Not missing a beat: Brownstown Central gets offense going, blasts past Panthers


For The Tribune


Meet the new Braves. Same as the old Braves.

Brownstown Central’s football team lost, depending on the statistical category in question, anywhere between 79 and 99.5 percent of its offense from last season’s semistate squad.

None of that mattered during Friday night’s season-opener, however, as Brownstown started quickly, dominated both sides of the ball and pulled away to a convincing 44-14 victory against Corydon Central.

“Not bad for our first game out,” Brownstown head coach Reed May said. “Our (offensive) line did a good job, our slots played well and defensively I thought we did a really good job. But we’re still inexperienced. We’ll learn a lot from the film. We have a lot to look at.”

Friday was the Braves’ 12th consecutive win in season-opening games. Brownstown most recently lost an opener in 2005 and is now 23-2 in opening games since May took over as head coach.

The Braves wasted no time getting started against Corydon. On the game’s first snap, junior Caleb Bollinger broke off a 65-yard touchdown run, giving Brownstown a 7-0 lead just 11 seconds into the game.

Payton Barker regained the football for the Braves soon after by intercepting a Corydon Central pass at the Panther 35 yard line, setting up one-yard Braeden Walker TD run that boosted BC’s lead to 14-0.

Brownstown stopped Corydon’s next possession at midfield and then watched senior Lendon Underwood scoop up a mishandled snap on a Panthers punt attempt. Underwood galloped 37 yards for a touchdown and Brownstown found itself with a 21-point advantage less than eight minutes into the first quarter.

Colton Ritz, Matthew Bell and Reece Covert each added a short-run touchdown for the Braves. In all, Brownstown scored on seven of its eight possessions.

For Brownstown fans still thinking about last season’s one-point semistate loss to Lawrenceburg, during which multiple failed two-point conversions proved to be decisive, sophomore kicker Ethan Sevakis’ 24-yard field goal and 5-for-6 effort on point-after-touchdown attempts was a promising development.

“He was a nervous wreck tonight,” May said of Sevakis, who is in his first season of football. “He’s still learning, but we hope he’ll be a good kicker for us. Kickers can be weapons, as we know.”

Defensively, the Braves were opportunistic throughout the game. Underwood added a second-half fumble recovery to his first-half return, while Bell finished with two quarterback sacks.

Barker, Luke Shelton, Braeden Walker, Gus Hogan and Braden Neal combined for eight tackles for loss that pushed the Panthers back 20 yards. Seth Borden highlighted the pass defense with a well-timed pass break up to deny Corydon an early touchdown.

Bollinger led Brownstown’s runner with 97 yards on just four carries. Hogan, meanwhile, played like a Swiss army knife, running for key yardage, passing efficiently when necessary and even booting a 48-yard punt.

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