By ADAM PRUIETT
Last week, the Eastern football team achieved a landmark victory after winning at Clarksville for the first time in program history.
On Friday night, however, another unprecedented win was not in the cards.
The Musketeers faced a Brownstown Central team they have never beaten, and the visiting Braves kept that winning streak intact with a 53-8 triumph in Mid-Southern Conference action.
An upset over Brownstown Central (3-0, 2-0 MSC) would have been a colossal feat for Eastern (1-2, 1-1). The Braves have won a minimum of eight games every year since 1999, and thus far have given every indication that that string of excellence will continue this season. Perfect after three games, they have outscored their opponents by a combined total of 167-34.
Brownstown Central ran its streak of dominance over Eastern to seven straight seasons. Each victory was by 25 points or better, and it was the fourth time the Braves reached 50 points.
Things actually started out well for Eastern before they unraveled in a hurry. Junior quarterback Austin Roberts fired to sophomore receiver Coty Estes on a quick hitter for 14 yards on the first play from scrimmage and the pair connected again for 15 yards.
On fourth-and-2, Eastern attempted to draw Brownstown Central offsides and one of the Braves did jump. However, the defender pedaled back before the ball was snapped and the officials ruled he didn’t enter the neutral zone. Instead of a potential first down, the Musketeers were forced to punt the first of several times.
“We talked all week about, if we’re going to play with them, we’ve got to get first downs,” Eastern coach John Dablow said. “We wanted to eat that clock a little bit. But we’ve been trying to go uptempo, so the kids aren’t used to slowing it down.”
It didn’t hurt them this time. Junior defensive back Nick Jenkins intercepted Braves’ quarterback Clay Brown in the end zone for a touchback.
Unfortunately for Eastern, that was the only time other than a last-possession kneel-down where the Braves didn’t score in the first half. On Brownstown Central’s second possession, wingback John McKinney swept right behind a herd of blockers for a 33-yard touchdown.
The Braves were just getting started.
On their next trip, they marched 77 yards on nine plays capped by a 3-yard run by wingback Jacob Wilson, the first of his four first-half touchdowns. The other three came on touchdown passes from Brown — from 42, 56 and 30 yards.
“We did good tonight,” said Wilson, who finished with four catches for 152 yards. “We kept our blocking, passed the ball well.”
The Brown-Wilson connection didn’t waste any time getting the Braves into the end zone. The first TD pass between the two came on the second play of a drive, the second score came on the first play of a possession and the third TD came on the sixth play of an offensive opportunity.
“He was wide open all night, and the line did a heck of a job blocking,” said Brown, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. “Jake’s a heck of an athlete. Usually he pulls it in and takes it for 6.”
Everything clicked for Brownstown Central offensively and defensively as the Braves built a 34-0 lead by halftime. They showcased their run game in the first quarter and went almost exclusively to the pass in the second period. Both worked with expert efficiency.
“The ground game worked really well all night, and then the second quarter we started throwing the ball, started throwing it deep and it started working,” Brown said.
Brownstown Central picked up right where it left off in the third quarter. The Braves moved 75 yards on eight plays as McKinney converted a shovel pass from Brown into a 5-yard touchdown and 40-0 lead.
“We didn’t cover and we didn’t get any pressure on the quarterback,” Dablow said. “With those two things, they were kind of able to pick us apart.”
Caleb Wischmeier added a 71-yard touchdown run for Brownstown Central, and McKinney scored on a 5-yard shovel pass. Fullback Justin Donnells ran for a team-best 115 yards on 12 carries and Wischmeier chipped in 99 on just four carries.
The Braves held the Musketeers to 173 yards of total offense while gaining a staggering 620.
“I was pretty impressed with the defense because they put up 55 (points) against Clarksville,” Brown said. “To come out here and basically shut them out was impressive.”
Eastern avoided the shutout when Roberts plunged in from 2 yards out in the fourth quarter. He went 8 for 21 with 58 yards passing.
BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL 53, EASTERN 8
Brownstown Central 12 22 19 0—53
Eastern 0 0 0 8 — 8
BC — John McKinney 33 run (kick failed), 5:18
BC — Jacob Wilson 3 run (kick failed), 1:27
BC — Wilson 42 pass from Clay Brown (Austin Perry pass from Brown), 10:15
BC — Wilson 56 pass from Brown (Perry pass from Brown), 7:34
BC — Wilson 30 pass from Brown (kick failed), 1:59
BC — John McKinney 5 pass from Brown (kick failed), 8:55
BC — Justin Donnells 5 run (Kyle Kramer kick), 5:18
BC — Caleb Wischmeier 71 run (kick failed), 2:46
E — Austin Roberts 2 run (Coty Estes pass from Roberts), 5:19
Brownstown Central (13-19-252-1): Brown 12-18-244-1, Carson Lambring 1-1-8-0
Eastern (8-21-58-0): Roberts 8-21-58-0
Brownstown Central (38-368): Donnells 12-115, Caleb Wischmeier 4-99, McKinney 4-61, Wilson 5-33, Jacob Jackson 3-31, Noah Cotton 2-14, Filippo Lippi-Hutcheson 5-13, Devin Stuckwisch 1-2, Kramer 2-0.
Eastern (35-115): Ames 2-45, Tristen Smith 11-34, 5-19, Brian Arnold 7-12, Mike Hall 3-7, Roberts 4-2, Jordan Eberle 3- negative-4.
Brownstown Central: Wilson 4-152, Perry 2-46, Mitchell Grider 2-18, Donnells 2-15, McKinney 2-13, Lippi-Hutcheson 1-8.
Eastern: Estes 4-38, Jordan Eberle 2-8, Scott Worrall 1-9, Ames 1-3.