Creative clock management at the end of the first half proved to be the difference for Brownstown Central’s football team during a narrow 28-27 victory over Silver Creek on Friday night.
Or maybe it was the blocked extra point by Brandon Reynolds in the third quarter that forced Silver Creek to chase points the rest of the game.
Or perhaps it was the first-half fumble recovery by senior Thad Goecker that helped the Braves’ defense shut out Silver Creek’s powerful offense in the first half.
In a tight game between evenly matched teams, the small plays took on outsized importance.
“We thought it was going to be a close game,” BC head coach Reed May said. “Right before the half, we got that touchdown, which really helped us. That blocked PAT was huge. (Silver Creek) has a good offense. Coach (Shane) Fallis did a great job with our defense and making adjustments to what they were doing.”
When senior linebacker Wyatt Steward darted through Silver Creek’s offensive line and dropped Dragon running back LaShun Mays for a six-yard loss with less than a minute to go in the first half, BC’s sideline immediately called a timeout, hoping to preserve as much time as possible before the halftime buzzer sounded.
The move worked. BC forced a punt on the next down and took over on the Braves’ 32 yard line with 31 seconds to go.
What followed were an incomplete pass, a 10-yard run by Jake Pauley, a pretty 53-yard pass to an open Kiernan Tiemeyer along the right sideline and an even prettier fade pass from quarterback Carson Darlage to receiver Brandon Reynolds for a touchdown.
“The first play didn’t work, so we decided on a double hand off,” May said. “Then we tried a throw back to Tiemeyer, and he was wide open. Carson made a nice throw on the touchdown. We just made a couple of calls and got into the end zone.”
That last-second touchdown gave Brownstown a 14-0 lead going into the halftime break, just enough room on the scoreboard to resist a second-half surge by Silver Creek.
The Dragons, behind their talented running back duo of Trey Schoen and Mays, scored four touchdowns after the intermission.
Brownstown’s defense had allowed just 114 rushing yards per game prior to Friday’s contest, but yielded 351 to Silver Creek. Schoen led with 142 yards on 24 attempts, followed closely by Mays’ 133 on 22 carries.
The two Dragon backs each scored two TDs.
But after Schoen’s touchdown with 2:45 to go in the third quarter, Reynolds blocked Carley Troutman’s extra point.
The missing point would loom large after an 18-yard touchdown run by Tiemeyer two minutes later. BC kicker Cooper Wolka connected on the extra point, pushing the Braves in front 28-13.
Wolka made all four of his extra-point attempts and now has succeeded on 43 of 45 PATs (96 percent) this season.
Schoen scored and added a two-point conversion with just 1:23 left in the game to shrink Brownstown’s lead to 28-27.
Brownstown, however, recovered Silver Creek’s desperation onside kick and knelt the clock away to secure the victory.
Darlage led BC’s running attack with 105 yards and two TDs on 14 carries. Tiemeyer added 91 yards and a score on 11 attempts. Jake Pauley followed with 63 yards on seven carries.
Darlage also threw for 77 yards and a touchdown on 4-for-6 passing.
Eli Wischmeier paced Brownstown’s defense with nine tackles, though Wyatt Steward highlighted the night with two key tackles for loss.
Friday’s win avenged last year’s 42-14 loss to Silver Creek and guarantees the Braves a share of the Mid-Southern Conference title, BC’s 20th in May’s 29 season as head coach. BC now owns a 10-1 record against Silver Creek, which started competing in football in 2011.
Friday’s win also extended Brownstown Central’s home winning streak to 18. The Braves last lost at Blevins Memorial Stadium in September of 2018 when Seymour claimed a 44-34 win.
One last historical footnote: Friday’s win is the 399th in the Brownstown football program’s 57 seasons. Earlier this season, in Week 2 against Charlestown, the Braves played their 600th game. BC’s all-time record stands at 399-205-2.