y Mark Morrow — HSE Royals Sports Media
From the HSE sideline at Friday’s Senior Night, the familiar chants were: “Come On Offense’’ . . . “Come On Defense.’’
Neither chant really worked for the Royals.
One player coming off the field, took his helmet off, sat it on the bench, and then grabbed it and used both of his hands to pound it somewhat in disgust.
It was a night of frustration and disappointment for the Hamilton Southeastern football team. Plain and simply.
Forget about the classification of Brebeuf Jesuit, or the numbers and the size of the larger HSE program and squad. It really didn’t matter on this night.
The Class 3A Braves (4-4), playing up 3 classes, thoroughly humbled the 6A Royals (3-5) via a stunning performance and an improbable 30-0 score at Reynolds Royals Stadium before a pretty solemn crowd . . . and a subdued football team that quietly went to the dressing room with their heads down.
Whatever could go wrong certainly did for the Royals.
Brebeuf’s special teams, including 3 field goals of 26, 33 and 37 yards, accounted for 23 points.
Brebeuf scored 10 first-half points after recovering two of its own fumbles deep in HSE territory, and 14 more points by blocking a pair of Zach Zuber punts in a span of less than 3 minutes in the third quarter. The Braves returned them for scores of 22 and 42 yards and held a 27-0 with 13.1 remaining in the quarter.
The HSE defense played better than the final score might indicate, while the offense (hurt by 2 interceptions) had several drives stall and was basically ineffective for the most part.
With Cody Huppenthal working out of the Wildcat and 4:08 minutes remaining, the senior drove them to the 7 on 9 plays where they had a first and goal. But a run for minus-4 yards and 3 incomplete passes later, they were down and out at the 11 with 1:57 showing on the clock.
“I think we just shoot ourselves in the foot,’’ said Will Hedrick, a defensive lineman and linebacker and one of the senior leaders. “The ball also took some funny bounces, but we couldn’t get any of them.’’
Hedrick said that football is a mental game.
“I love these guys, but offensively we’ve had trouble moving the football. The offense is young and inexperienced. I’ve watched them in practice. They are leaps and bounds ahead of what they do on Friday nights. I see it as definitely a mental thing with them.
“As a team, we’ve had lots of talks, a lot of heart to heart without the coaches present, but it’s not working. We’re not getting it done. It’s really pertinent that we come back, be competitive, and get ourselves ready for the sectional.’’
Looking ahead, even though Brebeuf is a good football team, Brownsburg — the Royals’ final regular- season opponent next Friday on the road — is probably better.
“We have the talent, we practice hard and play hard. I think we’re getting there,’’ said senior Jack Boyd, a hard-hitting linebacker who also gets a few carries on offense and returns kicks. But we still have to get better.
“We have a good quarterback and running back and the line is getting better and our receivers are good. We just have to decide that we’re going to get it done, and do it.
“The entire season . . . we’ve been making mistakes, and now it’s time for us to we fix them. It’s our whole team. We make mistakes on offense, defense and special teams.’’
But 30-0 is, well, pretty embarrassing (considering the level of competition) I said to Boyd, arguably the hardest worker and toughest kid on the team. “Yeah, he said, nodding his head — 30-0 is just kinda . . .
“What now?’’ Boyd was asked. “Where does the team go from here?’’
“It’s not over. We have a lot to play for. The sectional is wide open,’’ he said. “We have another game; and then we have a week off for fall break . . . and then we prepare for the tournament. “I’m glad that we’ll be at home for the first game (with Fishers HS),’’ he said.
But first things first.
A strong showing and effort against Brownsburg would appear to be essential for HSE. A good dose of momentum against a good football team certainly could improve the mood of the Royals and help right the ship.
Brownsburg is in a 3-way tie with Fishers HS and Avon in the HCC. The Bulldogs will be looking for a big win and possibly make a statement, and you have to figure that they won’t be an easy task for the Royals, who have yet to win back-to-back games.
But, then again, there hasn’t been anything easy about this season for the Royals.
Score By Quarters
Brebeuf 3 10 14 3 – 30
HSE 0 0 0 0 – 0
First downs: HSE 15; BJ 11.
Rushes-yards: HSE 135; BJ 59.
Passing C-A-TD-Int: HSE 11–27-0-2; BJ 11-24–11.
Passing yards: HSE 97; BJ 107.
Total plays-yards: HSE 66-232; BJ 51-166
Penalties-yds: HSE 5-39; BJ 2-10.
Fumbles-lost: HSE 0-0; BJ 2-0.
Punts-yds: HSE 5–20.4 (-64); BJ 2–33.0.
Rushing: Jackson Sweeney 14-57, Cody Huppenthal 12-43 (-30), Jack Boyd 1-14, Malik Sims 3-14, Lance Stephens 4-14, Zach Boyle 2-7, Kody Sparks 2-6 (-4), Nick Mutchner 1-3.
Passing: Cody Huppenthal 4-10-0-1 51, Kody Sparks 7-17-0-1 46.
Receiving: Nick Mutchner 6-46, Zach Boyle 2-25, Ben Boysen 2-21, Kody Sparks 1-12.
Kick Returns: Jack Boyd 4-82 (30 longest), Isaiah Phillips 1-4.
Interception: Brett Cowan.
*—Mark Morrow, who has resided in Fishers since 1989, formerly owned Hamilton County Sports Daily. He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters-Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He has blogged exclusively for hseroyalsathletics.com since 2016.