Cats roll along, move to 6-0September 24, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — The seasons may have changed, the temperatures are starting to drop, but Jasper football stayed hot on Friday.
The Class 4A-No. 3 Wildcats (6-0, 6-0) are now off to their first 6-0 start since 2013, which was also the last time they won a sectional, after downing Evansville Central, 35-7, at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium. The Southern Indiana Athletic Conference rival Bears had served as a roadblock by beating the Wildcats three times in the last two seasons, but no such obstacle presented itself on this night.
“I thought our kids came out ready to play right off the bat,” Wildcats coach Tony Lewis said. “It was good to go down, get a good drive going in that first series — go down and score. We wanted to run the ball, obviously, that’s our MO, and I thought our offensive line did a great job of being physical up front — and I thought our backs ran hard.”
The Wildcats offense didn’t rip off any monster plays, but they were methodical. Jasper gradually moved the chains, and pay dirt followed. The Wildcats also generated some key third down conversions, such as the opening drive when junior quarterback Grant Young completed a pass to senior Cooper Ewing to bring the Wildcats to the two-yard line. Young was in on the keeper and senior Sam Leonard’s PAT gave Jasper a 7-0 lead with 8:08 to play in the first quarter.
Jasper wasn’t done before the quarter ended, as senior fullback Ashton Schuetter made a trip to his office, aka the end zone, with a goal line score with 40.1 seconds remaining, and the Wildcats held a 14-0 after Leonard’s extra point. That was Schuetter’s seventh rushing touchdown of the season.
They posted one more score before heading into the locker room when Young had his second keeper, and Leonard booted his third PAT of the evening, as the Wildcats held a 21-0 edge with 3:02 to play in the first half.
Central tried to get something after Young’s second touchdown of the night. The Bears were driving until freshman quarterback Ben Davies threw a ball down the field, only for senior defensive back Jack Ahlbrand to time a jump perfectly to snatch an interception and give the Wildcats the ball back with 34.1 seconds remaining in the half.
“Jack’s was a big play, too, on their fade, over on their corner, because they do a great job of running the fade route,” Lewis said.
The Wildcats only continued to add on after coming out of the locker room by making it 28-0 when Young scored his third rushing touchdown of the evening and Leonard capping it off with 5:34 to go in the third quarter. Lewis hailed Young for the decisions he made against the Bears.
Jasper’s defense also showed out in the third, as evidenced by junior Charlie Kabrick blocking a Central punt with 4:27 left to play in the quarter. However, this drive would be short-lived, as sophomore fullback Will Wallace fumbled the ball away less than a minute later.
However, Jasper’s secondary again made a big play when the Bears were driving and trying to end the shutout. Junior Bralen Bair snatched an interception, and he took it to the house, and Jasper had a 35-0 lead after Leonard remained perfect on the night with 1:37 to go in the third. That was Jasper’s second interception — and also its second timely one.
“I think we got a little bit of pressure on their quarterback on both of those,” Lewis said. “I think he felt the pressure a little bit and had to get rid of it.”
The Wildcats couldn’t get the shutout when senior Aaron Garris ran in a touchdown with 6:24 remaining in the game, and fellow senior Steven Pritchett kicked the PAT to bring the game to its final score.
Lewis said would’ve loved to have gotten the shutout, as the Wildcats had another group in after being ahead big.
“We just didn’t hold them,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job, we guys had in position — we just didn’t make the play.”
Lewis told The Herald his players will engage in swimming today to get the lactic acid out. The Wildcats are set to be back at it Oct. 1 for their second of three straight home game against Castle. The Knights held a big lead at home against Evansville Reitz, beating them 53-21.
“Castle’s very well-coached,” Lewis said. “They’re big, physical, they run the football as well. (Junior quarterback Cameron) Tilly’s doing a great job throwing the ball this year. So, we got to have a great week of practice and hopefully, put our best foot forward on Friday.”
More on DuboisCountyHerald.com
Saturday's game may not have had Heritage Hills' desired outcome, but it capped the most...
Heritage Hills' girls basketball team will sure look different this year.
It was an emotional scene on Saturday when Forest Park senior Ellie Hall qualified for the state...
Jasper's girls, plus three individuals are state-bound.
Heritage Hills fell in Saturday's semi-state in heartbreaking fashion.
Jasper's season came to an end Friday after a 28-14 loss to Northview in Sectional 24.
Southridge took a heartbreaking overtime loss, 28-21, in Sectional 32 action Friday night...
Football in the area isn't done yet.