (8-2) at Charlestown (8-2), Sectional 31 semifinals
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Dutch Reis Field (The Boneyard)
Last outing: Brownstown Central def. Salem 43-18, Charlestown def. Heritage hills 39-37
Most recent meeting: Brownstown Central won 46-14 on Aug. 28
Series past 30 years: Brownstown Central 23-15