September 19, 2012Four touchdown passes from Clay Brown led to Brownstown Central's final four scores as the Braves defeated visiting North Harrison 42-6 Friday night.
Despite the score, the North Harrison defense was up to the task of stopping Brownstown Central's normally quick-hitting running game. North Harrison linebacker Taran Rennirt dropped Mitchell Scarlett for a loss on Brownstown Central's opening drive, forcing a punt.
After a pair of empty North Harrison drives offensively, Brownstown Central scored with 4:38 left. The 6-yard touchdown plunge to the end zone by Dylan Patman was set up by a key third down pick-up. Facing third-and-nine, Brown linked a pass to Patman to pick up 36 yards.
North Harrison was on the unlucky end on its next drive. Quarterback Jack Phelps' pass was deflected then intercepted by Jay Wehmiller, who returned the ball to the 1 before being shoved out of bounds.
The Braves capitalized on the field position, scoring on the first play, as Noah Cotten ran into the end zone.
A boost for the North Harrison offense came in the form of capitalizing on a Braves miscue. Brownstown Central muffed a punt by the Cougars, which was pounced on by North Harrison's Mike Clark at the Brave 20.
Runs by Brandon Craig and Tyler Jones set up the eventual score, which came on fourth-and-goal. From the 2, Jones took the ball up the middle and through a stacked Brownstown Central defense, extending the ball beyond the end-zone line.
A bad snap on the extra-point attempt caused the Cougars to miss the try, leaving them behind on the scoreboard, 14-6.
Jubilation on the North Harrison sideline continued on the kickoff, when Jones recovered an onside kick. The Cougars, however, punted after three plays.
North Harrison seemed destined to reach the half down one score, but a two-minute Brownstown Central drive resulted in a touchdown with a few seconds on the clock.
Key conversions included a 28-yard pass on a third-and-20 by Brown. Then, a devastating penalty with 28 seconds remaining hurt the Cougars. On fourth-and-2, Brown's pass attempt was deflected and fell incomplete. After the play, however, the Cougars were whistled for a late hit on the signal caller.
The penalty allowed a first down, then, three plays later, Brown hit Wehmiller for a 15-yard score, putting the Braves ahead 21-6 at the break.
"We gave a better effort this week, and I was happy we didn't put the ball on the ground," said North Harrison coach Mark Williamson. "We had one pre-snap penalty, then two penalties after that, but the one before the end of the half really hurt us. It would have been nice to go in only down 14-6 to make it more of a manageable game, but it did hurt us."
Brownstown Central carried the momentum into the second half, scoring two touchdowns within the first six minutes.
Brown hit Hayden Stuckwisch for a 55-yard pass play along the right sideline to make the score 28-6. Following a North Harrison interception, Brown completed a 37-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to make it 35-6.
After an interception by North Harrison's Derrick Harter late in the third quarter, the Cougars put together their longest drive. Starting from their own 27, they marched down the field with runs by Brandon Stokes, Harter, Jones and Phelps to eventually reach the Brownstown Central 22. On fourth-and-long, Phelps' pass fell incomplete, thus turning the ball over on downs.
Brownstown Central then added its final touchdown, another Brown-to-Stuckwisch pass play.
"Our poise was there this week," Williamson said. "Our guys were very much into the game."
The coach said he was also pleased with the advancement of the defense. For the most part, they held the Brownstown Central running game in check.
"We're stopping the run with seven guys up front," he said. "It's not like we're stacking the box with eight, nine guys. Our guys are struggling with playing cover two right now, but we are sticking with it. They are giving the effort. It'll get there."
Jones, a freshman, led the Cougars offense with 91 yards rushing on 29 carries. Harter gained 22 yards, while Stokes had 17.
Phelps was able to complete 4 of 11 passes for 16 yards, all to Harter.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Cougars. Three of the four losses came against teams (Corydon Central, Charlestown and Brownstown Central) with a current combined 14-1 record.
Up next for North Harrison is hosting winless Eastern (Pekin) Friday night at 7 for homecoming. "I look forward to a good week of practice, and it should be a more competitive game this week," Williamson said.