Braves roll past Eagles 61-7 to advance in postseason play


NASHVILLE — And now the work begins.

Brownstown Central’s football team took care of business on Friday night, breezing past an overmatched Brown County squad 61-7 to move to the semifinal round of the Class 2A Sectional 39 tournament.

The Braves’ victory sets up a semifinal matchup with sectional favorite Triton Central next week. The Tigers (8-2) defeated Christel House Manual 58-6 in their sectional opener.

Brownstown has defeated Triton Central in all six of their previous postseason meetings, including the famous (or infamous) 98-24 win in 1999’s sectional semifinal.

But this isn’t your father’s Triton Central football team. The 2022 Tigers are either No. 1 (Sagarin), No. 4 (AP) or No. 5 (Coaches) in Class 2A, depending on which poll you trust.

“Triton Central is a great football team,” BC head coach Reed May said. “We have our work cut out for us. It’s going to be tough getting ready this week. Hopefully, the kids will respond well this week and get ready for a very good team. I’m glad we got it at home.”

Getting to next week’s game required winning Friday’s game, of course, and Brownstown wasted little time securing the victory against struggling Brown County (0-10).

The Braves (6-4) scored on eight of their first nine possessions to take a 55-0 lead into halftime.

Five of those scoring drives consisted of just two plays, one drive required a single snap and another needed three plays to find the end zone. The Braves’ longest drive of the night lasted seven plays and took three minutes off the clock.

“We knew they were 0-9.” May said. “The thing I talked to the kids about after we got beat by Indian Creek and got beat by Scottsburg is events plus response equals outcome. In our event, we got beat. Well, what’s our response? We came out and we played well and we won. That’s what we should’ve done.”

May and his coaches shocked Brownstown fans by opening the game with four consecutive pass plays. Quarterback Carson Darlage responded by completing all four passes, two of which resulted in touchdowns.

“Scottsburg came in and blitzed the heck out of us,” May said of the passing game. “The past few years, we didn’t have to pass. They took some things that were vulnerable, so we put some stuff we used to do in, and we worked on that this week, and that’s basically what we did. They had eight men in the box, we got it out to the flat quick and we threw the ball well.”

Caleb Cummings (27 yards) and Isiaah Engle (21 yards) were the recipients of Darlage’s TD passes and gave BC a 14-0 lead less than four minutes into the first quarter.

Brownstown went on to score 27 points in the first quarter and 28 in the second period.

Following Darlage’s scoring throws, the balance of the Braves’ scoring came via the run game.

Quentin Tiemeyer, Darlage, Preston Garrison, Grant Killey, Gregory Hutcheson and Jack Pace (twice) all scored on runs ranging from 1 to 66 yards.

Hutcheson had the 66-yarder, while Pace’s runs traveled 40 and 28 yards.

Brownstown finished the game with 383 rushing yards on 32 attempts, averaging 12 yards per carry.

Pace led all BC runners with 107 yards on five carries, while Hutcheson ended with 91 yards on just two rushes. The direct-snap play to fullback Tiemeyer never got old as the junior ran for 77 yards on his five carries.

Darlage threw two more passes over the course of the first half but didn’t complete either. He finished with 78 passing yards.

Defensively, the Braves limited Brown County to -22 yards on the ground, most of that total attributable to a bad Eagle snap on a first-half punt that resulted in a 21-yard loss.

Tackles for loss were plentiful. Tiemeyer, Engle, Keetan Burcham-Jones, Ryan Branaman, Owen Wischmeier and Joe Roberts all contributed TFLs for BC.

Burcham-Jones also finished with a sack and an interception. Preston Garrison also picked off an Eagle pass, while Wischmeier recovered a Brown County fumble.

Friday’s victory is the 60th tournament win in May’s 30 seasons as Brownstown’s head coach. The Braves are now 23-7 in sectional openers and 57-16 overall in sectional games.

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