While Brownstown Central’s football team got its chance for revenge, the Braves couldn’t achieve a different result at Neary Field.
The Braves (8-2) gave up 26 second-half points in a 33-14 Class 3A Sectional 31 opening-round loss Friday evening to Lawrenceburg (9-1).
It was the first-opening round loss for the Braves since the 2011 season.
Neither team could put the ball in the end zone in the opening 12 minutes, as the teams battled for field possession.
Before the first buzzer, Caleb Bollinger made a touchdown-saving tackle for the Braves on a 50-yard run from the Tigers’ Jalen Parks on the right sideline.
The Tigers continued to move the ball to start the second quarter. A 5-yard touchdown from Adam Burd and a kick by Peyton Seig capped a 70-yard drive to put the host team up 7-0 with 9:37 left in the first half.
Brownstown answered with an 83-yard touchdown drive.
The Braves marched to the Tigers’ 23-yard line on seven runs before facing third-and-4. The Tigers were called for a 5-yard penalty, and the Braves took advantage from there.
Pushing all the way to within inches of the goal line, Gus Hogan scored on a quarterback keeper. Ethan Sevakis’ kick tied it at 7 with 4:49 left until intermission.
Lawrenceburg was limited to five plays by the Brownstown defense before being forced to punt.
The Braves got excellent field position, starting on the Tigers’ 37.
Bollinger hauled in a one-handed catch on third down and followed with an 11-yard run to put the Braves on the Tigers’ 4.
Hogan again pushed his way to the front to give the Braves their first lead with 45.8 ticks on the clock. Sevakis’ kick made it 14-7.
Braves coach Reed May said the defense played well in the first half, but the Tigers dialed up the intensity in the final 24 minutes.
“I think (Lawrenceburg) started playing better,” May said of the second half. “Offensively, we could move the ball some, but it came down to some critical third down situations where we didn’t make plays. They’re good. They lost some guys but got some really good guys back on defense. They’re a heck of a football team.”
After a quick three-and-out by the Braves to start the third quarter, the Tigers struck.
Lawrenceburg picked up three straight first downs on a pair of 11-yard runs and an 18-yard scamper from Parks. After picking up five more yards, Burd ran 10 yards for the touchdown before a kick by Seig.
The Tigers were able to amass a 75-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard run from Hunter Privett, to lead 20-14 with 1:55 in the third quarter. On the extra point attempt, which was backed up due to a penalty on the first try, the Braves’ Derek Thompson blocked the ball before it got over the line.
The Braves were unable to convert a pair of fourth and third downs in the fourth quarter, while the Tigers put up two more scores.
Mason Parris ran a 67-yard TD, and Burd sprinted for a 54-yard score with 6:50 left before the Tigers’ defense put the game away. In that span, they failed on a two-point conversion and hit a PAT.
Colton Ritz led the Braves with 90 yards on 13 carries, and Hogan had 32 yards on 17 attempts. Hogan threw for 60 yards, finishing 5-for-10 through the air.
Brownstown graduates 10 seniors from its program.
“Overall, we’re disappointed, but if someone told me last December we would be 8-2, I would say that’s pretty good,” May said. “These seniors only won one game as eighth-graders. That’s a pretty remarkable turnaround for that group.”