After allowing an average of 28.7 points per game through the first three weeks of the season, Brownstown Central’s defense tightened up last Friday against Salem, holding the Lions to just 12 points en route to a road victory.
Head coach Reed May was very pleased with the effort on that side of the ball.
“I thought defensively, we played really,” he said. “I think any time we listen to our coaches and execute our assignments, we have a chance to do really well. We had some kids in different positions that started to play well.”
One of those was quarterback Carson Darlage, who had never played defensive back before. After the Braves suffered some injuries, they decided they had to put Darlage on defense, and the senior answered the bell by almost having an interception and coming up with two pass breakups.
Darlage earned Brownstown’s defensive back/dime player of the game honor.
“He has never played defensive back before. We’ve had injuries, and he’s one of our better athletes. One of the things we decided is we’ve got to play Carson,” May said. “He did a great job at free safety. He and Adam Wayt rotated back there, and they both stepped up and played pretty well.”
Darlage also had 12 carries for 80 yards and completed two passes for 44 yards.
Keetan Burcham-Jones earned defensive lineman/middle linebacker player of the game on Friday.
“Keetan has done a great job preparing himself,” May said. “He’s one of those kids that you like to have a bunch of them on your team because he works his tail off.”
Burcham-Jones and Ryan Branaman are another example of players who are now playing both sides of the ball. The two started out playing solely on the defensive line, but now, they are contributing on the offensive line.
For the second straight game, offensive lineman Carson Darlage, who is a junior, earned the OL player of the game.
“He’s very inexperienced, but he’s one of those kids that just works hard, smart kid,” May said. “He’s a program kid. He just works his butt off.”
Quentin Tiemeyer was the offensive back player of the game after rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and Preston Garrison was the special teams player of the game.
The Braves put up 26 points against Salem, but there were moments where May thought they squandered away possessions.
“It’ll be tough to beat real good teams if we keep doing that,” May said.
Brownstown is now 3-1 overall and is looking for its third-straight win Friday at North Harrison, which also is 3-1. Last year, Brownstown beat North Harrison 43-12.
The three respective teams that both the Braves and Cougars have defeated this season have a combined record of 2-10, and both the Braves and Cougars suffered tough losses at the hands of Charlestown.
May thinks they’re evenly matched heading into this Friday.
“They’re going to line them up and pound the ball on you,” May said. “They’re going to try to control the football, so the key is can you stop them? We’re both evenly matched. It’s a toss-up game. It’s a conference game. We need to win to at least have a chance to finish second in the conference.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Friday.