Brownstown’s Elm Street a 12th man


Treyton Ream has some logical advice for Brownstown Central football fans not holding tickets who want to see the Braves play rival Seymour and are exiled to Elm Street.

“Plan on an hour early if you want parking,” said the senior lineman, who knows local fans usually populate the vantage point when there is overflow at Blevins Memorial Stadium.

Only in 2020, the views along the fence will be more important than ever to obtain because the seats inside are limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing rules.

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Friday’s 7 p.m. game is the highlight of the regular season for both Brownstown and Seymour, schools situated about 10 miles apart, facing off in the Jackson Bowl with the record 7-6 since the annual encounter began in favor of the Braves.

“Oh yeah, it’s bragging rights,” Ream said.

The communities may be socially distanced officially, but high school kids who play more than one sport overlap in other seasons of the school year and even at local restaurants. Who did what to whom and who won last fall are going to be topics of teasing when they meet.

Brownstown won 34-28 last year.

“We just talked about it,” Ream said of the occasional conversation since. “I know them.”

This game looms large enough on the schedule for the 3-1 Braves that even though the 3-2 Owls are not in the same league, it carries its own weight.

Coach Reed May said going into each season, his club’s goal is to win the sectional. Well, Seymour, he said, is another sectional.

“That’s what we use it for,” May said of how his team prepares and adjusts its practices for Seymour, just as it would for a sectional foe. “We back off in the weight room. It’s obviously a big game.”

While May said “I don’t have to remind them” of his message to the players of just how big, he does so anyway.

Just hearing those words “another sectional” from May was enough for Ream.

“It makes it clear he is taking it seriously,” Ream said.

Brownstown bounced back from a 14-12 loss to Salem two weeks ago with a 55-22 thrashing of North Harrison last Friday. Adjustments were made after the Braves were subjected to some stern talking to by May.

“It’s not hard to hear me,” he said. “We corrected some things. I think it will be a really good game. Any time we play Seymour, it’s a good game.”

In taking note of how Brownstown fans have been known to take advantage of every single inch of available space on Elm Street, May guessed that area will be very crowded.

Fan restrictions are being felt across the spectrum of North American professional sports leagues and at the high school level in many states. Normally, a home game against the Braves’ chief rival would rev up a big-league noise level. It’s not precisely clear how that will go, but Brownstown lineman Dustyn Kocsis does not think the atmosphere will be confused with a library.

“I guarantee it’s still going to be wild,” Kocsis said.

Heck, if the school did not place limits on how early fans can show up and take possession of Elm Street, Kocsis thinks early parking spot seekers would have been present yesterday.

“Just about,” he said.

Sometimes, teams pretend every game is the same, but that is not always true. The Brownstown guys are not really pretending.

“It’s something we look forward to every year,” said running back-linebacker Lucas Hines. “It’s our favorite game of the year besides sectional. Bragging rights is a big thing, especially with social media. It’s funny sometimes.”

Seymour is the larger school with more students, and Hines said that factors into the Braves’ thinking, too, that it’s nice to beat the big boys.

“Them being a bigger school, that helps us get ready. It has been marked on my calendar for a long time with a big red X,” he said.

What Hines and his teammates are hoping for Friday night is a Nightmare on Elm Street Jackson Bowl result for the Owls.

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