Matt Rochner boarded a flight Friday morning en route to Indiana from Austin, Texas, and knew he would be making his way back the next morning, but only after a trip to Brownstown.
Rochner was the quarterback of the Braves’ 1995 football team — the first to win a sectional championship in school history — and was one of nearly 20 players honored before the Braves’ home game Friday night against Corydon.
Rochner, who has a family in Texas and is in the medical devices industry, flew in just to take part in the ceremony.
“I’ve missed a few of these events over the years, and I didn’t want to miss this one,” Rochner said before the ceremony. “It’s great to see all these guys. It’s fun to catch up; it’s like we haven’t skipped a beat and it has been fun just reminiscing about everything. You tend to reminisce more about preparing for the games and that’s kind of what we have talked about.”
Story continues below gallery
Rochner, 37, was a senior when the Braves defeated Lawrenceburg 33-21 in Brownstown to bring the first sectional championship to the school.
He said he remembers the team having the confidence throughout the season and before the sectionals.
“I remember having the feeling we were going to win the sectional,” Rochner said, adding that he felt the team had showed everyone that Southern Indiana knew a thing or two about football. “I think everyone thought that Indiana was just a basketball area, but I think it validated what football was about here and really set the path for the tradition here that Coach May has built. I think our team helped capture that vision.”
Brandon Ritter, 38, also was a senior playing right slot during the 1995 season and said the sectional championship game proved to be difficult during the first half, but after adjustments at halftime, the team was able to perform strongly and get the win.
“I know they had a really good back and we had the defense set up for that and they didn’t run that kind of offense, so we were a little behind the eight ball there for the first half,” he said. “Then we came out in the second half and took care of business.”
Ritter said he remembers having confidence in his team leading up to the game but were challenged by the strong first half played by Lawrenceburg.
“We were pretty confident that we were going to win, but we kind of got shocked there at the first half and it brought us back down to Earth, but then we started playing the way we played the whole season,” he said. “We had a couple of games where we had adversity and that’s what Coach May always preached was that when you faced adversity, you found out what kind of team you are.”
Coach Reed May had built what many would consider a powerhouse football school in Brownstown.
May has amassed a strong 219-43 career record with the school, 10 sectional championships and two regionals, since taking over the job in 1993.
May said he remembers getting the win and said it was great for everyone in the community.
“It was great for the players, coaches and fans,” he said.
Brownstown Central had a rough stretch prior — posting 12 consecutive losing seasons up until 1992.
May said he remembers the excitement surrounding the team’s victory.
“It was great,” he said. “We had a Louisville TV station come up; we were their school of the week. We had a pep rally before our next game, the regional. Signs were put up all over town, it was just a great feeling.”
Ritter said he remembers everyone celebrating and encouraging the team to move on to the regional game.
“Everyone was so excited and pumped up,” he said. “Everyone said, ‘Let’s move on and take regional,’ so I remember everyone just being excited about it.”
Rochner said he remembers being proud of earning May his first sectional championship.
“It was great to bring home what Coach May envisioned when he came here,” he said.