Cats escape, clinch share of SIACOctober 8, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER - Jasper stood tall having clinched at least a share of the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference Friday at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium. But the team had to earn it.
The Class 4A-No. 3 Wildcats (8-0, 8-0) found themselves tied, 6-6, at halftime, and 13-13 in the fourth quarter against Evansville North. However, with it being senior night, it was senior running back Cooper Ewing who rose to the occasion for Jasper. He first broke the 6-6 tie in going for a 38-yard run with 3:46 to go in the third quarter.
When the Huskies tied it in the fourth, Ewing broke for a 64-yard run down the right sideline for his second score of the evening. Senior Sam Leonard, who missed an extra point on the team's first touchdown, booted his second one of the night following Ewing's second touchdown and brought the game to its final score with 8:07 remaining.
Ewing finished with 111 yards on four carries.
"All credit to the line tonight and my whole team as we played a hard game," Ewing said.
"In our offense, anybody can make plays at certain times, and it was his turn," Jasper coach Tony Lewis said. "His number was called, we did a great job blocking on those two counter plays and he used his speed.
"He's a track kid, he's a kid that plays other sports, which we love," Lewis continued. "He's a multi-sport athlete and he used his speed against a really fast team there to make two huge touchdowns for us - can't be any prouder of him."
However, Ewing's second touchdown didn't put the game on ice - far from it. The Huskies went for it on fourth down, and senior quarterback Ethan Brawdy, who had two touchdowns on the keeper, kept it again to keep the drive alive.
Yet, the Wildcats came through on defense, and junior Bralen Bair, who's returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season, arguably had his biggest pick of 2021 when he snatched it from Brawdy on that drive.
"We had backside pressure from the weak side," Lewis said. "We brought (junior) Charlie Kabrick off the edge and he was trying to run him down."
A false start was called against the Wildcats on their next drive, but they gradually moved the chains and got a big first down off a keeper from junior quarterback Grant Young. They never got into victory formation, but ran the ball enough on that drive to put it away.
Lewis said after the game they needed a tough win - noting Jasper will also need something like this in the playoffs. He gave the Huskies credit, and predicted they will do well in the playoffs.
The Wildcats have made all sorts of memories these past eight games, but there's also the opportunity to make some more. They already have a share of the SIAC, and can clinch the conference outright with a win Oct. 15 at rival Vincennes Lincoln. It would also be the team's first undefeated regular season since 2012.
"We talk about being good young men and sharing - but in this case, we don't want to share," Lewis said. "We want to go to Vincennes and play well. We're going to have to have a good week of practice, we're going to learn from our mistakes tonight, and again, it was a good win in a tough environment. And our kids needed that heading into the playoffs."
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