For The Tribune
Gibson Southern left little doubt about its No. 1 ranking and well-earned offensive reputation, exploding for 49 unanswered points during a 17-minute stretch and cruising to a 56-7 Class 3A regional victory against Brownstown Central on Friday night.
The convincing win ended Brownstown’s season at 10-3 and advances Gibson Southern (13-0) to next week’s semistate, where Indianapolis Bishop Chatard awaits.
“We’ve lost to some pretty good team in the regionals and semistate, and that’s a good football team,” Brownstown head coach Reed May said. “They’re an outstanding football team.”
Brownstown actually controlled the first quarter, stopping Gibson Southern’s first two drives while possessing the ball for nearly 10 of the opening period’s 12 minutes.
In the second quarter, however, the senior-laden Titans flipped the game’s momentum.
“(Brownstown) moved the ball well, but our defensive staff made a few adjustments,” Gibson Southern head coach Nick Hart said. “Once we started controlling the ball in the second quarter, I thought we started wearing down their two-way players a little bit.”
Gibson Southern started 11 seniors on defense and the results showed. Brownstown entered the regional averaging 335 rushing yards but managed just 175 on Friday, though even that number understates the Titans’ dominance.
When Gibson Southern pulled its seniors at the end of the third quarter, the Titan’s led 49-0 and held a 535-51 offensive-yardage advantage.
“Their defensive line is unbelievable,” May said. “You’ve got to double-team them, which allowed their linebackers to roam free and get good penetration. Nobody’s moved the ball against them all year, and we didn’t either.”
Gibson Southern’s offense ignited behind the efforts of its senior quarterback Nick Sellers, who finished the game with 363 yards and four touchdowns on 16-for-22 passing.
Sellers ran for one touchdown, found senior receiver Griffin Scheller twice for TDs and connected with junior wide out Chandler McKee on a 72-yard scoring pass — all in the second quarter to give the Titans a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Sellers then ran for another TD, connected with Scheller again and handed off to JJ Miller for a rushing touchdown in the third quarter to push Gibson Southern in front 49-0.
Against the Titans’ second-team defense, Brownstown was able to move the ball, scoring on a 25-yard Gavin Bane run. However, two fumbles — including one on Gibson Southern’s 1 yard line — denied the Braves any further scoring opportunities.
Bane was Brownstown Central’s workhorse all night, carrying the ball 13 times for 71 yards and returning nine kicks for 161 yards.
Bane’s fourth quarter TD gave him a remarkable 164 points on the season, just 15 shy of Brownstown’s single-season record (Clayton Beard in 2001).
Friday’s loss dropped Brownstown’s record in regionals to 2-9. It was the Braves’ worst loss since a 52-point defeat to Charlestown in the 2012 sectional final.
Despite the disappointing regional, May said the 2015 season went better than expected.
“I don’t think anyone thought back in January that we were going to win the sectional,” May said. “I’m very proud of this team. They were fun to coach, they listened and they won a sectional. That’s a tough thing to accomplish.”