By KEVIN HARRIS
Early on, it looked like the Clarksville football team was going to hang with host Lawrenceburg on Friday night at Dick Meador Stadium in the Class 2A Sectional 31 semifinal.
The Generals were tied at seven with the Tigers, ranked 10th in the final Indiana Football Coaches Association Class 2A poll, 5 minutes and 46 seconds into the contest.
Then the wheels fell off for Clarksville.
Lawrenceburg scored 49 unanswered points after that for a 56-7 win. The Tigers (10-1) will visit Paoli, a 22-21 overtime victor over Triton Central in Friday’s other semifinal, in next Friday’s Sectional 31 championship.
“We had too many errors. We’ve been too sporadic in different phases of our team this year,” Generals’ coach Steve Cooley said. “We had three big first-half turnovers that we can’t do against a 10-win football team and expect to win. Our kids have got to learn from that. They outplayed us in every facet of the game tonight.”
Clarksville (6-5) had no answer for Lawrenceburg senior running back Chad Banschbach. The second-leading rusher in the state ran for 169 yards on 22 carries and five touchdowns. Banschbach entered the game with the most rushing touchdowns in Indiana.
The Tigers used seven running plays on their first possession to reach the end zone. Banschbach capped off the 55-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with 8:42 remaining in the opening quarter, putting Lawrenceburg up 7-0. The Tigers’ senior had six carries for 39 yards on the game’s initial possession.
The Generals answered on their first series with a six-play, 60-yard drive. On third-and-goal, Clarksville quarterback Aidan McEwen found wide receiver Brandon Hardin in the left flat of the end zone at the 6:14 mark of the first to tie the game at seven.
But after McEwen got intercepted by Lawrenceburg senior Robert Jackson, the Tigers drove 41 yards on five plays as Banschbach capped off the possession with a 12-yard TD run on an off-tackle play to put Lawrenceburg up 14-7.
The Tigers then decided to spice things up.
They recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, getting the ball on the Clarksville 42-yard line. Later on the series on fourth-and-10 at the Clarksville 32, the Tigers faked the punt as their punter, Conner Bowell, connected with K.C. Hedger on a 19-yard pass for a first down. On the next play, Tigers’ quarterback Sam Fette made a 13-yard scoring scamper to extend the advantage to 21-7.
Following the Generals’ next possession where they were stopped on fourth down on the Lawrenceburg 13, Banschbach concluded an 11-play, 87-yard series with a 19-yard TD run with 57 seconds left in the first half.
After a Clarksville four-and-out, the Tigers needed five plays to reach paydirt in the third quarter. Banschbach got into the end zone with a 19-yard TD run at the 7:45 mark. Then Lawrenceburg’s Sam Reynolds caught a two-point conversion pass from Riley Lansing to up the lead to 36-7.
Banschbach got his fifth touchdown with 5:22 remaining in the third on a 35-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 43-7 lead. The final two Lawrenceburg touchdowns were a 75-yard TD catch by Morgan Baker and a 18-yard scoring reception by Jordon Kauffman.
Generals’ running back Christian Brown had 10 carries for 64 yards. McEwen competed 8-of-17 passes for 60 yards and two interceptions.
Clarksville says goodbye to 10 seniors in Hardin, McEwen, Brown, Nathaniel Jones, Alex Clark, Kyle Nelms, Josh Grady, Nolan Fisher, Anfernee Orndorff and Jake Matthews.
CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 31
LAWRENCEBURG 56, CLARKSVILLE 7
Clarksville 7 0 0 0— 7
Lawrenceburg 14 14 21 7—56
L — Chad Banschbach 10 run (Newman kick), 8:42.
C — Brandon Hardin 7 pass from Aidan McEwen (Nathaniel Jones kick), 6:14.
L — Banschbach 12 run (Newman kick), 1:02.
L — Sam Fette 13 run (Newman kick), 11:00.
L — Banschbach 19 run (Newman kick), :57.
L — Banschbach 19 run (Sam Reynolds pass from Riley Lansing), 7:45.
L — Banschbach 35 run (Newman kick), 5:22.
L — Morgan Baker 75 pass from Sam Fette (pass failed), 2:26.
L — Jordon Kauffman 18 pass from Fette (Newman kick), 7:35.