Jackson County football teams set for Week 4


Jackson County’s three high school football teams have different storylines going into Week 4.

Seymour looks to bounce back after its first loss, Brownstown Central aims to keep its winning streak alive and Trinity Lutheran is still searching for its first win of the year.

No. 16 Owls plan to respond against No. 15 Highlanders

Head coach Mike Kelly has a message for the Seymour football team this week.

Coming off of a 45-6 loss to Class 5A No. 8 Columbus East, Kelly told the Owls that the game against the Olympians doesn’t define the season, team or program.

He said what will define the team is how it bounces back in Week 4 against Hoosier Hills Conference foe Floyd Central.

Kelly got little sleep last weekend, as he was disappointed with the team’s lackluster performance. East led 35-0 at halftime, scoring five of six offensive possessions, and never looked back.

“They scored on their first five first-half possessions,” Kelly said. “You can’t give up that many points in a game, but that with the combination of the offense not converting the first three times we took the field, it led to what we experienced on Friday night.”

Junior quarterback Brendan Smith had the lone touchdown for the Owls, and senior feature back Nathan O’Mara finished with more than 100 rushing yards for the third straight game. O’Mara currently is ranked No. 4 in rushing yards in Indiana across all classes and is No. 2 in Class 5A, according to maxpreps.com. North Central’s Dawson Basinger (884 yards) still leads all rushers in Indiana.

The No. 16 Owls (2-1, 1-1 HHC) face a No. 15 Highlanders (2-1, 1-0 HHC) team that is coming off of a 59-0 rout over Madison (0-3). Floyd Central lost to Louisville Male (41-3) in its season-opener after bouncing back against Providence (30-17) and the Cubs.

Floyd Central likely will go with a ground-and-pound approach on offense against the Owls.

The Highlanders held Madison without a first down in the first quarter and scored on four straight possessions before running away with last week’s game. Sophomore running back Wenkers Wright led the Highlanders with 112 rushing yards on nine carries, and Tyler Edwards ran the ball 15 times for 107 yards. Floyd Central finished with 553 total offensive yards to Madison’s 53.

Trace Willman completed 4 of 6 passes for 111 yards. The Highlanders’ bench played most all of the second half.

“They have two very good tailbacks that do a nice job for them in the run game,” Kelly said. “They are more of a power ‘I’ type of team. They are going to try and impose their will from the offensive line. They want to create seams to allow their backs to cut. It’s important that our defense maintains and pursues their gaps and not overpursue the football in the second and third levels.

“Defensively, they are quick and agile. They will get after you. They aren’t a really, really big team, but they’re an athletic team. What they sacrifice in size they make up for in speed and quickness.”

Floyd Central also has an NCAA Division I prospect kicker, junior Cole Hussung, who can nail in-game field goals from 45 yards. He  got a call from Alabama’s Nick Saban in his sophomore year and has other big-time college programs on his radar.

James Bragg is in his first season as head coach of the Highlanders. He replaces Brian Glesing, who coached for 11 straight seasons. Glesing was hired as Jeffersonville’s coach in the offseason.

Bragg was an assistant coach under Glesing last season and spent one season each as an assistant at Corydon Central and Crawford County before that. Prior to those jobs, Bragg was head coach at LaSalle-Peru (Illinois) for one season and an assistant at Porta (Illinois).

Kelly said this is a big game for his team.

“The response is going to be very important,” he said. “We need to come out with a different type of edge to us when we play.”

Brave train not looking past Salem

Class 3A No. 5 Brownstown Central doesn’t exactly know what to expect going into Friday night’s Mid-Southern Conference game at Salem.

Through three games this season, the Lions (1-2) have shown multiple offenses and defenses.

Salem is coming off of its first win of the season, a 31-12 victory at Scottsburg. The Lions have losses to North Harrison (27-17) and Silver Creek (41-14).

Brownstown (3-0) is still perfect on the season, coming off of a 48-8 win over Eastern (Pekin). The Braves have dominated the first third of the schedule, not scoring fewer than 48 points in a game.

“The first game against Silver Creek, (the Lions) were in a shotgun pistol the entire game,” Braves coach Reed May said. “They ran their option scheme, but it was mainly out of the shotgun pistol. Against Scottsburg, they were under center the entire time. They’ve also run a double-tight wishbone. It is hard to tell what they will do against us.”

The Lions’ offense will operate around returning junior QB Brandon Corbin.

On defense, the Lions have switched between an odd front and 4-4.

Last year, the Lions completely changed their offense for the game against the Braves.

“We’ve kind of worked against everything in practice,” May said. “We’re not exactly sure what they are going to be in. Sometimes, that plays to our benefit because they haven’t been working on something very long either. It will be an interesting game.”

The Braves’ coaching staff isn’t looking past the Lions and sees this week as another must-win.

“Even though they are 1-2 right now, they still run some things that can hurt us,” May said. “R.J. (Hartsfield, Salem coach) does a nice job over there. Their quarterback is back and did a pretty good job against us last year. We are expecting a pretty tough ballgame.”

May said this week’s game is an important one for the Braves, as they can continue to run the MSC table going into next week’s big conference game at North Harrison.

Cougars hope to get off of losing streak

If Trinity Lutheran plans to secure its first victory in Week 4, it will have to be on the road.

The Cougars will travel north to square off against Indianapolis Shortridge (1-2).

Trinity coach Mike Wilson said the team runs a much different offense than what the Cougars faced last week in their 31-7 loss to South Decatur.

South Decatur ran the ball the entire game, only passing twice. The Blue Devils have a strong passing game and use it, he said.

“They’re totally different, and they have some good team speed and great wide receivers,” Wilson said. “They have four or five solid playmakers.”

Wilson said the defense plans to contain those playmakers by providing cover 2 coverage, sending additional help from defensive backs and most importantly, penetrating the offensive line.

“They do a lot of deep routes, so if we can get some pass rush, then I think we can take them off their rhythm,” he said.

Wilson said the Blue Devils either got “feast or famine” out of their passing game last week.

“It was either 15 yards or greater or down at the line of scrimmage,” he said.

Wilson said he feels the team will physically match up well against Shortridge.

From an offensive standpoint, the Cougars were working on a scheme that included inside running and short passes during practice Tuesday.

“I think this week, we want to control the ball more than last week,” he said. “I want to slowly march down the field, put a running game together and control the clock more.”

The Cougars’ only touchdown last week came off of a 60-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Goecker to receiver Trent Shoemaker in the first quarter.

Wilson also wants to see the offense take advantage of opportunities in the red zone. Last week, the team missed chances to score a handful of times in the red zone, which contributed to the loss, he said.

“We are working on red zone plays and successes today,” Wilson said.

If the Cougars plan to earn their first win, they may have to do it without Goecker, who was injured in last week’s game.

His absence would be a major blow to both the team’s offense and defense, as he plays plays effectively at quarterback and on defense.

“He has been doing all the right things, but we’ll see,” Wilson said. “We have a game plan if he doesn’t play.”

Jack Marksberry, who took over as quarterback for the Cougars last week, would start in place of Goecker, Wilson said.

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