The HSE Freshmen Royals Football Team traveled across the Circle City to Hendricks County on the West Side of Indianapolis to meet up with the Bulldogs of Brownsburg on a chilly but sunny Saturday morning. The Royals would receive the opening kickoff and begin the game on offense. After a few short runs by Charlie Baldwin, the Royals offense would be disciplined in their position and draw the Bulldogs offsides on a hard count by Ty Bradle to help convert a first down. Bradle would then swing the ball out to Baldwin for a short gain and then on the next play roll out to his right to find an open Owen Garvin near the sideline for a first down completion. After an equipment debacle where on consecutive plays, the officials would send a player in the backfield off the field for the Royals for kneepad infractions to help begin some of the drama and extracurricular fun for the game. On 3rd down, Bradle would just miss Patrick McGrath in the end zone and the offense was unable to convert on 4th down thus giving Brownsburg their first shot on offense. On 3rd and 2, Evan Sherrill would split the offensive line and collide with the running back in the backfield before the Royals Front Seven came and cleaned up the rest for the tackle for loss. The Bulldogs would line up in an offensive formation and pooch kick a punt on 4th Down and were able to get a home field roll to force the Royals to take their next offensive series from inside their own 15 yard line. A controversial illegal hands to the face penalty called on the Royals after a completion out in the flat from Bradle to Sherrill would be called back, claiming it was an illegal stiff arm. The offense would be unable to convert a first down and were forced to punt, a high snap with the punter having to kick from the end zone resulted in a Safety. Brownsburg would take the lead and get the scoring going for the game at 2 – 0. The Royals would have to kickoff from their own 20 yard line and the Bulldogs were able to bring the kick back to midfield to start their offensive drive. The Bulldogs would be called for a holding penalty on their first play but were able to complete a catch and run aided by some missed tackles by the Royals to get back in front of the chains. The Bulldogs would finish the drive with a short touchdown run inside the 5 yard line but were unable to complete the Jet Sweep exchange and were unable to convert the 2 point conversion. The home team would push their lead to 8 – 0 as the first quarter would come to an end.
To begin the second quarter, the Royals would be forced to punt after a 3 and out possession, the snap and punt was well executed this go around and the Bulldogs would begin the drive at their own 20 yard line. On first down, Sherrill would push the line and stop the ball carrier in the backfield but unfortunately missed tackles on a Bulldog completed pass later in the drive would help move the chains for them. The Royals Defense would then take the scoring matters into their own hands on a 3rd and 5 pass down the field, Cole Earlewine jumped the route in the secondary to pick the ball off. Earlewine returned the ball 80 yards for the score to get the Royals on the scoreboard. Bradle would once again be successful in using his hard count as the signal caller and get the defense to jump offsides. After moving the ball closer to the goal line, Griffin Haas would take the handoff from his fullback position and find the pay dirt between the Center and Right Guard for the 2 point conversion. The score was now 8 – 8. The Bulldogs would convert some key first downs after being pushed back due to a holding penalty and move the ball into HSE territory. Sherrill would swallow up the quarterback as his fellow D Line mate would help finish the quarterback sack and then on the next play Sherrill’s pressure off the ball would force another holding penalty. Dominic Burgett would join in on the tackle for loss party by splitting the O Line for a tackle in the backfield off the Jet Sweep play of the Bulldogs. On 4th and 25, the Bulldogs would execute another Pooch Kick punt to give the offense a few more chances before halftime. Bradle would just miss a streaking Grant Barton down the seam as the first half would end with the score tied 8 – 8.
HSE would kick the ball off the Bulldogs to start the 2nd half of play. Sherrill would continue to bring the pressure as he and Clayton Allen would team up for the tackle for loss right after the quarterback handed the ball to the running back. Sherrill would continue his grind on the defensive line by getting another tackle for loss while being held in the backfield by the Bulldogs Left Tackle. The Royals declined the penalty and on 3rd down forced the quarterback to throw the ball away due to pressure in the backfield to avoid the sack. The pooch punt kick was nearly blocked by Boothby and the Royals offense would take the field with the ball near midfield to start their drive. Baldwin took the pitch off the left side for a 15 yard gain and first down. On 3rd and 15, Bradle scrambled to his right and found Garvin who leaped in the air for the one hand snatch and grab to convert the first down. Bradle would later use his hard count to draw another offsides by the D Line breaching the neutral zone and then found McGrath in the flat for a short completion to convert a first down. Bradle then scrambled to his right where the Brownsburg Inside linebacker would put a solid form tackle on him for a short gain but the Bulldog player would commit an unsportsmanlike personal foul for extracurricular contact after the play which moved the ball inside the Bulldogs 10 yard line. Haas took the fullback dive off the right side down near the goal line with the help of the O Line joining in on the Rugby Maul push. Bradle finished the drive with a quarterback sneak for the score. Zach Wagner, Bradle, and Sean Gloeckner would help take care of the PAT with the snap, hold, and kick through the uprights to get the scoring started for the Royals and take the lead, 15 – 8. Elijah Slibeck hit a low line drive kickoff near the end zone to force the Bulldogs returner to scramble for the ball inside the 5 yard line and the Royals KO team was able to corral him at the 20 yard line. Sherrill tallied up another tackle for loss by swinging the ball carrier to the ground in the back field. The Bulldogs would later convert a first down to keep the drive alive. Peyton Daniels forced the quarterback to make a deep ball overthrow as he was hip to hip with his wide receiver counterpart for the incomplete pass. While busy taking up double and triple teams during the game, David Nease was able to get a tackle for loss of his own. After another equipment infraction which led to a penalty on the Bulldogs, it was 3rd and 15 as pressure from Allen forced an errant Bulldog pass resulting in an incompletion. A high snap on the pooch kick punt attempt would force the punter to gather up the loose ball and run around the left side where Shane Gastineau made the shoe string tackle to give the Royals good field position as the 3rd quarter came to an end with the Royals leading 15 – 8.
On 4th and short, the Brownsburg defense came up with a big stop as the Royals were stuffed behind the line of scrimmage and the ball went back over to the home team. On the ensuing drive, Garvin and Gastineau would team up for the tackle for loss on the outside zone play by the Bulldogs to help force the punt. On 4th and 5, Brownsburg lined up in their pooch kick punt formation but the punter attempted a deep pass down the sideline which was closely covered by Garvin resulting in an incomplete pass. The Royals took over at the Bulldogs 35 yard line. On 3rd down, the Royals would called for an intentional grounding penalty resulting in 4th and 15. Bradle would sail the ball deep looking for Barton where the Bulldogs defender committed a pass interference penalty. After the play, the Bulldogs sideline was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty which turned into a 30 yard penalty in total with the ball now being placed just inside the Bulldogs 10 yard line. Baldwin would later take the hand off from the 3 yard line around the right side and run through two would be tacklers to punch his way into the endzone for the score. Wagner, Bradle, and Gloeckner were successful with the snap, hold, and kick for the PAT to increase the lead in the Royals favor, 22 – 8. On the ensuing drive by the Bulldogs, pressure by Boothby and Sherrill forced the quarterback into an intentional grounding penalty. On 4th and 18, Garvin would knock down the ball in the secondary to turn the ball back over to the offense. Both teams would trade penalties as the Royals were trying to run the game clock down as there was only a few minutes left but were unable to convert on 4th down. The game would end 22 – 8 with the Royals going on the road to get the win against the always tough and gritty Bulldogs.
The HSE Freshmen Football team finished their season 9 – 0 and 7 – 0 in conference play including 2 shut outs defensively as well. This was the first time in over 20 years that an HSE Freshmen Football team went through the season without surrendering a loss on their record. Thank you to all who supported the team throughout the season and helped out where they could. A special thanks to our Managers: Lizzie, Katherine, and Lindsay for all of their help through the hot, cold, and rainy weather during the season. We look forward to seeing all of you soon enough on Friday Nights donning the Blue and White uniforms of your Varsity elders. Great Season Royals and as always… Take Care of Your Teammates!