BY WILL WILLEMS
INDIANAPOLIS — Coming into Friday night’s sectional semifinal between Western Boone and Brebeuf, much of the talk was about how the Stars were going to be able to slow down the Braves’ high-powered offense.
While Western Boone was able to accomplish that, it wasn’t able to solve the Braves’ defense. The Stars were held to 158 yards of total offense and were shutout 24-0.
“We were backed up all night,” Western Boone head coach Justin Pelley said. “That really ties you up because you don’t want to make mistakes. Credit to them, they did a nice job of getting off the ball and they were physical. I thought our kids played well, we just didn’t have an answer and that is on me. We just didn’t make the plays.”
Pelley said the Braves’ physicality was a difference in the game.
“They did exactly what we thought they were going to do,” Pelley said. “But getting those three tough yards wears on you after a while, especially when you have kids going both ways. Our kids fought, they did everything they could, so i am not faulting their effort by any means, we were just a little out-manned. They got us tonight.”
Brebeuf took the opening kickoff and drove into Western Boone territory, but turned it over on downs.
Western Boone moved the ball to the Braves’ 42, but a holding penalty pushed them back and forced them to punt.
Four plays later, Brebeuf scored on a 49-yard pass from Aaron Banks to Chandler Grau. The extra point was no good, but the Braves led 6-0.
From there, it became a field position game. Neither team scored the rest of the half, but Western Boone started every drive at its 20 or worst.
The Stars managed just 17 yards on the three drives and two first downs.
Brebeuf on the other hand started their drives around midfield.
Yet, the score stayed 6-0 at the halftime break thanks to the Western Boone defense and a timely interception by Zach McMann, who picked off Banks on the Stars’ 4 with less than two minutes in the half.
“I am really proud of them,” Pelley said of the defense. “That is a credit to Travis Brunes and the defensive staff, they do a hell of a job and they had a great plan. We tried on offense too, and that is on me because I call the plays. So if it comes down on anyone it is on me. But the defense had guys moving around; we had Riggs Baxter at middle linebacker and he has never played there before and did a hell of a job. Their effort was great tonight.”
Western Boone got the ball to start the second half, but bobbled the kickoff and had to start from their own 9.
That proved to be a sign of things to come for Western Boone in the third quarter, which had an average starting position on their own 10 on three possessions and ran only 11 plays on three drives for 13 yards.
“It just became a field position thing again,” Pelley said. “When you are backed up you are hesitant to call some plays you want to call because you don’t want to lose ground. We tried to stick to the game plan and run the same plays we have been running, and tried to get our playmakers the ball. We were able to do it a little bit, but just haven’t broken free.”
Brebeuf scored on three of their four possessions in the second half, only not scoring when they fumbled on the Stars’ 3.
Their average starting field position was the Stars’ 48 in the second half.
Western Boone had two of their better drives of the game to close things out,
“[The defense] is a credit to Travis Brunes and the defensive staff, they do a hell of a job and they had a great plan…Their effort was great tonight.”
Western Boone head coach
gaining a total of 91 yards on the two drives, but never really threatened to score.
Cameron Cline led all Western Boone rushers with 39 yards on the ground.
Logan Wethington was 10 of 17 for 104 yards.
The Stars finished the season 7-4, their fourth-straight winning season.
Pelley said he will remember this team, especially the seniors.
“The senior class, I can’t thank them enough because they welcomed me into their family,” Pelley said. “That is tough to do, especially when they have been so successful with coach Richman and everyone else. I just want to thank them because they could have shut me out; it would have been easy to do that to me and the other coaches. But they didn’t do that. They welcomed us in and I will never forget those guys. We have a lot of guys coming back, but I will never forget these seniors during my first year as head coach. I learned a lot. I know it wasn’t perfect, but hopefully I learn from those mistakes and get back at it next year.”