Down! Set! Hut! Welcome back to the Southern Indiana Monday Morning Quarterback, where we look back at the news, notes and quotes from the local high school weekend that was. This is the final installment of the 2019 season.
Floyd Central was the last local team standing, but it was a solid season on the gridiron for most of our local squads.
Let’s take a quick look back, and ahead, for the eight area teams.
The Pirates posted their second straight winning season and their 12th in 13 years.
They lost their first two games — 13-7 at Silver Creek and 21-14 to Brownstown Central — but easily could’ve won one, or both of those. Then they reeled off eight wins in a row — including a 7-6 victory over then-unbeaten and Class 3A No. 3 Brownstown in the first round of the sectional — before running into the buzzsaw that was Lawrenceburg in the sectional semifinals.
Standout running back Marion Lukes, who flipped his college commitment from Eastern Kentucky to Central Michigan during the fall, had a very, very good senior season. There was talk in the preseason that he would play quarterback, but that didn’t last long and he finished the season with 1,767 rushing yards — becoming the school’s all-time leader rusher in the process — and 25 touchdowns. He’ll be impossible to replace.
The Pirates will also graduate QB Andrew Snider, RB Addison Logsdon and leading receiver Braiden Murphy on offense. On the other side they’ll lose four of their top six tacklers, and several other key contributors, from a very formidable defense. Included among those will be linebacker Bo Braunecker, who tallied 100 total tackles (25 for losses); Brice Sweeney (75 stops), Logsdon (67) and Avery Duncan (57), along with Snider, Lukes and Steven Wilson.
The good news is Charlestown won’t lose everybody. The Pirates will return leading tackler, junior Deke Brown (111 stops), and several other key contributors, including Brody Wagers, Lucas Gagnon, Manuel Ordorica, Deven Lukes and Jaron Almeciga.
Expect another winning season in 2020.
The Generals ended “the streak” in a big way.
After losing its season-opener, 21-20, at Scottsburg to run its losing streak to 46 straight games, Clarksville blasted Eastern 54-18 in Week 2 for its first win since September of 2014.
The Generals lost their next five games, but won their last two of the regular season — outlasting Corydon Central 34-29 and outscoring North Harrison 62-60 — before losing a hard-fought game 14-8 against Providence in the first round of the sectional.
Clarksville will lose some key players, including its Nos. 2 and 3 tacklers in Clayton Aranda and Dayton Taylor. However the Generals should return most of their skill-position players, led by Dae’von Fuqua. The junior standout had 1,314 yards of total offense (671 rushing, 643 receiving) and a team-high 109 tackles on D.
Also returning will be quarterback Keyshawn Minor (1,355 passing yards) and freshman running Robert Lamar, who accounted for 733 yards of offense (380 rushing, 353 receiving).
Don’t be surprised to see Justin Boser’s Generals post their first winning season since 2012 next year.
FLOYD CENTRAL (9-3)
The Highlanders had their best season since Floyd won nine games three years in a row from 2009-2011.
It began with a 42-13 loss at Louisville Male, the undefeated No. 1 team in Kentucky’s largest classification, but was followed by four wins in a row that were highlighted by the emergence of junior running back Wenkers Wright.
The Highlanders lost 41-14 at Hoosier Hills Conference power Columbus East in Week 6, but bounced back to win five in a row, capped off by a 31-7 triumph over Jeffersonville to capture the program’s third sectional title. Floyd then led Bloomington South 14-13 at halftime last Friday night before the Panthers rallied for a 40-14 in the regional.
The Highlanders will graduate double-digit seniors, including two of their top receivers in Landon Deweese and Calvin Brown and several key contributors on defense, led by J.D. McKay, Daniel Cristiani, Trace Willman (who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 6), Deweese and Brown. Kicker/punter Cole Hussung will be extremely hard to replace too.
Next season Floyd should bring back several of its top skill-position players led by Wright, who rushed for over 2,000 yards; quarterback Tristan Polk and wide receiver Kaleb Quenichet. Back on defense will be leading tackler Colin Cummins, as well as Trace Richards, Caleb Slaughter and Spencer Didat.
The Highlanders will be favored to win their second straight sectional title next year.
While the Red Devils suffered their fourth straight losing season, they very easily could’ve been 6-5 instead of 4-7. Credit first-year coach Isaac Parker with changing the culture of the program.
Jeff started the season 1-5 against a very top-heavy schedule, before winning three of its next four, including the program’s first postseason triumph since 2015. They lost 31-7 to Floyd in the sectional final, but it was definitely a step in the right direction for the program.
The Red Devils will lose several key seniors, including Ethan Rogers, Isaac Findley, Devaca Parks, Shaun Wimberly Jr. and Coreon Mitchell. However, they’ll return a solid junior class that includes running back Jordan Ferguson, who had a couple of big games against New Albany, and wide receivers Gervasio Mitchell and “Dey Dey” Hughes, as well as Anthony Mack and Jadehn Debnam.
The seniors will be hard to replace, but a .500 — or better — season could be in their future next year.
NEW ALBANY (4-6)
With a very young team, the Bulldogs suffered their first losing season since 2015.
The sophomore-laden squad won its season-opener, 26-6 over Evansville Harrison, but then lost its next five games. The baby Bulldogs bounced back to win their final three regular-season games before losing a second time to archrival Jeffersonville, this time 23-7, in the sectional semifinals.
The Bulldogs will graduate some significant starters, including offensive lineman Caleb Alstott and linebacker Gavin Perkins.
However, they should return leading rusher Myles Johnson (1,231), quarterback Kyondre Winford and leading receiver Dejon Winburn, all sophomores.
That trio, along with the rest of the team, should continue to mature next season and could challenge Floyd for sectional supremacy.
It was an up and down season for the Pioneers.
A few days before the start of practice, long-time Providence coach Gene Sartini passed away. The Pioneers then opened a very, very difficult regular-season slate with a big win over Bethlehem (Ky.). However, they entered the sectional with only three wins before picking up two more in the sectional then losing 20-0 to Triton Central in the sectional final.
Providence will likely lose about one-third of its already thin roster to graduation, including leading rusher Colin Flake (1,223 yards, 13 TDs), QB Bishop Edwards and six of its top seven tacklers. Among those are Alec Fougerousse, Edwards, Austin Barnett, Vincent Benningfield, Andrew Henderson and Henry Jones, along with Chase Aldridge and linemen Connor Hazen, Brayton Gettelfinger and Donte’ Davis.
The Pioneers will return a solid junior class led by RB Jeremy Gettelfinger, OL/DL Ryley Gunther, DB Jaxon Murphy, lineman David Wall and kicker/punter Nathan Striby that should still help them be competitive in their sectional.
ROCK CREEK (2-7)
The Lions posted their second straight two-win season.
Under first-year head coach Josh Caldwell, Rock Creek won its second and fifth games before ending the season on a four-game losing streak, capped off by a 34-12 loss to North Central (Farmersburg) in the first round of the sectional.
The Lions will lose three key seniors from that team, including dynamic quarterback Jonathon Browning, linebacker/wide receiver Luis Corrales and lineman Caimen Reid.
However, they should return several key contributors from this season, including Keelan Payne, Joshua Muhammad, Michael Sulzer and Kendrick Peyton.
The program should continue to take a step forward next year.
SILVER CREEK (8-2)
Dave Papenhaus’ debut season was one to remember.
The Dragons won their first seven games of the season under the first-year head coach before losing 22-13 at Brownstown Central on a cold, rainy night in mid-October. They closed out an 8-1 regular season the following week before facing, and losing to, No. 1 East Central on its home field in the first round of the sectional.
Silver Creek will lose several key seniors, including second-leading rusher and receiver Heath Knight, lineman Taylor Betts, as well as Peyton Delucio and Jonah Scott to graduation.
However they should return QB Dylan Meyers, who didn’t play after suffering an ankle injury in Week 3, and nine of their top 10 rushers, led by Ben Landers, Easton Messer and LaShun Mays Jr. Other key returnees will be Jake Lucas, Bryson Gatlin and Trey Schoen, as well as kicker/punter Jonathan McIntyre.
Look for another winning season in 2020.