Brownstown kicking off high school football season


Brownstown Central’s football team worked a scrimmage against Jennings County into its preseason schedule last week, going up against a real live team in the lead-up to Friday night’s real, live game at Corydon Central.

Although no fans were permitted at Blevins Memorial Stadium, otherwise there were trappings of a genuine football experience in pads after long weeks of tough practices.

Players admitted to being a little bit nervous, but now playing football that counts in the standings, there might be some higher intensity nerves leading up to 7 p.m. kickoff.

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“We’ll be more nervous with the fans there,” senior Lucas Hines said.

Under state of Indiana guidelines and Indiana High School Athletic Association advisories, players won’t be hearing thousands of fans roaring, but either 250 or 500 each week, depending on the location and house rules.

While this will be the season of cloth face masks instead of helmet face guards, social distancing in between tackles and blocks with the COVID-19 world pandemic hovering in the background, veteran players expect to revert to their old habits otherwise.

Senior Nicholas Robbins said he will awake on game day at his usual 6:30 a.m., following the pattern of school days. And he has no plans to eat until the game is over. Never does, he said.

Hines feeds his belly as well as his mental preparation by swallowing Skittles snacks and Monster Energy drinks.

It’s whatever works and whatever a player is used to doing to feel primed.

At Brownstown Central, the Braves are used to winning. Coach Reed May is one of the winningest coaches in Indiana high school football history, and the team annually wins nine or more games while always keeping an eye on sectional. That is an ambition once more for 2020.

“Our goal is to be there at sectional as always,” May said.

May has been running the program for 28 years, and his career record is 268-53.

May was low-key in his evaluation of team play in the Jennings County scrimmage, saying his varsity scored a couple of touchdowns here and there and his junior varsity gave up a couple of touchdowns. This while he held out some players due to coronavirus safety precautions.

“We didn’t do too badly,” May said. “At some positions, we’ve got to get better.”

It is to be expected the Braves may be a little rougher around the edges starting this season because ordinarily, players get to attend summer camps at Indiana University and Hanover College. They could not do so this year because of cancellations due to the virus.

Brownstown also an had interruption of its practice time when the team was put in temporary quarantine.

May classified his team as “very young” this fall because Brownstown has just eight seniors on the roster. Implying that the Kansas City Chiefs are not putting quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the market, anyway, he suggested a high school lineup is pretty set.

“I can’t trade for anyone,” May said.

He said he liked the attitude he saw in the scrimmage and keeps hoping the season progresses without virus interference.

“The kids were fired up,” May said. “They want to play. It’s just not fair to me (for a season to be called off after so much effort put in). Right now, we think we can handle it.”

Senior Jayden Steinkamp was still feeling the positive glow of the scrimmage as the hours passed after the final gun.

“We finally got to play,” he said. “It was the coolest day.”

The countdown to first-game kickoff should be even better, lining up to play an official game.

“It is a relief,” Steinkamp said. “It is pretty cool.”

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