This summer, Brownstown Central High School’s football program needed to find a new location for team camp.
The usual spot, Franklin College, didn’t have enough teams signed up, so Braves head coach Reed May and staff had to find another option.
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“We had to make a quick decision,” May said. “We evaluated Bishop Dullaghan (at DePauw Universty) and Indiana University, both which we’ve been to before, and Hanover College.”
After mulling over the possibilities, the Braves decided on going to Hanover.
This year’s group of teams at the camp featured some of the best small schools of 2017.
Brownstown, Evansville Memorial, the reigning Class 3A state champion, Southridge, the defending Class 2A state champs, Evansville Reitz, Silver Creek and Jennings County were all in attendance at the camp.
The Braves brought 46 players to the camp, which started Monday and ended Wednesday.
“You have two practices on Monday, three on Tuesday and two on Wednesday,” May said. “In the early practices, you have more drill work and so forth. Because of the weather, we kind of did more 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work earlier because we were afraid of the rain. While you need 7-on-7, our biggest concern for us was 11-on-11. This is the only time we do 11-on-11 all summer. It gives us a good chance to get film and evaluate some kids. We have some kids at new positions. The film really helps us evaluate kids.”
Brownstown graduated 13 seniors from last year’s team that finished 8-2. The Braves’ record marked the 25th straight winning season under May, who is entering his 26th season at the helm.
The Braves will have 13 seniors again this season.
Overall, May felt the camp was a success for the team.
“Some days are good days, and some days are bad days,” May said. “We graduated some pretty good kids last year. We have some kids filling in at important positions. We have some guys banged up right now, which has hurt us a little bit. Overall, I think we’ve gotten better. We’ve been able to evaluate a few kids.”
Braves senior tight end/defensive back Robbie Branaman said he liked competing with some of the top schools in the state at Hanover.
“I think it’s good because there is a lot more competition here than Franklin,” he said. “It’s readying us for the season. We’ve been doing a lot of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, hitting people and getting real game action.”
Senior middle linebacker/offensive tackle Luke Shelton feels like the team is shaping up.
“It really shows what we need to work on and what is working,” Shelton said. “I think running the ball will work well for us, and the defense should look good this year. Last year, we had a disappointing loss to Lawrenceburg (in the sectional). This year, we’re looking to make a longer run in the postseason.”
The Braves, like every other high school sports program in Indiana, are off all of this upcoming week.
They will return to work July 9 before competing on a 7-on-7 at Bedford North Lawrence on July 14. The following week will have the 56ers and middle school camps leading up to Superstars Night on July 20, which will also have a blood drive with the Indianapolis Colts.
Brownstown will have its annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser on July 21 after competing in a 7-on-7 at West Washington.
The players get the week of the Jackson County Fair off before finishing out the preseason.
When the Braves return July 30, they hope that their new turf field will be done.
“It seems like, at times, we are on schedule (with the turf). The rain can hurt us,” May said. “When we left Brownstown (on Monday), they were on schedule for July 30. Hopefully, they will meet that. If not, we have some contingency plans at least for the red/black and Jennings County scrimmages.”
The Braves will open regular-season play Aug. 17 at Corydon Central.