By ADAM PRUIETT
The monkey on their back. The elephant in their locker room. The albatross around their neck.
They’re gone now.
Ushered out of Blair Field once and for all in utterly satisfying fashion on Friday evening in front of a delighted home crowd.
After 20 straight season openers ended in disappointing fashion for the Jeffersonville football team, the Red Devils began a 2013 campaign filled with hope by ending a long streak of futility with a 60-48 win over Evansville Bosse.
The 60 points for Jeff was nine within the school record set in 1971 against Indianapolis Shortridge. It was the first meeting ever between the Devils and Bosse.
Friday’s game did pose a prime opportunity for Jeff (1-0) to change its fortunes in season debuts. Bosse (0-1) was coming off a winless season, while the Devils won eight games in 2012 and advanced to the Class 5A Sectional 8 championship game.
Suffice it to say, Jeff didn’t waste its chance.
Senior running back Austin Hines had himself a mammoth opener for the Red Devils. He ran for 159 yards and four touchdowns alone in the first half, with a 56-yard burst in the second quarter that gave Jeff the lead for good. Hines also had scoring runs of 27, 2 and 7 yards before intermission as the Devils built a 33-14 lead.
For the game, Hines finished with an astonishing 257 yards and six touchdowns on 35 carries. He added scores of 3 and 4 yards in the second half.
CJ Howard was just as explosive for Bosse. All the senior wide receiver did Friday night was catch touchdowns, as he made scoring grabs of 33, 38, 79 and 20 yards. He didn’t make any other catches in between those touchdowns.
The game was competitive for much of the first half before Jeff ripped off 20 unanswered points inside the last five minutes. After falling down 13-0, Bosse rallied back for a 14-13 lead with 5:43 left in the second quarter on quarterback Ian Nunley’s second touchdown pass to Howard. That one covered 38 yards and the first went for 33 after the Bulldogs didn’t cross midfield over their first three possessions.
Almost as quickly as Bosse seized momentum, Hines and his blockers got it back for Jeff.
On the second play after Howard’s go-ahead touchdown, Hines turned a counter play into a 56-yard touchdown run down the right sideline.
He wasn’t finished.
Hines scored from 2 yards out after Jeff defensive lineman Joseph Simmons set him up with an interception off a batted screen pass. Jeff then recovered a squib kick by kicker Fahuwu Momoh, and three plays later Hines dashed in from 7 yards for the 33-14 lead. It was the most important stretch of the game for Jeff.
The second half was a wild scoring affair, but the siege by the Devils at the end of the first half led to the Bulldogs never truly threatening. The teams kept trading touchdowns, and Bosse never got within one score.
In addition to Hines’ two second-half touchdowns, Red Devil running back Isiah Mack also scored twice, racing in from 61 yards and later adding a 5-yarder.
Sophomore quarterback Jamal Britt had a promising debut for Jeff. He completed 9-of-17 passes for 170 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown pass to Damin Smith. He was intercepted twice.
Nunley, his counterpart, threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns after completing 17-of-30 passes. He was picked off once.
JEFFERSONVILLE 60, EVANSVILLE BOSSE 48
Evansville Bosse 0 14 20 14—48
Jeffersonville 13 20 13 14—60
J — Austin Hines 27 run (Fahuwu Momoh kick), 7:46.
J — Damin Smith 40 pass from Jamal Britt (kick blocked), 4:59
B — CJ Howard 33 pass from Ian Nunley (Tyler Bowers kick), 9:36
B — Howard 38 pass from Nunley (Bowers kick), 5:43
J — Hines 56 run (kick failed), 4:46
J — Hines 2 run (Isaiah Reaves pass from Britt), 1:27
J — Hines 7 run (kick failed), :49
B — Carrington Crutcher 5 run (Bowers kick), 9:25
J — Hines 3 run (Momoh kick), 5:42
B — Howard 79 pass from Nunley (kick failed), 5:29
J — Isaih Mack 61 run (kick failed), 5:10
B — Howard 20 pass from Nunley (Bowers kick), 1:19
J — Mack 5 run (Momoh kick), 11:55
B — Crutcher 1 run (Bowers kick), 9:56
J — Hines 4 run (Momoh kick), 4:12
B — Crutcher 3 run (Bowers kick), 2:48
Bosse: Nunley 17-30-345-1.
Jeffersonville: Britt 9-17-170-2.
Bosse: Crutcher 19-41, Carter 3-8, Nunley 7-minus 6.
Jeffersonville: Hines 35-257, Mack 8-102, Blanton 2-26, Britt 2-minus 8.
Bosse: Howard 5-178, Carter 4-78, Crutcher 4-49, Stewart 2-25, Wiley 1-11, Couto 1-4.
Jeffersonville: Adkins 4-80, Smith 3-54, Blanton 2-36.