For The Tribune
Brownstown Central’s football team unveiled a vanilla version of its new retro-offense during a controlled scrimmage with Jennings County on Friday night.
And while the results weren’t overwhelming — managing 133 yards on 27 first-team offensive plays — the Braves emerged with an unofficial 28-7 victory against the Panthers.
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“We’re a work in progress,” Brownstown head coach Reed May said afterward. “We want to be better in October than we are now.
“We didn’t practice very well this week. I think we’re tired of beating up on each other. It was nice to play against someone else.”
Friday’s scrimmage was structured to provide each team with three blocks of offensive plays from various field positions. A fourth block consisted of kicking situations.
Brownstown scored four touchdowns, a field goal and an extra point, while Jennings County scored one TD and an extra point.
Friday’s contest offered Brownstown a chance to test drive its new “shotgun Wing-T” offense, a variation of the offense the Braves have run so successfully for 23 seasons under May’s leadership.
This version, however, more closely resembles the run-centric scheme May employed during his first decade with the Braves.
“We’re getting back to doing what we used to do during my first 10 years here,” May said.
“We went away from (running the ball) because of the quarterbacks we had come through. We don’t have a finesse passing game anymore. I’m pretty excited to be doing the old-school stuff again.”
New quarterback Kyle Kramer, May said, offers a combination of foot speed and athleticism that can be the engine for a more run-centric approach.
Against Jennings County on Friday, ironically, Kramer used his arm more than his legs, as Brownstown’s coaches preserved their full offense for next Friday’s season opener against Paoli.
Kramer finished the night with 47 yards on 4-for-6 passing. His only yards on the ground came on a sack, which resulted in a four-yard loss. One of Kramer’s throws was a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Stuart Hayden.
Brownstown’s starting offense was shut out during its first block of plays (15 snaps starting from the Brownstown 35-yard line). The Braves embarked on an 11-play drive that carried the ball to the Jennings County 3-yard line before stalling.
The Braves fared much better during the “red zone” series. Given 12 plays with the ball starting at the Jennings 10-yard line, Brownstown scored four times, the first three on runs by Gavin Bane (10 yards), Justin Donnells (a cartwheeling five yards) and Matthew Nierman (two yards).
Kramer’s pass to Hayden provided the fourth Braves touchdown.
The Braves later added four points during the kicking section of the scrimmage. Placekicker Tristan Robinson converted his extra point attempt and then just cleared the cross bar on a 26-yard field goal attempt.
A potential fifth touchdown — a 35-yard run by Colton Ritz — was nullified by a holding penalty during the second-team offense’s play block. The second team’s effort was also highlighted by a nice jump-ball reception by freshman Seth Borden, who wrestled a Luke Shelton pass away from his defender.
Brownstown’s first-team runners finished with 86 yards on 20 carries. Nierman led with 26 yards on four attempts, followed by John McKinney’s 25 yards on four carries.
Defensively, Brownstown didn’t allow Jennings County much room to operate. The Panthers managed just 57 yards in 27 first-team snaps, including 29 rushing yards on 17 carries.
During Jennings County’s first offensive session, Brownstown’s Ryan Benter and Lendon Underwood sacked quarterbacks Garrett Day and Jake Hahn three times for losses of seven yards.
During Jennings’ red-zone block of plays, Gus Hogan recovered a fumble while McKinney had a pass break up on a jump-ball pass in the corner of the end zone.
Overall, not a bad effort for an inexperienced squad, May said.
After enjoying veteran teams in previous seasons, he said, coaching this year’s raw bunch requires an adjustment.
“It’s the little things that you take for granted with an experienced group,” May said.
“Now, we’re inexperienced and you notice those little things. You think, ‘We should know all of this by now.’”
Aug. 21 Paoli, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 Charlestown, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Eastern (Pekin) 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 Salem, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at North Harrison, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Seymour, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 Clarksville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Silver Creek, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 Corydon Central, 7 p.m.
Head coach: Reed May
2014 record: 10-1
Seniors: Cam Shoemaker, Matthew Nierman, Grant Reedy, Ryan Benter, John McKinney, Justin Donnells, Matthew Lucas, Tanner Bell, Jacob Brewer, Logan Callahan, Clay Hauer, Clay Wilkerson
Juniors: Dereck Rieckers, Kyle Kramer, Gavin Bane, Devin Stuckwisch, Andrew Murphy, Lance Goecker, Dalton Fowler, Tristan Robinson, Tyler Neal, Cameron Eggersman, Trevor Colby, Clark Hauer, Bryce Hughes
Sophomores: Devan Davis, Gus Hogan, Karl Pence, Payton Barker, Cole Forrest, Colton Ritz, Braden Jackson, Braydon Scruggs, Stuart Hayden, Noah Reynolds, Brendan Patman, Kylen Terry, Lendon Underwood, Kaleb Pearson
Freshmen: Caleb Bollinger, Luke Shelton, Brandon O’Hair, Grant Stuckwisch, Seth Borden, Matthew Bell, Ethan Bundy, Braden Neal, Brayden Fish, Dane Darlage, Derrick Prewitt, Brian Murphy, Julian Deaton, Lucas Lane, Robbie Branaman, Taylor Henderson