> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Charlestown, Jeffersonville and Clarksville survived the first round of the tournament, giving the three programs continued hope for a coveted sectional championship.
As much success as the three programs have had in their respective history, all three have long sectional championship droughts.
Jeff is the most recent champion among them. The Devils won the 2007 Class 5A Sectional 8 championship by beating Evansville North — this week’s opponent — in the championship game.
However, it was Jeff’s only sectional title in the last 14 seasons.
Despite six consecutive outstanding seasons, Charlestown has yet to win a sectional under coach Jason Hawkins. Unbelievably, the Pirates last won a crown in 1996.
It was this week’s Sectional 23 opponent — Corydon Central — that kept the Pirates from winning it last year on its way to its first-ever sectional and regional championships.
Clarksville last won a sectional in 1999, two years after making a run to the state championship game under former coach Dennis Hawkins, Jason’s father. Steve Cooley — now the head coach of the Generals — led Jeff to its last sectional crown before moving over to Clarksville.
DEFENSE EQUALS OFFENSE
Class 3A No. 2 Charlestown (10-0) continued to set offensive records last Friday in its 82-point performance, but Hawkins said a lot of the offense’s recent success is due to the defensive play.
“We’re getting the ball a lot on the short side of the field,” Hawkins said. “That’s the key. We don’t have to go very far to score. I think it really helps when you have a great defense like we do.”
Quarterback Aaron Daniel has always been known first for his running abilities. However, this year he’s thrown for 1,549 yards on 91-of-131 passing and 28 touchdowns through 10 games.
A big reason has been his weapons. Tyler Odle is the leading receiver in the history of Charlestown football and Gage Brafford, Wesley Sexton and Cody Donahue have 823 yards and 12 touchdowns between them.
“We knew we would have a lot of weapons,” Hawkins said. “Aaron just had to get a little more comfortable throwing to everybody. Now, whoever’s open is getting the ball. Aaron feels comfortable throwing to all four of them.”