Fumbles, penalties stymie Braves in sectional opener



Revenge was on the mind of the host Charlestown Pirates Friday night in the sectional opener.

They felt the Class 3A No. 3 Brownstown Central Braves stole one in Week 2 of the regular season, 21-14, and were out to prove that was a fluke and they’re the better team when it counts.

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Converting on a fourth-quarter fake punt deep inside their own 15-yard line, the Pirates weren’t going to allow themselves to be beaten and upset the once unbeaten Braves, 7-6, to move through to the sectional semifinal where they’ll face Lawrenceburg.

If the first two minutes of the ballgame were any indication, fans were in for a shootout as the Pirates’ Marion Lukes took the first play from scrimmage in for a 47-yard score.

Less than a minute later, the Braves responded behind a 16-yard rush from Braeden Walker after Derek Thompson set it up with a 40-plus yard scamper, but the extra point fell short.

A track meet between the Mid-Southern Conference’s top-two rushers was just getting started.

And then the defenses took over.

Multiple stops by either side, penalties and a few fumbles stymied both offenses until the halftime break.

The Braves were on both ends of loose balls as they recovered one of two Pirate fumbles with their recovery setting up a potential go-ahead score as the first half ticked to a close.

Yet back-to-back fumbles nixed that idea, moving the Braves out of scoring position and back to midfield as first-half time expired.

Unfortunately, it didn’t get much better for the Braves in the second half.

Starting with the ball, the Braves attempted a march across the field to get the go-ahead score, but instead coughed up the ball and gave the Pirates a chance to extend their lead.

Again, however, the Brownstown Central defense showed up to deny the Pirates’ offense, who drove the ball all the way into Brave territory but were cut down.

Not to be outdone, the Charlestown defense also came up with a big fourth-down stop to again hold the BC offense on their next possession and kept them from generating any momentum.

The chess match between both defenses continued until the Pirates’ Andrew Snider completed his only pass of the game to Braiden Murphy for 61 yards to put them inside the Braves’ 15-yard line.

Still, the Braves’ defense was undeterred as they came up with another big stop and followed it up with a 46-yard Thompson run to take the ball to midfield.

But then the issues that plagued the Braves in the first half reared their heads again as miscues in the backfield put the ball on the ground and penalties pushed them in the wrong direction eventually leading to a Thompson punt.

His boot put the Pirates on their 1-yard line, but the power of their offensive line coupled with the successful fake punt put them over the top.

Thompson and Walker did most of the damage offensively for the Braves, combining for more than 200 yards on the ground. The senior quarterback also flexed his throwing arm from time to time for some big chunk plays, but, in the end, too many times going in the wrong direction is what sealed the Braves’ fate.

All told, the Braves put the ball on the ground four times, but lost it just once.

For the Pirates, Lukes ended the night hobbled, but with 203 yards rushing.

Charlestown’s revenge ousts the Braves out of the sectional in the opening round for the second time in three seasons.

There will be plenty to build on for 2020, but they’ll lose a lot of key pieces that stand to be tough to replace.

Thompson chief among them, but also players like Walker, Jake Cope, Eli Brown, Jalen Tiemeyer and Sam Huber will all be tough to replace next year.

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Brownstown Central (9-1);6;0;0;0 — 6

Charlestown (8-2);7;0;0;0 — 7

First quarter

C-Marion Lukes 47-yard run (Andrew Snider kick), 11:43

BC-Braeden Walker 16 run (Huber kick failed), 10:15


Rushing: Derek Thompson 27-176, Walker 9-47

Passing: Thompson 2-5-26

Receiving: Jake Cope 2-26


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