By GREG MENGELT
The numbers Charlestown has put up this season have been astounding.
Through 12 weeks, the Pirates have put up 720 points — and the No. 1 offense has played into the second half just three times.
The only argument that can be made against the Class 3A No. 2 Pirates is that they haven’t played the schedule that, say, potential semi-state opponent Indianapolis Chatard has.
But consider this: The Pirates have played four ranked teams and outscored them a combined 199-19.
Brownstown Central came into Friday’s contest having won nine straight games. The Braves were putting up ridiculous numbers themselves. Their last four games included two shutouts, a win over Southern Indiana powerhouse Heritage Hills and a 35-7 demolition of Salem in the Class 3A Sectional 23 semifinal.
This was a good Brownstown team. And Charlestown made the Braves look like middle schoolers.
Behind star quarterback Aaron Daniel, the Pirates rolled to 36 first downs and 655 total yards. They scored on their first six possessions — against a Brownstown defense that was ranked in the top 10 in the state in points allowed.
“I was amazed Friday night,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins admitted. “I was very pleased. I don’t even know the words to describe [the performance]. Our offense and our defense were unbelievable.”
Charlestown’s four receivers combined for 238 yards and four scores, led by Wesley Sexton, who had five catches, 110 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Odle, who caught three passes for 102 yards and scored twice.
“Brownstown tried to take away the run, so we were forced to pass more,” Hawkins said. “The receivers all blocked well all night when it was their turn to be called upon. They made plays.”
Charlestown will host 10-2 Gibson Southern on Friday in the Class 3A regional, and two-time defending Class 3A state champion Chatard will face Greensburg in the other southern regional. If the Pirates and Chatard both win — as expected — the Class 3A No. 3 Trojans will have to travel to Charlestown with a trip to the state championship game in Indianapolis on the line.
Hawkins said he’s not considering that possibility yet. He said he’s sticking with the Pirates’ plan of taking it one game at a time.
“It’s our goal to play well this week, try to get a little better and then see where things fall,” he said. “We’re at the point in the season where we need some luck and you need to play well. So far we’ve done that every week.”
END OF A SOLID SEASON
Jeffersonville’s season came to an end with a 50-29 loss in the championship game of the Class 5A Sectional 8 tournament last Friday at Class 5A No. 3 Castle.
However, the fact that the Red Devils played in a championship game is noteworthy.
Jeff was 1-9 two years ago and 5-5 last season. It didn’t win a tournament game either year.
In 2012, the Red Devils won nine games on the field — although they’ll officially finish 8-4 after a forfeit loss to Madison — and compiled a school-record 517 points and 5,218 yards (2,202 rushing and 3,016 passing).
“We had a good year. The program’s headed in the right direction,” said Lonnie Oldham, who completed his second season as the Red Devils’ head coach. “I love it here. I think this is where I belong.”
Jeff was right with Castle throughout the entire first half of Friday’s loss. Yardage and time of possession were virtually dead even. The Devils led the Knights 15-14 with two minutes to go in the half.
However, after an intentional grounding penalty was called on the Devils, they were forced to punt. On Castle’s first play, quarterback Mitch Gilles threw a 39-yard pass to Joe Redburn to the Jeff 1-yard line.
Andrew Finch scored on the next play, giving the Knights the lead at the half and starting a 36-0 run.
“We can’t give up the long bomb,” Oldham said. “It was really unfortunate that we went in [to halftime] trailing because I felt we outplayed them in the first half.”
Jeff was driving to tie or retake the lead on its first possession of the second half when quarterback Tyler Fridley was tackled by Rayce Thornbury, who was Castle’s best player on Friday. After Fridley appeared to be down, the ball came loose. Thornbury recovered it and the officials ruled it a fumble. Castle then scored and took a 29-15 advantage.
“He was down. He was on his way back to the huddle, more or less, [when the ball came out],” Oldham said. “I was already calling another play. We had a chance to tie. When they took that 14-point lead, you could see [Castle] relax and that was a big difference.
“If we could have kept it close, I don’t know if we would have beat them, but it would have been a lot closer.”
Oldham expects the Devils to be even better in 2013.
“We have a lot of people coming back,” Oldham said. “We have to replace some people and we’re going to miss them. I think, without a doubt, with what we have coming back, we’re going to be pretty competitive.”
WEEK 12 AWARDS
• Player of the Week: Aaron Daniel, Charlestown. Daniel had 165 yards rushing, 240 passing, scored three touchdowns and passed for four more. On defense, he had an interception and three tackles. Again, most of his damage came in the first half of the Pirates’ 12th straight blowout victory, 62-10 over Brownstown.
• Team of the Week: Charlestown. The Pirates captured their first sectional title since 1996 after taking a 41-0 halftime lead over Class 3A No. 11 Brownstown. The Braves lost twice in 2012 — both to Charlestown by a combined 103-13.
• Play of the Week: On fourth-and-17 from the Brownstown 31-yard line, Daniel scrambled and tossed a touchdown pass to Wesley Sexton, who waltzed into the end zone to give the Pirates a 19-0 lead after one quarter.
• Coach of the Week: Jason Hawkins, Charlestown. Hawkins has his sectional title. He has the Pirates in the Elite Eight and three wins away from a state championship.