Since Reed May arrived in 1993 and implemented his hyper-productive Wing-T offense, Brownstown Central’s football teams have scored 10,427 points in 283 games, or 36.8 points per game.
Few players have contributed more to that point total than Gavin Bane.
In fact, the next time he crosses the goal line, Bane will have scored more points in a single season than any player in Brownstown Central history.
Currently sitting on 178 points scored this season, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior slotback needs just one more touchdown or two-point conversion to break Clayton Beard’s school single-season record of 179 points, a mark set in 2001.
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Finding the end zone has never been a problem for Bane.
His next touchdown will be his 29th of the season and will set a new single-season school record — breaking the previous mark of 28, set by Levi Nehrt.
“He was a little bit unknown,” May said, when asked to reflect on Bane’s time in a Brownstown uniform. “His sophomore year, we had so many seniors at his position, we really didn’t get to see him much. He was kind of a pleasant surprise. We knew he could be pretty good, but we didn’t know he would be this good.
“He’s got very good vision and he’s elusive. He has a knack for making people miss.”
Bane has 56 touchdowns and 366 points in his Brownstown career.
If the Braves can make an extended run in this year’s state tournament — which starts this Friday, with Brownstown hosting Brown County in the Sectional 31 opener — Bane could threaten the school’s career scoring mark set by Nehrt (418 points) and the career touchdown record (69 TDs), shared by Nehrt and Jacoby Hines.
Not bad for a kid who grew up watching the Braves on fall Friday nights.
Like other Brownstown youngsters, Bane mostly played football outside of the fence at Blevins Memorial Stadium during Brownstown games, though he paused long enough to admire past Braves offensive stars like Blaze Hurley, Cam Cockerham, Teddy Stucker, Evan Eggersman and Chandler Lambring.
When Bane got his chance to join the varsity as a starter before his junior year, however, he received a verbal slap, not a red-carpet welcome.
“At our team camp at Franklin College,” May said, with a chuckle, “Gavin didn’t block worth a darn, and I laid into him. I probably used some words I shouldn’t have. Not sure if that’s a fond memory for him, but it’s pretty funny now.”
That introduction got Bane’s attention.
“I realized, ‘I’m on the varsity now,’ and it got me going to where I needed to pick it up,” Bane said. “Since that day, my main goal has been to get better.”
Bane responded by scoring 23 touchdowns and 154 points during his junior season, winning team MVP honors and helping Brownstown win a sectional title.
In his senior campaign, Bane has accelerated his offensive production, scoring 20 or more points in six games and averaging a remarkable 19.7 points per game throughout the season.
Bane’s most impressive performance came in late September against Seymour when he scored five touchdowns and accounted for 30 of Brownstown Central’s 32 points, prompting Seymour head coach Josh Shattuck to declare, “(Bane) is an all-conference player at any school in the state.”
“After the Seymour game,” Bane said, “after scoring five (touchdowns), I knew that it could be a good year. The crowd was what made it wild. It was a great atmosphere.”
In three games since the Seymour contest, Bane added another 10 touchdowns and 60 points, putting him on the cusp of Brownstown Central football history.
“It’s really an honor to be able to accomplish that,” Bane said of joining Nehrt and Beard at the top of the scoring lists. “It’s something I’ve worked hard for.”
Bane credited Brownstown’s offensive line, which has helped the Braves average 317 rushing yards per game.
“We talked before the season about staying on your block,” Bane said. “They’ve done a great job driving their feet, maintaining their blocks and then keep driving until the whistle.”
Julian Deaton, Stuart Hayden, Clark Hauer, Lendon Underwood, Trevor Colby, Brendan Patman and Cameron Eggersman have jelled into a solid unit, allowing Bane to enjoy a 1,000-yard rushing season.
He currently has 1,092 yards on 71 attempts for an eye-opening 15.1 yards-per-carry average.
Also helping Bane is Brownstown Central’s multi-option offense. Derek Rieckers, Kyle Kramer, Devin Stuckwish, Lance Goecker and Gus Hogan have all developed into key offensive contributors, making the Braves tough to defend.
“It’s hard for defenses to focus on any one guy,” Bane said.
Confused defenses and Bane’s elusiveness have yielded an abnormally large number of explosive scoring plays. Of his 28 TDs, only seven resulted from plays of less than 10 yards. The other 21 touchdowns came on plays averaging 45 yards — the longest coming on his 86-yard kickoff return against Charlestown in the second game of the season.
The variety of Bane’s scoring is just as noteworthy. Besides running for 20 scores, he has also caught six TD passes, returned a kickoff for a touchdown and returned an interception for a TD.
Bane said he hopes to continue playing football next season at the collegiate level. He is investigating Division III (Marian, Franklin) and Division II (University of Indianapolis) options.
Bane said his dream is to pursue an opportunity at a Division I school, such as Indiana University.
“Size is a struggle for me,” Bane said. “Most football players bulk up in the winter, but I play basketball so it’s hard to eat a lot and lift weights. I’m burning up calories in basketball. But, I don’t think I’m done growing yet.”