With the Dawg Pound turned into a boggy marsh Friday night thanks to rain showers from start to finish, Batesville had a chance to slow down undefeated Brownstown Central in the Sectional 31 semifinals.

But the Braves from Jackson County found their footing well enough to gain over 300 yards rushing and completed just one pass … though it went for an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Leading 14-6, BC also scored on its next two possessions to go up by 22. The Bulldogs answered but ran out of time in a 28-14 season-ending loss.

A one-point game at halftime, field monsters took down BHS coverage as junior quarterback Carson Darlage hit Kiernan Tiemeyer in the middle for the 80-plus yards to paydirt. Cooper Wolka connected on one of his four extra points to make it an eight-point ball game.

A good return by senior Luke Wilson ensued and classmate Travis Lecher tucked and ran for a 12-yard first down into Brave territory. Pass interference by the guests placed the pigskin on the BC 21-yard line. One play later, though, Lecher tossed his second interception of the contest; Wyatt Steward was the recipient.

The best drive of the night by either side followed, with BC going 92 yards on 16 plays to pull ahead 21-6 early in the final stanza. Darlage called his own number on 10 of those plays, gaining 60 yards. The Braves used a similar formula of Darlage running the Wing-T, either keeping it up the gut or handing to Tiemeyer or Jake Pauley for sweeps around the right and left ends, respectively. A personal foul call on BHS put the ball at the 17 and Darlage ran on 4 of the next 5 plays, including a 4-yard TD on the first play of the fresh frame.

Batesville, behind a big 38-yard gainer from Lecher to senior Brad Westerfeld, found itself in BC turf again on the next possession. The Dogs had 4th-and-5 at the 29 but a false start sent the rock back five yards and an incompletion turned the ball over.
Darlage gained just one yard on first down, but added 64 more on his second try, legging out the 65-yard touchdown to put Brownstown up by three scores.

At 28-6, the Bulldogs put together an impressive 8-play, 53-yard drive that improbably contained six passes and five completions in the muck. Lecher found Wilson for 16 and 4, then senior Jacob Meer for 10 and junior Bryson Bonelli for 11. One play later, Wilson crossed over the center of the end zone and grabbed Lecher's throw for a nice 15-yard TD. The same pattern netted Bonelli a 2-point conversion, making it a 14-point deficit.
BHS tried the onside kick, recovered by the Braves at their own 48. Batesville had all three timeouts left; however, by the time the visitors failed on 4th-and-6 at the 8, the Dogs had burned those TOs and had under 50 seconds to work with. Lecher ended his stellar career on a high note, completing three straight passes before time expired.

Both teams struggled early in the conditions, combining for just one first down on the opening three drives. The third one ended with Lecher getting picked by Nick Goecker, whose return went to the BHS 24. Seven runs produced the night's first score, a 3-yard dive by Darlage.
Three turnovers on downs and a punt followed. Late in the half, BC was driving and had 3rd-and-8 at the hosts' 13. Coach Evan Ulery had a decision when the Braves were called for holding; he accepted the penalty and BC could gain just six yards before turning it over.
On 2nd-and-10 from the BHS 16, Ulery called timeout with 1:26 on the clock. He must have seen a coverage issue, because Lecher and Bonelli electrified the crowd with an 84-yard pass play to get Batesville within 7-6. The Dogs got a little too fancy on the conversion attempt and fumbled out of bounds.
Lecher went over 200 yards passing, giving him 3,800 (and north of 1,700 rushing) in his four-year career, three as full-time starter. Bonelli topped 100 yards receiving to go over 1,000 for the season. Others playing their final game were Will Meer, Alex Murphy, Braiden Foster, Josh Mobley, Nate Deputy, Vonley Hund, Chase Hamilton, Quinn Steinkamp and Brady Hornberger.
BHS finished 6-5, Ulery's first winning season in the last three. The Braves (11-0) will travel to Lawrenceburg (10-1) Friday in a battle of Class 3A top-six teams.

Scoreboard
Braves 28, Bulldogs 14
Brownstown Cent. – 7 0 7 14 - 28
Batesville - 0 6 0 8 - 14
First Quarter
BC – Darlage 3-yard run, :43.1. Wolka kick.
Second Quarter
B – Bonelli 84-yard pass from Lecher, 1:11. Run failed.
Third Quarter
BC – Tiemeyer 83-yard pass from Darlage, 11:49. Wolka kick.
Fourth Quarter
BC – Darlage 4-yard run, 11:56. Wolka kick.
BC – Darlage 65-yard run, 8:44. Wolka kick.
B – Wilson 15-yard pass from Lecher, 4:57. Bonelli pass from Lecher.
Total yards: BC 386, B 225
Passing: BC 83, B 201 
Rushing: BC 303, B 24
First downs: BC 16, B 7
Fumbles/lost: BC 1/0, B 2/0
Penalties: BC 4-40, B 3-25
Brownstown Cent. - Rushing: Tiemeyer 16-48, Pauley 6-40, Steward 1-2, Darlage 32-213. Passing: Darlage 1-2-83, Tiemeyer 0-1. Receiving: Tiemeyer 1-83.
Batesville - Rushing: Deacon Hamilton 1 (-1), Gage Pohlman 3-4, Lecher 14-21. Passing: Lecher 13-18-201 (2 INT). Receiving: Bonelli 5-106, Wilson 3-35, Brad Westerfeld 2-44, Pohlman 2-6, Meer 1-10.
(Stats should be considered unofficial)