By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Until last Friday’s 37-27 Class 5A Sectional 8 semifinal win over Evansville North, Jeffersonville hadn’t played in a game that was decided in the fourth quarter since a season-opening 29-25 loss to Louisville Eastern.
Except for a 41-6 loss to Columbus East in Week 8, the Red Devils (8-3) hadn’t even been challenged in the second half since beating Bedford North Lawrence 41-26 in the third week of the season.
Jeff scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and the game-clincher with six minutes left, giving the Red Devils their first real tough win of the season.
“We didn’t panic,” Devils’ coach Lonnie Oldham said. “We just stayed with the game plan and was able to retake the lead.”
After trailing 7-3 after the first quarter, Jeff was able to take advantage of two North turnovers and put three scores on the board in less than two minutes to take a 24-7 lead.
“The key was the turnover margin,” Oldham said. “We obviously came out ahead. You have to play field position in a game like that. We were punting and playing defense and trying to make them make mistakes. They made mistakes right there back-to-back and that was the difference.”
In the muddy conditions, the Red Devils ran more and threw less. Jeff ran 37 times for 260 yards, led by Austin Hines’ 173 yards, and threw just 30 times for 165.
“We became a mud team because we had to,” Oldham said. “In the playoffs, you’re going to have to run the ball at times. That’s really not what we do best and we know that’s not what we do best. We performed well enough to win.”
JEFF RESCINDS APPEAL
Jeffersonville High School decided last week not to pursue the appeal of a forfeit game against Madison. Jeff was given the loss — despite the Red Devils beating the Cubs on the field, 36-7 — when Oldham apparently played an ineligible player.
“[Greater Clark Schools superintendent] Dr. [Andrew] Melin decided not go ahead [with the appeal],” Oldham said. “I haven’t heard from him personally, but I have heard from [Jeff athletic director Lisa Stemler] that they’re not going to pursue the appeal.”
Although clearly upset by the decision of the administration, Oldham declined further comment.
STILL GETTING BETTER
Corydon Central coach Darin Ward said last week that what would be different the second time around against Class 3A No. 2 Charlestown was that his Panthers wouldn’t be shocked at how good the Pirates are.
Ward and the Panthers learned that — as good as Charlestown has been all season — the Pirates played at another level on Friday.
Charlestown (11-0) continued its domination with a 49-6 win over No. 16 Corydon Central on Friday in the Class 3A Sectional 23 semifinal.
The Pirates led 28-0 after one quarter and 49-0 at the half. Quarterback Aaron Daniel ran for five touchdowns in the first 13 minutes and 36 seconds, then threw for another 35 seconds later.
“I asked the kids before the game that there are people who think they know how good we are but to go out and show them we’re even better than they thought,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said. “We wanted to show them they could still be shocked at how good we are. I’m impressed that they did that.”
Every coach says he wants his team to improve every week. It just doesn’t usually happen.
It has with Hawkins’ 2012 Charlestown Pirates.
“Every year coaches say we want to get better every week,” Hawkins said. “This is one of the few times that I think we really did get better every week so far.”
One reason has been strong offensive line play. Sophomore center Austin Keith is surrounded by five seniors — Cole Nokes, Zach Knight, Leighton Brewer, Stephen Johnson and Alec Wakefield — who have protected Daniel and opened gaping holes for him and running back Seth McCutchen to run through.
Daniel has been sacked just four times for 26 yards and the Pirates have rushed for 3,609 yards on 374 carries (9.6 yards per rush) as a team.
“We’re running the ball pretty much at will on people because we have great linemen,” Hawkins said.
Brewer is questionable for Friday’s sectional championship. Brewer left Friday’s win over Corydon with continued knee pain.
“We’re hoping he’s going to be OK,” Hawkins said. “We need Leighton. He’s a tough kid. He’s going to give it a go. I just don’t know how he’ll feel in the next couple days.”
GENERALS HAD THEIR CHANCES
Like its season’s 6-5 record, Clarksville’s 56-7 loss to Class 2A No. 10 Lawrenceburg was misleading.
The Generals were even with Lawrenceburg through much of the first half. Two key plays changed everything.
A forced fumble that would have put Clarksville in position to tie the game was ruled an incomplete pass. Then the General defense had the Tigers stopped on fourth down and 12. Lawrenceburg faked the punt, got the first down and went on to score and take a 28-7 halftime lead.
“It’s one of those things that if about three things go different, it could be 14-14 at halftime,” Clarksville coach Steve Cooley said.
With the Generals down 21 points at the half, they had to uncharacteristically abandon their running game. The result was a 28-0 second half for the Tigers.
“We had our chances,” Cooley said. “We just made too many mistakes. We didn’t adjust to the elements and they were just better than we were.”
Clarksville had its first winning season since 2006 and won its first sectional game on Oct. 19, 32-0 over Eastern.
The shame is the final record of 6-5 will always be deceiving. The Generals five losses were all against ranked teams that have a combined 45-9 record.
“We made great strides this year,” Cooley said. “We’re getting Clarksville football back on the map. The seniors should be proud that they left Clarksville football better than they found it.
“It is bittersweet from the standpoint that we are better than a 6-5 team. Any other year, we finish with a better record. But we grew [from the tough schedule] and our team got better playing good football teams.”
Cooley said the future is bright for the Generals.
“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “We’re going to miss our 10 seniors, but we have some good young kids we think can fill their shoes.”
WEEK 11 AWARDS
• Player of the Week: Aaron Daniel, Charlestown. Daniel only needed a half to run for 163 yards and five touchdowns (on just nine carries) and throw for another 64 (and a TD strike to Cody Donahue) as the Pirates whipped Corydon Central 49-6 in the semifinals of Class 3A Sectional 23 play.
• Team of the Week: Charlestown. The Pirates have been impressive all season, but 49-0 at halftime over an 8-2 and ranked Panther squad? Really? Now that’s impressive.
• Play of the Week: Dionte Allen’s touchdowns. The mammoth Jeffersonville fullback/tight end scored the go-ahead touchdown from 24 yards out midway through the third quarter, then scored the game-clincher from 2 yards away with six minutes left in Jeff’s 37-27 win over Evansville North.
• Coach of the Week: Lonnie Oldham, Jeffersonville. Oldham and his staff made the adjustments they needed to make to help the Red Devils move on.