Brownstown Central’s football team is a state championship finals caliber unit.
Going into last Friday’s regional game, I don’t know that I could have made that statement with absolute certainty. It’s now obvious Brownstown Central (12-1) stands above nearly all the teams in Class 3A.
That’s something you can’t dispute.
But the way the Braves dominated Evansville Memorial in a crushing 30-7 win — in a game where most considered the Braves underdogs — they proved they belong near the top of the list.
It was a performance where everything clicked, and we saw just how good this Brownstown team can play when it’s at its best.
All season long, the Braves’ offense has made a lot of headlines.
The shotgun wing-T has befuddled some of the most disciplined defenses while chewing up large chunks of time on the clock.
Brownstown has regularly owned sizeable leads by the fourth quarter, which forces the opposition to scramble for points.
Heck, the running game has even fooled photographers on the sidelines. You think the ball is going one way, and before you realize it it’s changing fields and the ball carrier is in the end zone the opposite way your camera is pointed.
Head coach Reed May told me last week that he created this offense to cause havoc and beat teams like Memorial.
That plan has been pure gold in 2016.
Nobody runs the same offense in these parts, and to fully understand the Braves’ game plan takes more than a week of preparation.
While the attack has created electricity, it’s the defense I’ve found most impressive in the postseason.
The first half’s defensive effort against Memorial was the best I’ve seen from any Braves team in my two years as sports editor.
They were an absolute force.
Going into the game against Memorial — a team which had thrown for over 2,200 yards — the defensive backs needed to step up. The way that the DBs blanketed Memorial’s receivers was first-class.
Carson Lambring, Gavin Bane, Gus Hogan and Andrew Murphy combined to break up nine downfield passes. They negated the passing play multiple times and had numerous opportunities to pick the ball off for an interception.
Brownstown has allowed just 31 points in four tournament games this season (7.8 per game). Making this year’s defense so impressive is its performance in the biggest games.
In the sectional championship, Southridge arrived with a 10-1 record and a 34.6 points per game average. The Braves limited the Raiders to 14 points. In the regional, Memorial entered with a 9-3 record and a 36.8 average.
A total of 12 Brownstown teams have played four or more tournament games in a season (including this year’s team). In the 11 previous four-tournament-game seasons, Brownstown allowed an average of 80 points, or 20 points per game.
One of our writers, John Regruth, said it best in regards to the defense.
“It’s easily the best performance of any Reed May-coached team,” he said.
Whatever the final score may be by the end of a Braves game, you always know this at the start: the Braves will come prepared.
Defensive coordinator Shane Fallis, May and the rest of the staff have continually made sure the players are ready week in and out.
That’s something that won’t change and has proven true for years.
In this week’s semistate showdown, Lawrenceburg promises to be the toughest test thus far for Brownstown’s defenders. The Tigers carry a 12-1 record and average 47.8 points per game.
If the Braves play like they did in the regional this week at semistate, a ticket to Lucas Oil Stadium on Nov. 26 will get punched.
Jordan Morey is the sports editor for The Tribune. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.