Rankings, records and recent history all pointed to a victory for Brownstown Central’s football team in its Class 3A Sectional 31 opener against Brown County on Friday night.
The actual result matched the prediction as Brownstown (9-1) dominated Brown County 62-0.
Brownstown advances to a semifinal matchup with Salem next week. The Lions defeated Corydon 49-20 on Friday night. Brownstown defeated Salem during the regular season 49-12.
“In the past, when we’ve had tough sectional draws, we’ve been forced to stay focused,” Brownstown head coach Reed May said. “(Staying focused) is a concern, but we practiced well this week. Each week, it gets more serious, so we’ll find out next week where we are.”
Against Brown County, the Braves enjoyed generous field position and a dominant defense all night. Brownstown’s offense, on average, started on Brown County’s 45-yard line, scored on nine of 12 possessions and showed characteristic explosiveness as all nine touchdowns were scored on plays of greater than 10 yards.
Gavin Bane led with three TDs, two on runs of 56 and 13 yards and one on a 73-yard shovel pass from Kyle Kramer.
With his performance, Bane broke Brownstown’s single-season touchdown and scoring records. The senior now has 31 TDs this season, bettering the previous record of 28, and 196 points, shattering the former mark of 179.
Bane’s third TD gave the Braves a 42-0 lead at halftime and generally ended the night for Brownstown’s starters.
Kyle Kramer started the Braves’ scoring with a 29-yard run just 47 seconds into the first quarter. Brownstown’s Matthew Bell set up Kramer’s touchdown by recovering a Brown County fumble on the game’s opening kickoff.
Andrew Murphy and Derek Rieckers also added first-half touchdowns. Grant Stuckwisch, Seth Borden and Bell each added scores in the second half.
Brownstown’s defense, meanwhile, limited Brown County to just 38 total yards on 44 offensive plays. The Braves’ effort was highlighted by 11 tackles for loss that resulted in negative-62 yards.
Carson Lambring and Derek Thompson each intercepted a Brown County pass, while Bell, Devin Stuckwisch, Trevor Colby and Colton Ritz registered quarterback sacks.
For Brown County (1-9), a tough season got tougher almost immediately. Early in the first quarter, starting quarterback Noah Carter left the field with what appeared to be an injured shoulder and never returned. Later, running back Colten Harper suffered an ankle injury.
The Eagles pressed on, however, getting solid defensive play from Luke Getts, who led Brown County with six tackles, and defensive lineman Nolan Kelly, who highlighted the Eagles’ night with a sack and a tackle for loss on consecutive plays.
Brown County’s offensive high note came on a halfback option play in which Tristan Richards found Isaiah Keefauver for a 45-yard pass play. Later, Noah Ryan extended a drive by running for a first down on a fake punt.
Despite the loss, Brown County coach Randy Minniear had a positive outlook.
“It was a treat to play a first-rate program like Brownstown,” Minniear said. “They’re very strong, disciplined and well-coached. I’d like to see who’s going to beat them.
“We’re young and have a lot to learn. We’re getting better and better. Our kids never quit. We only graduate eight players, so there’s hope for the future. We hope to challenge a program like (Brownstown) in the near future.”