Tigers top Bulldogs in sectional final
LAWRENCEBURG – A big first half by the host Lawrenceburg Tigers, together with a pair of Batesville offensive cogs absent in the second half, translated into a 33-7 sectional championship for LHS on an unseasonably mild Friday evening. The team’s fourth straight title is a new school record.
LHS scored two touchdowns in each of the first two frames to enter halftime up 26-7. The striped ones would add a late TD to punch their ticket to Southridge for the regional round. Hopes of a comeback by the upstart Bulldogs were dampened when starting quarterback Will Jaisle and No. 1 receiver Bryson Bonelli came back from the locker room in street clothes.
The Tigers relied heavily on feature running back Teagan Bennett, who crossed the 200-yard threshold late in the contest. For their part, Batesville exposed Lawrenceburg’s run defense as sophomore Gage Pohlman pounded for over 170 yards. The difference lay in the home team’s ability to finish five of their drives in the end zone versus just one for BHS.
The Dogs’ lone TD, however, was an improvement over the shutout suffered at the hands of LHS earlier this season.
Spotting Lawrenceburg a 13-0 lead, the Bulldogs got within six on a 10-play, 78-yard drive culminating with Jaisle’s 18-yard strike to fellow sophomore Cade Kaiser – and freshman Brady Wonnell’s extra point – in the opening seconds of the second quarter. The drive started ominously with a 7-yard sack, but Pohlman scampered 15 yards to erase the loss. A 13-yard catch by Bonelli and ensuing personal foul on the hit later placed the Dogs in the red zone. A series of penalties preceded the score – offsides on LHS and BHS hit with illegal procedure and ineligible man downfield.
The Tigers answered right back, going 68 yards to extend the lead to 19-7. A 36-yard connection from Logan Ahaus to Alex Witte across the middle on 3rd-and-5 kept the drive moving. After another first down, Brennan Bushman caught his second TD of the game from 14 yards out. A sweep on the conversion play failed.
Pohlman’s 39-yard burst opened BHS’ next possession. Things quickly went south, though, with a tackle for loss and a fumble recovered by the Dogs but only after another 12-yard loss. Trenton Roell’s ensuing punt went into the back of a teammate in the backfield and the Tigers nearly turned the mishap into six more. That would come to fruition on Witte’s 2-yard run a few plays later; Ryan Hinthorne’s kick was the final point of the half.
The next drive would take BHS’ offensive leaders out of commission. Pohlman carried early for a dozen and Bonelli added another first down on a 10-yard catch; but it came with a price tag as he left the game. Pohlman then picked up 42 yards on three plays. On a 4th-down play, Jaisle was crunched for a 10-yard sack.
Sophomore QB Carson Schneider looked to pick up the slack as the new half got underway. He was met with a 3-and-out before the teams traded turnovers.
Witte fumbled the ball away on the Tigers’ next possession. Pohlman had a 10-yard carry but a play later, Schneider was popped in the act of throwing and the pigskin landed in Witte’s hands. A holding call on the return and another hold later led to a Tiger punt.
A short field gave BHS a chance to get back in the game. Pohlman got to the Tiger 36-yard line on an 18-yard rush. On a 4-yard scramble, Schneider took a personal foul which put the Dogs in the red zone. The backup hurler later converted a 4th-and-2 pass to Kaiser for 1st-and-goal. The next fourth down didn’t go as well, with LHS converging on Schneider; the QB recovered his own fumble, but the Tigers had a turnover on downs.
Neither side had any success on their next drives. Later, backed up to their own 7, the Tigers had a breakthrough with a 90-yard Bennett run. He carried twice more into the end zone. Hinthorne capped off the night’s scoring and LHS finished with three first downs and victory formation late in the game.
Around a Batesville 3-and-out, Lawrenceburg built a quick two-score lead in the first period.
Bennett carried for 43 yards early and Witte finished the opening drive with 15 yards, the last three on a TD run. Hinthorne’s kick was wide. LHS needed to go just 46 yards after the Bulldog punt. Bushman and Witte converted first downs; on a 3rd-down play, Ahaus spotted Bushman for a 23-yard catch-and-carry across the goal line.
BHS finished 6-6. Along with Bonelli and Roell, seniors Abe Hollins, Conner Ertel, Trent Kincade, Evan Williamson, Phoenix Hostetler, Blake Hon and Nick McConnell played their final games.
Tigers 33, Bulldogs 7
Batesville – 0 7 0 0 – 7
Lawrenceburg – 13 13 0 7 – 33
L – Witte 3-yard run, 8:34. Kick wide.
L – Bushman 23-yard pass from Ahaus, 5:00. Hinthorne kick.
B – Kaiser 18-yard pass from Jaisle, 11:54. Wonnell kick.
L – Bushman 14-yard pass from Ahaus, 8:00. Run failed.
L – Witte 2-yard run, 2:39. Hinthorne kick.
L – Bennett 1-yard run, 7:05. Hinthorne kick.
Total yards: B 184, L 378
Rushing: B 133, L 242
Passing: B 51, L 136
1st Downs: B 12, L 12
Penalties: B 5-32, L 13-106
Fumbles/lost: B 3/0, L 1/1
Batesville: Rushing: Pohlman 25-171, Schneider 5(-12), Deacon Hamilton 1(-1), Damien Dance 2-0, Jaisle 5(-25). Passing: Schneider 2-3-4 (int), Kaiser 0-1, Jaisle 4-8-47. Receiving: Kaiser 3-28, Bobby Weiler 1-0, Bonelli 2-23.
Lawrenceburg: Rushing: Bennett 25-203, Witte 8-37, Ahaus 1-2. Passing: Ahaus 7-10-136. Receiving: Witte 1-36, Bushman 4-83, Noah Knigga 1-12, Bennett 1-5.