By KEVIN HARRIS
FLOYDS KNOBS —
After the first two weeks of the high school football season, it is definitely safe to say that Kyle Bramble has picked up where he left off from last year.
Following a 176-yard, three-touchdown performance in last week’s 28-21 victory over Louisville Male, the Floyd Central running back rushed for 310 yards on 23 carries and scored six touchdowns in the Highlanders’ 49-21 win over Providence Friday night at Ron Weigleb Stadium.
“(Bramble) is pretty good, but we’ve got to get sharper,” Floyd Central head coach Brian Glesing said. “His speed shocks everybody. He’s deceptively fast. Our offensive line did a great job tonight. (The O-line) did a good job of coming off the blocks. It’s fun to watch those guys come off the ball.”
Bramble also credited his offensive line and the rest of his team afterwards.
“As usual, the offensive line did great. Everybody stepped up and did their job, especially the defense,” Bramble said. “We’ve still got to get a lot better.”
Bramble’s first TD happened only 1 minute and 17 seconds into the game. On the contest’s fourth play, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior moved left of the line and ran 54 yards to the end zone to put the Highlanders up 7-0.
Providence (1-1) tied the score at seven with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter, as senior running back Jared Griffith ran 15 yards around the left end and hit paydirt. A fumble by Floyd Central fullback Nick Uhl set up the four-play scoring drive.
After that, it was all Bramble and the Highlanders.
On the fourth play of Floyd’s first possession of the second quarter, Bramble caught a swing pass by junior quarterback Bryce Smith, who was under heavy pressure from the Providence defense. After making the reception, Bramble raced 32 yards into the end zone to put the Highlanders up 14-7.
One of the plays that set up Bramble’s TD was a 26-yard reception by tight end Jordan Thompson that put the ball at the Providence 26-yard line.
Following a fumble by Pioneer fullback Zack Johnson, Floyd Central (2-0) put together a four-play, 31-yard drive. Once again, it was Bramble capping off the series with a 13-yard touchdown run with 6:50 remaining in the first half, extending the Highlanders’ advantage to 21-7.
Bramble wasted no time scoring his fourth TD. After the Floyd defense forced a Providence punt and Bramble made a 2-yard run, Bramble then had a 39-yard TD scamper on an off-tackle play to give the Highlanders a 28-7 lead at the 4:02 mark of the second quarter.
Floyd Central appeared to be on its way to another score on its next series. But on first-and-10 at the Providence 37, Pioneer defensive back Ryan Pickerrell intercepted a Smith pass with 58 seconds left in the half to end the scoring threat.
Providence seemed re-energized at the start of the second half. Griffith ran the opening kickoff back 52 yards to the Floyd 48. The Pioneers used seven plays to get the ball to the Highlander 16. But on second-and-9, Providence quarterback Alex Vogel tried to hit a receiver in the left-front corner of the end zone, but he got intercepted by Floyd Central senior cornerback Scott Nichols.
“Our defense stepped up,” Glesing said. “We’ve improved on defense, but we still had a couple of breakdowns.”
Eight plays later, Bramble rumbled in for his fifth TD of the night. On third-and-1, Bramble made a 49-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35-7.
The first Highlander to enter the end zone besides Bramble was 6-5 wide receiver Josh Hack. With 34 seconds left in the third quarter, the senior snagged a 22-yard TD toss from Smith to put Floyd up 42-7.
The Pioneers’ second TD came at the 11:44 mark of the fourth quarter. Griffith reached the end zone for the second time on a 22-yard run, followed by a two-point conversion by Vogel, who was the holder, during a fake extra-point attempt.
But Bramble needed only one play to answer the Providence TD. On first-and-10 from the Highlander 33, Bramble ran 67 yards for his sixth TD of the night. It was his fifth score on the ground.
“We knew coming in that he was a heck of a football player. He’s as good as advertised,” Pioneers’ head coach Larry Denison said. “We had a good scheme against him. We just didn’t make the plays. He’s a very good ballplayer.”
Johnson cut the Pioneers’ deficit to 49-21 with 6:46 remaining in regulation with a 3-yard TD run. Vogel tried to execute another fake on the point-after attempt, but fell short of the goal line.
Johnson led the Pioneers in rushing for the second week in a row, compiling 129 yards on 21 carries. Griffith had 12 carries for 62 yards, while teammate Trevor Ash had 54 yards on four rushes. Vogel was 4-of-10 passing for 22 yards and an interception.
“I thought we played well in the first half. But in the second half, we wore down,” Denison said.
Smith completed 6-of-10 passes for 89 yards and one interception. Highlander sophomore Brennann Schramke rushed for 56 yards on six carries.
Floyd Central will travel to Madison for its Hoosier Hills Conference opener next Friday. Providence will have its home opener next Friday against Louisville Holy Cross.
PROVIDENCE 7 0 0 14—21
FLOYD CENTRAL 7 21 14 7—49
F — Bramble 54 run (VanBuren kick), 10:43.
P — Griffith 15 run (Wimp kick), :20.
F — Bramble 32 pass from Smith (VanBuren kick), 10:43.
F — Bramble 13 run (VanBuren kick), 6:50.
F — Bramble 39 run (VanBuren kick), 4:02.
F — Bramble 49 run (VanBuren kick), 5:13.
F — Hack 22 pass from Smith (VanBuren kick), :34.
P — Griffith 22 run (Vogel run), 11:44.
F — Bramble 67 run (VanBuren kick), 11:32.
P — Z. Johnson 3 run (run failed), 6:46.