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Floyd Central senior Kyle Bramble gets upended as he scores in the third period Friday night against Bedford North Lawrence. Bramble had five touchdowns, but the Stars pulled out a 36-32 win. Photo by Wade Bell

Highlanders lose heartbreaker at BNL


Class 5A Sectional No. 8


November 02, 2011
Floyd Central saw its season come to a heartbreaking end Friday night as host Bedford North Lawrence kept the Highlanders out of the end zone in the final seconds for a 36-32 loss. Bedford's win avenged a 40-29 loss to Floyd Central during the regular season.

"It doesn't take away our great season," Floyd Central coach Brian Glesing said. "Our kids fought hard and didn't give up to the end. We made some plays when we needed to make them and didn't finish. We've been on the good end of these many times, and tonight we're on the wrong end."

The Stars drew first blood, scoring midway through the opening period, pushing the ball on 10 plays with Jay Thomas getting the first score on a 22-yard run. Bedford missed the extra-point kick attempt, however, leaving the door open for the Highlanders to take the lead, which they did when Kyle Bramble ran 11 yards for a touchdown with 2:11 to go. Jason VanBuren added the extra point, and the Highlanders had a 7-6 lead.

Bedford scored again before the end of the period when Jesse Millikan threw a 60-yard strike to Nikolas Bailey with 43 seconds left in the quarter. Thomas got the two-point conversion, and the Stars had a 14-7 lead after the first 12 minutes of play.

Bramble carried the ball on all seven plays of the Highlanders' next possession. The Floyd Central senior got into the end zone, but VanBuren saw his extra-point attempt go right of the uprights, leaving the Highlanders with a one-point deficit, 14-13.

Bedford fumbled the ball over on its next possession on the Floyd Central 21-yard line. Nine plays later, Bramble again had the ball and this time made it count, scoring on a 36-yard run. The Highlanders failed on the conversion attempt, however, leaving them with a 19-14 lead at halftime.

"Two evenly matched teams," Glesing said. "They got the better of us tonight. We got the better of them earlier in the year, and the bottom line is it was a good high school football game."

Floyd Central took the ball to begin the second half and kept Bramble in charge as the senior put his fourth touchdown on the board, running in from four yards. Bedford wanted the score negated after Bramble dropped the ball after breaking the plane at the goal line, but the line judge was on the ball, calling the score good. The Highlanders had another conversion attempt go awry, however, leaving Floyd Central with a 25-14 advantage.

"We didn't get extra points," Glesing said. "I think that might have been what came down to the game, extra points. We chased for extra points all night long. That hurt us."

Bedford had two big third-down conversions on its next possession, leading to a 38-yard touchdown. Thomas got another Stars conversion to cut Bedford's deficit to three, 25-22, after three quarters. The Stars scored again with 5:12 to go in the game as Thomas got the call from a yard out. Sean Matthews found the uprights on his extra-point attempt, and Bedford had a 29-25 lead.

Floyd Central was in need of a big play and got it on its next possession. After Matt Rue returned the kickoff to the 35-yard line, Bramble had his biggest run of the night, going 65 yards for a touchdown. VanBuren cashed in his extra-point attempt and Floyd Central had a 32-29 lead with 4:53 to go in the game.

After a cluster of penalties with 2:42 to go, Thomas lost four yards to set up second-and-14. Millikan threw to Bailey again on the 3-yard line for a first down. Kole Korvela took the ball on the next play and scored. Matthews found the uprights again, and Bedford had a 36-32 lead.

Rue returned the ball to the 35-yard line, setting up the Highlanders' final possession of the game with 1:08 to go. Bramble carried for three yards. Then, on the next play, it appeared the Highlanders had a touchdown when quarterback Bryce Smith connected with Bramble for 62 yards. A piece of yellow laundry on the field, however, called the play back as the Highlanders were called for an illegal block in the back.

The Highlanders misfired on their next two passes to set up fourth-and-16. Following a Floyd Central time-out, Smith threw to Josh Hack for a first down then quickly spiked the ball on the next play to stop the clock at 25 seconds. Bramble carried the ball on the next play to the 11-yard line, and Floyd Central called time-out again with 16 seconds left.

Smith had his pass miss the mark in the end zone on the next play to stop the clock at nine seconds.

The next pass play went from Smith to Hack in the end zone. Hack had the ball in his hands but couldn't keep control, the play being called an incomplete pass with two seconds left. The final play of the game saw Smith go to Hack again, but this time Tyler Warner was there to intervene, making the interception with no time left on the clock, securing the Stars' 36-32 win.

"We had our offense, that's for sure," Glesing said. "We drove it down there at the end of the half. We drove it down there at the end and ran out of time."

"We didn't stop them," Glesing said. "We gave up 36 points. We had them 10 down there in great field position. We didn't take advantage of it. We didn't take advantage of great field position, and they would march the ball down and make big plays. We didn't make big plays."

The big stat for the Stars was the nine third- and fourth-down conversions, five of those leading to Bedford touchdowns.

"They just weren't third-down conversions; they were long third-down conversions," Glesing said. "We didn't make plays defensively. You can't win games when you can't stop them third and long."

Bramble finished the night with 375 yards on 47 carries and five touchdowns. The senior finished the season with 2,851 yards and 52 touchdowns.

"Obviously, it's not the way you wanted to end it, but you can't take away from the careers they've had," Glesing said of his 22 seniors. "Kyle Bramble and his buddies are going to go down as the best senior class in the history of Floyd Central. It's a tough way to end. That's just the way it works, sometimes on the wrong end."

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