Three of the four remaining head coaches in Class 2A, Sectional 39 have a combined 728 wins over the last 33 seasons.
The fourth, Clarksville’s Justin Boser, has a running back with over 6,500 career yards in a storied career.
The Sectional 39 final four meet Friday with Class 2A, No. 5 Triton Central (8-2) at Brownstown Central (6-4) and Class A, No. 4 Indianapolis Scecina (9-1) at Clarksville (5-5).
Triton Central head coach Tim Able (213 career wins at five different schools) has never gone head-to-head with Brownstown Central head coach Reed May (291 wins all in Brownstown).
The veteran duo is well-acquainted, though.
“I’ve known him a long time,” said Able. “He is a quiet, great human being. He runs a classy program.”
Not only does Able not have a win over May and the Braves, neither does Triton Central – 0-6 all-time against Brownstown Central, back when the programs were in the same sectional more two decades ago.
Triton Central’s worst loss came to May and the Braves on Oct. 29, 1999. Brownstown Central won a sectional semifinal game 98-24 over the Tigers and head coach Joe Fussell.
In fact, in the last three meetings between the programs (1996, 1999 and 2000), Brownstown Central averaged 67 points per game.
Able (photo) won’t label May an old-school football coach in today’s modern game that is much more pass oriented. May’s “single wing” attack has brought the program great success over the years including 13 sectional and three regional championships.
“There are different ways going about that,” said Able. “They run that single wing at all their levels and they execute it amazingly. The tradition and culture is amazing there. I expect a packed house at the game (Friday).”
Brownstown Central finished 11-1 in 2021 but graduation deeply gashed the program. The only returning starter on offense is senior quarterback Carson Darlage (6-4, 210 pounds).
Darlage totaled 1,882 yards of offense (1,234 yards rushing, 648 passing) and 29 touchdowns in 2021 on the way to a junior all-state selection.
A senior-dominated offensive line and two excellent athletes were part of the graduating class leaving Darlage to carry the offensive load this season -- 842 yards rushing and 494 yards passing.
“He is a better runner than a thrower,” said Able. “When he goes, he goes. We’ve got to be ready for that.”
The single wing produces deception in the backfield. Darlage will tuck the ball into the arms of players like junior Isiaah Engle (607 yards rushing), senior Adam Wayt (309 yards) or sophomore Greg Hutcheson (356 yards) -- or just keep it himself.
“The quarterback does more inside runs while the rest go out wide,” said Able. “The splits are tight, congested so the edge is not very far out there. It’s tight in a ‘phone booth.’
“I’m not sure our kids know what a phone booth is.”
Triton Central must contain at the line of scrimmage and not over-pursue a potential ball carrier.
“Don’t run up field,” proclaimed Able. “Play down the line of scrimmage and play leverage. They run around you and run up the edge. We have to shut down the edge. We’ve got the speed to matchup with them.”
Simulating the quickness of the Braves’ offense is difficult admitted Able.
“It’s so unique. It’s not easy to do,” he said. “We found that out the first day. It’s hard to simulate that speed. We can’t simulate it in practice.”
Able is counting on May having similar problems preparing his defense for Triton Central’s modern day offense that features a 2,000-yard passer in Jace Stuckey, a near-1,000-yard rusher in Ray Crawford and a receiver with more than 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns so far in a record-shattering season for Brad Schultz.
“Their quarterback throws about 15-20% of the time. He can’t simulate our (offense). And he is lefty,” said Able.
Triton Central enters the sectional semifinal round a nearly-four touchdown favorite in part to its dynamic offensive talent. However, the starting defensive unit has allowed just one touchdown in the last three games.
Triton Central needs that defense to continue its stellar play and not allow Darlage and the Braves to chew up yards and time on the clock.
“We’ve played against teams that are run heavy,” said Able. “We want to make them pass heavy because they can burn a lot of clock.”
Triton Central’s offense has suffered from slow starts at times this season which could be troublesome Friday in a hostile environment against a program with great tradition.
“Our offense needs to come out ready from the beginning – complete passes, get on blocks, stay on blocks, stay away from penalties and ahead of the chains,” said Able.
Scecina head coach Ott Hurrle has 224 wins over his 33-year career and has the Crusaders set as a nearly 30-point favorite at Clarksville Friday.
For the Generals to upset Scecina, senior running back Robert Lamar (photo, left) will need a heroic effort much like his more than 400 yards rushing and eight touchdowns one week earlier in Clarksville’s 70-42 win over Eastern (Pekin).
Lamar has rushed for 2,839 yards this season and 34 TDs. For his career, he has 6,590 yards rushing and 72 TDs. Lamar is just outside the state’s top 10 rushing records for a season and career going into the matchup with the Crusaders.
Class 2A, No. 5 Triton Central at Brownstown Central
Game time: 7 p.m. at Blevins Stadium, 500 North Elm Street in Brownstown, Indiana.
Admission: General admission tickets are $7, cash only.
Head coaches: Tim Able, 88-34 in 10th year at Triton Central; 213-132 in 29th year overall; Reed May, 291-61 in 30th year at Brownstown Central.
2022 record: Triton Central 8-2; Brownstown Central 6-4.
2021 record: Triton Central 8-5; Brownstown Central 11-1.
Sagarin ratings: Triton Central, 71.2, 60th overall, 3rd in Class 2A; Brownstown Central 43.41, 176th overall, 28th in Class 2A.
Point spread: Triton Central is a 26-point favorite.
Common foe: Triton Central defeated Indian Creek, 49-14 on Sept. 16; Indian Creek defeated Brownstown Central, 26-13 on Sept. 30.
Series history: Brownstown Central is 6-0 all-time against Triton Central. The last meeting came on Oct. 27, 2000, in a sectional semifinal game at Triton Central which the Braves won 57-8. One year earlier in Brownstown, the Braves routed Triton Central, 98-24 in a sectional semifinal contest.
Sectional 39 other semifinal: Class 2A, No. 4 Indianapolis Scecina (9-1) at Clarksville (5-5).
Sectional 39 championship: If Triton Central wins, it will host the sectional championship against either Scecina or Clarksville.