Braves to face Lawrenceburg in sectional opener

During the sectional realignment process, Brownstown Central football coach Reed May had a feeling the Braves would face a familiar foe in the postseason.

His inkling proved right.

The Braves (8-1) will travel back to Lawrenceburg on Friday evening to kick off the postseason.

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In 2016, the Braves and Tigers met in the Class 3A semistate.

If last year’s 41-40 Tigers win, which was decided by PATs, is any indication of the game to come, the sectional bout could prove to be a shootout.

The Tigers (8-1) are riding an eight-game winning streak and have averaged 41.4 points per game while holding the opposition to 13.2 points.

Lawrenceburg’s lone loss this season was to East Central (15-14) in its season-opener.

Brownstown also is winning by wide margins.

In the regular season, the Braves averaged 36.4 points while giving up 11.8 points on average.

A lot of different personnel will take the field in 2017, with both the Tigers and Braves losing a handful of playmakers to graduation.

“Offensively, they have three or four guys back,” May said. “On defense, they have seven back. Offensively, they changed to more of a single-wing. It’s similar to what we do, but they don’t run all of the motion. It has worked quite well for them.

“On defense, they still run the same 3-5-3 they ran last year. It will be interesting to see what they do defensively because we ran the ball well on them last year.”

The Tigers have run the ball with 15 different players, but three have taken the bulk of the carries.

As a team, the Tigers are averaging 265 yards on the ground and 68.9 passing.

Senior Hunter Privett, 5-11 and 230 pounds, tops the Tigers with 137 carries for 908 yards (113.5 per game) and 19 touchdowns.

Tigers junior Austin Weimer (70 carries, 360 yards) and freshman Adam Burd (74 carries, 447 yards) both have taken snaps at quarterback.

Weimer has 347 passing yards on 40 attempts with three TDs, and Burd has 236 on 33 tries with four TDs.

“They usually have two guys in the backfield,” May said. “(Privett) is their main runner. They have some nice receivers. (Gavin Yoon) is a good receiver and (Mason Parris) is a two-time state wrestling champ who has only lost one match. He’s also their stud middle linebacker. They’re a good team.”

Parris, a 6-2 and 230-pound senior, is the Tigers’ defensive leader.

He has 85 tackles (49 solo), with 14 tackles for losses, five sacks and four fumble recoveries.

As a team, the Tigers have plenty of takeaways with 20 fumble recoveries and three interceptions.

The Braves are coming off of a season-high 474 yards in a 45-14 win over Scottsburg.

Brownstown scored on its first seven possessions despite missing senior starting QB Gus Hogan, who was hurt during Week 8 against Silver Creek.

Hogan’s status is questionable for Friday, May said.

In his place, Derek Thompson took over at QB. Thompson threw just one pass against the Warriors, as the Braves opted to keep the ball moving on the ground.

Colton Ritz is the Braves’ leading slot going into the postseason, with 784 yards on 72 carries and seven TDs.

Caleb Bollinger has 55 carries for 556 yards, and 6 TDs and Hogan has 101 tries for 521 yards and nine TDs.

Last week, Ritz rushed for 100 yards and Bollinger had 107. Both had seven carries.

Through the air, Hogan is completing 70 percent of his passes on 40 throws with 398 yards, four TDs and a pair of interceptions.

The Braves are on fall break this week, giving plenty of time to prepare for the Tigers.

May said the team is trying to keep a normal film and practice schedule and emphasizing the importance of urgency.

“You always tell the seniors at the start of the year that they’re guaranteed 10 games,” he said. “Nobody wants to see their season end. The finality of it does set in. Right now, we’re 0-0, and Lawrenceburg is 0-0. I also tell the underclassmen that it could be their last game, too. You just never know what could happen. Hopefully, we will win and move on.”

The winner of Friday’s game will face the winner of Greensburg and Salem, with the location to be determined.