Brownstown Central’s grand plan to conquer Sectional 31 is staying right on course.
They’ve drubbed Brown County in the opening contest, and now the Braves look to end Salem’s hopes of a deep tournament run — en route to getting back to the sectional championship game.
In last week’s first-round victory, the Braves (9-1) thrashed the Eagles at Blevins Memorial Stadium 62-0.
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Scoring 29 points in the opening quarter before adding another 13 in the second, Brownstown ripped a big enough deficit to play their junior varsity squad for most all of the second half.
“They followed the game plan,” Braves coach Reed May said. “Brown County had been struggling all year scoring points. In practice all week, our first team was in, but the backups were our JV-type players that haven’t gotten to play a lot. Our starters knew what to do, but the backups had to also get the shutout.”
The Braves amassed 424 rushing yards with eight touchdowns on the ground. The offense scored on nine of 12 possessions with all nine scores on plays longer than 10 yards.
On defense, they earned a pair of interceptions — from freshman Derek Thompson and senior Carson Lambring — and held the Eagles to 38 yards on 44 plays.
While Brownstown defeated Salem (6-4) 49-12 in their Mid-Southern Conference matchup Sept. 9, the Lions have gone 4-2 since.
Last week, the Lions mauled Corydon Central 49-20.
Under center, senior Seth Hobson has commanded the Lions’ offense (averaging 33.5 points per game) through the air.
He currently holds three impressive records at Salem, with 3,490 career passing yards, 41 career TD passes and 1,744 single-season passing yards.
Hobson’s favorite target is junior Evan Brishaber.
At Salem, Brishaber owns the following records: Career receiving yards (1,605), career receiving TDs (21), single-season receiving TDs (15), single-season receiving yards (1,052) and single-game receiving TDs (4).
The Lions amassed 381 yards of offense while holding Corydon to 284 on Oct. 21.
Hobson was 11 of 16 with 273 yards and five TDs passing while running for 31 and a TD on six carries.
Brishaber managed five catches with 152 yards and four TDs.
Despite all of the firepower, the Lions have struggled on defense. They’re giving up 25.8 points per game.
In their first contest, the Braves’ defense stepped up big in the opening minutes to gain all of the momentum.
Brownstown built a 36-0 lead and compiled 425 offensive yards on just 35 plays.
The Braves’ Gavin Bane ended with 22 points on 133 yards, while fellow senior Kyle Kramer went 5 for 6 for 172 passing yards and two TDs.
“We were fortunate in the first game by getting two interceptions and converting them to points,” May said. “They’re a lot better team than the last score indicated. I’m sure they’re excited for another shot at us. It’s hard to beat a team twice.
“We’re harping on the kids that we don’t want any regrets. We’re going to have to play our game. (Salem) has aspirations and won’t rollover dead on us. We’re expecting a pretty tight game this week.”
Should the Braves win Friday, they will travel to the winner of North Harrison (8-2) and Southridge (9-1).
North Harrison pulled off an upset by defeating Charlestown (8-2) 17-14, while Southridge outlasted Heritage Hills (7-3) 37-34 in double overtime.
“Southridge had beaten (Heritage Hills) earlier in the year, but it was at Southridge,” May said. “I figured it would be a great game. North Harrison beating Charlestown is kind of a shocker.
“Our side of the bracket is about normal, but whoever wins the other bracket is interesting. If we’re fortunate to win, we’re on the road. I’m not sure which one we would rather play. It’s tough to beat a team twice (North Harrison), but Southridge has a great team this year.”
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Class 3A Sectional 31 Semifinals
What: Brownstown Central (9-1) at Salem (6-4)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Radio: 96.3 WJAA
Where: Graves Field
Last outing: Brownstown Central def. Brown County 62-0.
Previous meeting: Brownstown Central won 49-12 on Sept. 9, 2016.
Series past 30 years: Brownstown Central 24-12.