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September 24, 2013

GRIDIRON AFTERMATH: Highlanders steal the ball — and a win — from Jeff

Floyd not affected by poor conditions in 28-14 win over Devils

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Floyd Central’s 28-14 victory Friday over Jeffersonville will likely be remembered for a combination of the Red Devils’ eight turnovers and the dreadful weather that they occurred in.

That line of thinking perhaps does a disservice to the 4-1 Highlanders and their performance against a bitter rival in Hoosier Hills Conference play.

Certainly there is no discounting the four interceptions and four lost fumbles for previously-unbeaten Jeff. However, the number that was likely lost because of the bevy of miscues was 176 — the total amount of yards the Devils gained on offense.

While the messy conditions clearly impacted Jeff’s strengths — namely their speed in the running game and big-play ability downfield in the passing attack — limiting the Devils to 176 yards and 14 points can not be overlooked. It could very well turn out to be the signature performance of Floyd Central’s defense this season.

“Our defense really stepped up this week,” admired Gaige Klingsmith, Floyd’s offensive star of the game, after the contest. “They were pretty much the [reason] for our win.”

After giving up two first-quarter touchdown, the Highlanders’ D shut out the Devils the rest of the way. That seemed unthinkable for a Jeff offensive juggernaut that had reached 60 points in three games and 34 in another.

So remember the eight turnovers and getting drenched. Just don’t forget 23 — the amount of yards gained by Jeff in the second half — either during your recollection.

— Adam Pruiett



A NEW RIVALRY IS BORN


There was an aroma in the air on Friday, despite the continuous rain that fell in Sellersburg.

No, it wasn’t pizza or cheeseburgers from the concession stand. Smells more like rivalry.

Silver Creek and Charlestown have met many times in many sports, but not in varsity football until the Dragons started fielding a team two    seasons ago.

It certainly wasn’t a rivalry in the first two years as Charlestown won those two meetings by an average score of 69-16.          .

Friday night was different. Blame it on the rain if you want to. But look for future Dragons-Pirates matchups to be more competitive than the previous blowouts. Which is a good thing.

Silver Creek sits at 2-3 on the season and has given up just 18 points per game. After dropping its first two games, Charlestown, last season’s sectional champion, is now 3-2 and considered one of the favorites in its sectional.

During their inaugural season where they failed to win a game (0-10), the Dragons scored 27 points per game. while giving up 47. Last season, the Dragons improved to 3-7 but gave up 41 per outing, while scoring just 31.

Charlestown and Corydon both scored 70 on the Dragons after Charlestown had torched them for 67 in 2011.

Again, perhaps Friday’s downpour was a factor, but these Dragons are playing competitive football.

— Mike Riley



BULLDOGS HELD THEIR OWN AGAINST NO. 1 ... FOR A WHILE


Even though New Albany suffered a 48-20 loss at Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East last Friday, Bulldogs’ coach Charlie Fields thought his players held their own against the Olympians for a good chunk of the contest.

The score was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter, and New Albany (3-2, 2-1 HHC) pulled within 28-20 with 9:29 left in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run by senior Tuwan Payton.

“We proved that we could play on that level for a period of time, and I think we pushed them to a level that they haven’t been pushed before,” Fields said shortly after the game last Friday. “So they had to find their next gear that they haven’t really had to find. I think we pushed them harder than they’ve been pushed in a long daggone time. I would be surprised if their coaches didn’t say that.

“We took their starters into the fourth quarter. I can’t think of the last time they had their starters playing the fourth quarter of a Hoosier Hills Conference game.”

Fields hopes his players learned some things from their setback to East and use those lessons as building blocks for the future.

“We’ve got to find that next gear that when you’re pushed, you can go to it when you’re going up against a championship team,” Fields said. “I think we learned our lesson from Castle [a 14-7 loss in Week 2] and we’re going to learn our lesson from this. We’ve had two great tests this year. These are the games that are going to help us so much more in the playoffs in order for us to be able to do what we need to do.”

— Kevin Harris



GOOD NEWS IN A BAD WEEK


Friday night’s game with rival Floyd Central was a wash — both literally and figuratively — for the Jeffersonville football team.

Before the Red Devils began a rain-soaked Hoosier Hills Conference contest that would result in a 28-14 loss to the Highlanders, two of the primary reasons why Jeff (4-1, 3-1 HHC) should continue to believe this season could be special were evident in the pre-game festivities, when Austin Hines and Dionte Allen were honored.

Hines and Allen, of course, are still wearing Jeff jerseys, and that fact in itself should spring optimism that the Devils can bounce back in a hurry. The standout duo was celebrated for their respective breaking of school records recently.

Hines, a senior running back, set two new marks as he continues to etch his name deeper in Jeff lore. He is now the Devils’ all-time career leader in rushing touchdowns (currently 48), surpassing the old mark of 45 by Edward Wright-Baker (2005-08).

The shifty 5-foot-8, 185-pound star also became Jeff’s career points leader. He now has 336 in besting the previous high of 295 by Antonio Dickerson (1996-99).

Allen is one of the most storied pass catchers in Jeff history. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound tight end now holds the Devils’ career record for receptions with 100. The decorated senior chased down and then exceeded Adam Parella (2006-08) and Tony Moore (2005-07), who each had 89 catches in their Jeff tenure.

Friday’s loss was difficult to stomach for turnover-prone Jeff, but a sure way for the Devils to recover is to make sure Hines and Allen have many more opportunities to add to their new records.

— A.P.



A CHANCE VANISHES FOR CLARKSVILLE


For the second week in a row, Clarksville was hanging tough with a good Mid-Southern Conference opponent.

The winless Generals scored first to take a 6-0 lead at Salem (3-2). The Lions scored just before halftime to take an 8-6 lead into the second half. After halftime, Salem scored to make it 14-6.

In the third quarter, the Generals drove the ball to the Salem 10 with a chance to tie the game. After the drive stalled and Clarksville failed to score on a fourth-down attempt, Salem went 90 yards for a score on the next play.

The touchdown gave Salem a 20-6 lead and took the wind out of the Generals’ sails. The Lions would add another touchdown and Clarksville never threatened to score again.

— Greg Mengelt



A NIGHT OFF FROM FOOTBALL


If you were visiting Providence High School on Friday evening, you may have seen a strange sight: the Pioneers on the practice field.

After Indianapolis Manual forfeited Friday’s game — officially a 2-0 win over Providence — the Pioneers took to the practice field in shoulder pads and helmets for a quick practice.

After the game, head coach Larry Denison decided against scouting Friday’s opponent. The two sides had already exchanged film, so Denison decided to spend time with family rather than take in the Jeff-Floyd Central game.

Perhaps it was a good thing. In the downpour, there probably wasn’t too much to be learned.

“I got a chance to spend some time with my family on a Friday night,” Denison said. “[The weather] was part of it. Had it been 70 degrees and dry, maybe I would have gone out and watched some football.”

— G.M.

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