> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
New Albany coach Charlie Fields hopes the Bulldogs’ heartbreaking setback to Floyd Central will be another learning experience for them this season. New Albany (6-3) must recover well if it plans to upset Class 3A No. 3 Center Grove (8-1) on the road in the Class 6A Sectional 8 semifinals this coming Friday.
Fields says his troops have bounced back well from their two other losses in 2013. The setbacks were a 14-7 loss at Castle on Aug. 30 and a 48-20 thumping at Columbus East on Sept. 20.
“We learn from every loss,” Fields said. “We learned and got better after the Castle loss. We learned and got better after the Columbus East loss. If we learn from this, we’ll be fine. It’s very tough and emotional for [the Bulldogs losing to Floyd Central]. But they’ll learn from it and we’ll have a great week of practice and we’ll give Center Grove everything they want and more.”
Fields says his players must continue to work on toning down their emotions entering a big game.
“When we just play, we’re pretty good,” Fields said. “The problem with this game [with the Highlanders] is we got very emotional and we didn’t play as well as we felt we could. For a stretch against [in New Albany’s 33-26 win over Jeffersonville on Oct. 4], we were in a very similar situation and once we settled down, we did better.”
— Kevin Harris
A CHANGE THAT HELPED BOTH SIDES
Since replacing Nathan Banet with Owen Mattingly at quarterback, Providence’s offense has looked like an entirely different unit.
So has its defense — and that’s no coincidence.
In closing the regular-season with five straight wins, the Pioneers have scored 213 points (and that includes a forfeit win over this week’s opponent, Indianapolis Manual) and has given up just 37.
“It’s was more than just changing personnel,” Providence coach Larry Denison explained. “We knew we thought we had a lot of good skill guys, so we thought spreading it out and throwing the ball was the way to do it. It turned out running the ball was a better fit for us and we’re not turning the ball over like before.
“We’re not putting our defense in bad situations, like before. It’s helped with both sides. It also allowed us to move Nathan over to [cornerback] and that’s helped our defense out, too. It’s something that made a big difference.”
Despite a 62-12 win over Clarksville in the City Championship, Denison didn’t think his team performed as well as it had in wins over Jeffersonville, Mitchell and Charlestown.
“We won fairly handily, but we didn’t play as well as we should have,” he said. “We missed tackles and blocking assignments and we had some special teams miscues. Those are things that against teams like a Triton Central or Milan or Paoli, they’ll make you pay for. We have to do a better job of fixing those things.”
JEFF ENDS LOSING STREAK WITH BIG PLAYS, WITHOUT HINES
A four-game losing streak seemed on the verge of ballooning to five for the Jeffersonville football team on Friday night against visiting Jennings County.
Hope was restored on a big play that resulted in a touchdown. Then came another to set up a second score and place momentum firmly on the side of the Devils. A third big play followed to trigger another TD as Jeff started to run away with the game. The Devils officially did when they executed a fourth big play.
Even without injured star running back Austin Hines and despite a month-long skid, Jeff is more than capable of making explosive plays on offense, as the Devils proved late in their 33-7 win over the Panthers in their regular season and Hoosier Hills Conference finale.
What was particularly satisfying Friday for the Devils (5-4) was the aforementioned big plays all came from different sources. Tailback Shawn Rouson got Jeff untracked — both this game and this season — when he kept his balance on a would-be tackle by Jennings County and scooted 80 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
Tight end Dionte Allen then set up his own touchdown run with a 24-yard catch from quarterback Jamal Britt. An Allen TD reception came one play after Britt spotted wide receiver Chris Campbell over the middle for 40 yards.
Finally, Britt flipped to tight end Dalton Adkins on a screen pass. With blockers in front of him, Adkins chugged down the right sideline 26 yards to the end zone.
Jeff had other big plays erased due to penalty — most notably a 74-yard touchdown run on a reverse by wide receiver Isaiah Blanton — but the yellow flags didn’t come out of the officials’ pockets on the big gains that piled up to produce a blowout.
Jeff is back in the win column. The Devils can stay there in the postseason with similarly shrewd efforts on defense and the penalty-flag-free execution of big plays on offense.
— Adam Pruiett
PIRATES D COMES THROUGH AGAIN DESPITE INJURIES
Charlestown (6-3) ended its regular season on Friday pretty much the same way it finished last season — with a blowout win over Eastern. The 64-0 victory was the fifth shutout for the Pirate defense this season — two more than the sectional championship team of last season.
If the sectional scenarios play out, the Pirates should meet Brownstown Central for the championship. The Braves defeated the Pirates 40-26 in Week 2, but the Pirates seemed to find themselves in the second half of that game. The Pirates then rolled off five consecutive wins before a loss at Providence in Week 8.
But for the Braves and Pirates to meet again in three weeks, Charlestown must overcome some injuries. Tristan Chester, Darren Taylor and Jake Harper were among the starters that didn’t see action against Eastern due to injury.
“Right now, I’m not sure of their status,” said Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins. “We’ll have to go with what we have.”
— Mike Riley
HIGHLANDERS HOPE TO GET HEALTHY DURING BYE WEEK
Floyd Central is the only team in the area that will have to wait a week to play its first sectional game. The Highlanders (7-2) will host Jennings County (3-6) in the Class 5A Sectional 14 semifinals on Friday, Nov. 1.
A bye week after Floyd Central’s dramatic 35-34 win at New Albany last Friday will give the Highlanders some time to get healthy. Floyd Central was missing two starters in senior running back cornerback Gabriel Kennedy and senior tight end and defensive lineman Lukas Quinkert.
“We get a well-deserved week off,” Highlanders’ coach Brian Glesing said. “We’re going to get healed up a little bit. We worked the kids out pretty hard the last two weeks because it was fall break for us. But we’ve got some guys banged up. We had two starters out. Quinkert and Kennedy were both banged up and didn’t play [last Friday]. But they’ll be back and ready to go for the playoffs.”
Floyd Central defeated the Panthers in a Hoosier Hills Conference contest on Oct. 11 at Ron Weigleb Stadium, 54-30.
“Hopefully, we’ll get healthy and we have two weeks to get ready for Jennings. It’s always tough to beat a team twice [in one season],” Glesing said.
LONG RIDE TRIPS UP DRAGONS
On Friday, the Silver Creek football team took the longest trip in program history when it went to Lawrenceburg.
The two-hour bus ride appeared to play havoc on the Dragons, who fell behind 39-15 at the half.
However, Silver Creek outscored the 7-2 Tigers 13-6 in the second half and shut them out in the third quarter. That’s something the team can build on, coach Mike Donahue said.
“I told them after the game that the thing I was most proud of was that they could have either folded or stepped it up, and they stepped it up — on both sides of the ball,” Donahue recalled.
This Friday, the Dragons hope to take advantage of a 1-8 Boonville team that will be making a long trip. However, Donahue knows that the Pioneers are better than a team that has lost eight straight.
“We’re in decent shape to go into the sectional, but we realize Boonville plays tough competition,” he said. “We know they’re better than their record.”
DON’T COUNT OUT THE MUSKETEERS
As for Eastern (2-7) its sectional quest starts as the Musketeers host Paoli, a power in Class 2A in recent years.
Don’t automatically write Eastern off.
Yes, Paoli is 7-2 with its only losses coming to 4A Evansville Central and Class A power Perry Central, but three of the Rams victories — against MSC members Salem, Corydon Central and North Harrison — were all fairly close games.
And if the Musketeers were to pull off the upset, that would set up a meeting with either Clarksville or Crawford Co., the two teams that Pekin owns victories over this season. This could be interesting.
All season, Clarksville coach Steve Cooley has believed if he could field a healthy team, it would be one that would win football games.
Unfortunately, it never happened and the Generals closed the regular season with a 62-12 loss to Providence in the Clarksville City Championship and without a victory.
“I’m proud of the effort the kids ended the regular season with,” Cooley said. “We didn’t have the wins we would have like, but as far as young kids stepping in and playing hard, it’s been a success. We’ve been a wounded animals since Week 2 or 3.
“I’m proud of the resilience of these kids to show up every day and compete without the rest of the bullets in the gun. These are lessons these kids will take with them the rest of their lives, how to get knocked down and get back up again and fight.”
Clarksville drew 2-7 Crawford County — a program the Generals have dominated over the years — in Friday’s Sectional 39 opening round. What may seem to be a winnable game probably depends on the health of the the Generals.
“They’re pretty good,” Cooley said of the Wolfpack. “If we were 100 percent, we’d be like, ‘Hey, we’re playing Crawford County,’ but we’re not. Right now it’s day-by-day who we’re going to have [available to play]. We’ll play hard for 48 minutes for a chance to play another 48 minutes.”
WEEK 9 OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Darien Noel, Providence: Noel only touched the ball three times, but had finished with 115 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 37 and 15 yards. He also had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Pioneers’ 62-12 victory in Friday’s Clarksville City Championship.
WEEK 9 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Matt Myers, Charlestown: Myers had five solo tackles, five assists, a quarterback sack and three tackles for loss as the Pirates’ pitched their fifth shutout of the season — 64-0 over Eastern — on Friday.
OTHER WEEK 9 STARS
• Shawn Rouson, Jeffersonville: In the place of injured Austin Hines, Rouson carried the ball 12 times for 162 yards, including an 80-yard TD in the Devils’ 33-7 win over Jennings County.
• Brandon Stout, Floyd Central: Stout caught three passes for 59 yards, threw a 10-yard TD pass to Garry Posey and had an interception in the Highlanders’ 35-34 win over New Albany.
• Antonyo Gaddie, Charlestown: The Pirate freshman ran for 96 yards and threw for 34 in Friday’s 64-0 win over Eastern.
• Brooks Howell, Silver Creek: Howell threw for 269 yards and three touchdowns in the Dragons’ 45-28 loss to Lawrenceburg.
• Dalton Adkins, Jeffersonville: On offense, Adkins caught a 26-yard TD pass from Jamal Britt. On defense, he had 12 total tackles, including four solos, in the Red Devils’ win over Jennings County.
• Gaige Klingsmith, Floyd Central: Klingsmith rushed for 160 yards on 35 carries in the Highlanders’ triumph over Floyd County rival New Albany.
• Zach Donan, New Albany: The Bulldogs QB rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the loss to Floyd.
• Brandon Coleman, Jeffersonville: Coleman had eight tackles and an interception in the Devils’ victory over Jennings County.
• Nick Uhl, Floyd Central: Uhl carried seven times for 110 yards, including the first score in Floyd’s win over rival New Albany.