BATESVILLE — A 21-point second-half outburst under difficult field conditions lifted Brownstown Central’s football team to a 28-14 victory over Batesville in the Class 3A Sectional 31 semifinals on Friday night.
Steady rain punctuated by periodic downpours turned Batesville’s natural turf field into a sloppy bog. So, the Braves (11-0) attacked the adverse conditions in a familiar way: with a punishing, clock-draining running game and an occasional devastating pass play.
The Braves ran for 310 yards and controlled the ball for 32 of the game’s 48 minutes.
Carson Darlage was the driving force behind BC’s running attack, finishing with 217 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. The effort was easily the junior’s best of the season (144 yards against Seymour was his previous high mark).
Darlage also connected with senior Kiernan Tiemeyer on an 83-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half, igniting BC’s offensive surge.
Friday’s win advances Brownstown to next week’s sectional final where Lawrenceburg awaits. The Tigers (10-1) defeated Greensburg in the other Sectional 31 semifinal.
Brownstown will attempt to win its 14th sectional title. In their 20 previous title games, the Braves are 13-7, but are currently victims of a three-game losing streak to Lawrenceburg.
While the offense controlled the game, BC’s defense made a series of key plays to limit Batesville. A Nick Goecker interception midway through the first quarter set up the Braves’ first touchdown, a three-yard Darlage run.
When Batesville’s Bryson Bonelli made a nice catch and a nicer run to score on an 84-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Travis Lecher, BC’s Jake Pauley resisted a trick formation by the Bulldogs and stopped an attempted two-point conversion to preserve Brownstown’s lead at 7-6.
After halftime, BC struck immediately with Darlage’s TD pass to Tiemeyer.
Wyatt Steward then ended a promising Batesville drive at the Brownstown 8-yard line with another interception, setting up BC’s most impressive drive of the night – a 16-play, 92-yard march that ended with a 5-yard Darlage TD run and drained 9:43 off the clock.
Darlage broke Batesville back with his third TD of the night, a 65-yard run with 8:44 left in the game that gave BC a 28-6 lead.
The Braves’ sectional title game next week will be on the road at Lawrenceburg.