By ADAM PRUIETT
FLOYDS KNOBS —
Gaige Klingsmith edged forward, burst right into the open field and motored down the right sideline, a near instant replay of a previous touchdown run.
The only problem was a shoestring tackle prevented him from reaching the end zone.
That was about the one and only time Friday that Klingsmith and the Floyd Central football team got tripped up by visiting Bedford North Lawrence.
The Highlanders dominated from the opening whistle, ripping off 29 unanswered points in the first half and piling up an astronomical 552 yards rushing en route to a 69-7 thumping of the Stars in Hoosier Hills Conference action.
Floyd Central (5-2, 4-1 HHC) remained in the upper echelon of its league and had no trouble putting a 76-30 loss to Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East in the rearview mirror.
“We knew we had to step it up and get our line working before it was before Columbus East,” senior lineman Colton Farnsley said. “[The loss] put a damper on the mood in the beginning, but practice all week was good and we came out hitting hard.”
That was an apt description.
Floyd Central scored on five straight possessions in the first half behind a thoroughly commanding run game. The Highlanders rolled up 294 yards rushing and defensively stuffed the Stars into minus-11 yards on the ground before halftime. At the break, they led 36-7 and the second half was just window dressing.
Bedford North Lawrence (1-6, 1-4) had more problems than just an anemic run game. After three possessions, they were at minus-19 in the yards column, with two pass completions gaining no yards in addition to three incompletions. An errant snap on a punt resulted in a safety. The Stars also committed several off-sides penalties, with one mistake on fourth down giving the Highlanders a first down.
Not that Klingsmith and his punishing offensive line needed the assistance.
It took Floyd Central eight plays to score its first two touchdowns and all were carries by Klingsmith. The junior standout broke off a 43-yard touchdown run on the opening drive and followed with a 7-yard score on the next possession after a 25-yard run that was a near duplication of the first TD except a defender successfully swiped his feet for the tackle at the tail end.
Klingsmith scored anyway and did twice more before intermission. He found the corner on a 33-yard TD run before strolling in untouched on a 1-yarder as the Highlanders built a 29-0 lead with 8:39 left in the second quarter. Klingsmith racked up 136 yards rushing in the first period alone.
“We were just trying to get outside on them,” said Klingsmith, who tallied 144 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries. “The good ‘ol sweep (play) started working again.”
Highlights came from plenty of players besides Floyd Central’s workhorse back. Senior Gabriel Kennedy averaged an astonishing 70 yards per carry. He carried the ball just twice, peeling off TD runs of 68 and 72 yards, the first of which he appeared swallowed up at the line of scrimmage before he emerged and raced down the field to paydirt.
“I’ve got to give all the credit to my offensive line. Without them, those runs wouldn’t be possible,” Kennedy said. “I saw a little opening on the first one. I went inside and then cut outside. I trusted my speed.”
Senior Brandon Stout put on a one-man show to start the third quarter. First he laid out to make a spectacular one-handed catch for a 27-yard gain. On the very next play, he caught a short pass from junior quarterback Colton Kimm, broke two tackles and motored 45 yards for the touchdown.
As if that wasn’t enough, Stout shifted to quarterback on the next possession and broke another tackle in ringing up a 52-yard run. His display of versatility was capped with a 38-yard pass to junior wide receiver Adam Wallace the next time the Highlanders had the ball.
Stout split time at quarterback with Kimm, who overcame a concussion to play in the game and complete 2 of 3 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Stout finished 3 of 4 for 49 yards.
Floyd Central’s defense didn’t allow Bedford North Lawrence to gain positive yards until the team’s first play of its fourth possession. The Stars finished with a mere 28 yards rushing and 201 total.
“You can put up as many points as you want, but if your defense lets them put up just as many it doesn’t matter,” Stout said. “It was a great effort all the way around.”
Bedford North Lawrence scored on a 4-yard run by Matt Shoufler in the second quarter before getting shut out in the second half. Shoufler led the team with 26 yards rushing, while quarterback Brayden Tidd completed 10 of 24 passes for 136 yards and backup Tucker West went 5 of 6 for 37 yards with an interception by Floyd Central sophomore Keaton Stiller.
Floyd Central sophomore Blake Carl rushed for 81 yards, including a 19-yard TD run. Junior Garry Posey contributed 83 yards on the ground with a 2-yard TD run, while senior Nick Uhl posted an 8-yard scoring run.
FLOYD CENTRAL 69, BNL 7
Bedford NL 0 7 0 0— 7
Floyd Central 22 14 27 6—69
FC — Gaige Klingsmith 43 run (Ryan Lenz kick), 9:31.
FC — Klingsmith 7 run (kick failed), 5:41.
FC — Safety.
FC — Klingsmith 33 run (Lenz kick), 2:48.
FC — Klingsmith 1 run (Lenz kick), 8:39.
BNL — Matt Shoufler 4 run (Lucas Howell kick), 6:16.
FC — Gabriel Kennedy 68 run (Lenz kick), 5:55.
FC — Brandon Stout 45 pass from Colton Kimm (kick failed), 11:11.
FC — Garry Posey 2 run (Lenz kick), 9:21.
FC — Nick Uhl 8 run (Lenz kick), 3:23.
FC — Kennedy 72 run (Darryl Mundy kick), 0:40.
FC — Blake Carl 19 run (kick failed), 3:12.
BNL (15-31-1-173): Brayden Tidd 10-24-0-136, Matt Shoufler 0-1-0-0, Tucker West 5-6-1-37.
Floyd Central (5-7-0-121): Colton Kimm 2-3-0-72, Brandon Stout 3-4-0-49.
BNL (27-28): Shoufler 13-26, Conner McCullough 6-20, Dylan Stevens 1-3, James Ford 1-3, Tidd 5-minus-11, West 1-minus-13.
Floyd Central (43-552): Klingsmith 14-144, Kennedy 2-140, Stout 4-87, Posey 13-83, Blake Carl 6-81, Uhl 2-8, Brady Miles 1-5, Victor Aemmer 1-4.
BNL: Shoufler 4-56, Stevens 2-48, Chandler Nicholson 2-32, Trace Hawkins 2-31, Drew Roberts 2-4, Robert Harris 1-2, Austin Hughes 1-0, Nathan Dotts 1-0.
Floyd Central: Stout 2-72, Adam Wallace 1-38, Trevor Smith 1-10, Logan Vaughn 1-1.