Foley's big first half helps propel WildcatsOctober 1, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — Running the football is a big part of what Jasper does in its triple option offense. However, the Class 4A-No. 3 Wildcats (7-0, 7-0) also opened up the passing game in Friday’s 30-12 win against Class 5A-No. 10 Castle in this Southern Indiana Athletic Conference showdown.
Senior Connor Foley proved to be the big beneficiary of this — hauling in big receptions to drive towards the end zone and cross the end zone itself. He finished the night with eight receptions for 102 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns — with seven catches and 95 yards coming in the opening half.
“It’s just (the) chemistry with our offense,” Foley said. “We’ve got a good group of seniors, and we fit in well with the juniors. It’s just we have some good chemistry. We all like each other, we all want to win and it’s that connection between senior and junior and teammates — it’s just great.”
“With their defense, sometimes you have to throw the football — as much as they’re packing it in,” Jasper coach Tony Lewis said.
Lewis showed aggressiveness in the first quarter when the Wildcats opted to go for it on fourth down and nine yards to go. Young found Foley to keep the drive alive for the first down, and the two would get together again for a nine-yard score to put Jasper out in front. The Wildcats led 7-0, with 21.1 seconds remaining in the quarter following a PAT from senior Sam Leonard.
The third-year coach talked about being “default aggressive.”
“When we’re in their territory, we feel like we’ve got a good enough defense that we’re going to be default aggressive — as (Retired Navy SEAL) Jocko Willink likes to say,” he said.
The Wildcats trusted their defense, and it paid off in both halves. They had the Knights backed up on second and 25 near their own end-zone when senior Michael Buechler had a tackle for a safety to make it 9-0 with 5:12 left to go, but it wouldn’t be the last time that Jasper scored points after the defense made plays.
Wildcats senior Ty Weisman recovered a fumble with 42.4 seconds to play. That gave Young some time, and he chucked his second touchdown to Foley — a 17-yard reception into the end zone a mere 23.2 seconds before halftime. Leonard again booted one through the uprights, and it was 16-0 Jasper at the half.
However, Castle showed this game wasn’t over yet when junior quarterback Cameron Tilly hooked up with sophomore Antonio Harris — who bolted past the Jasper defenders and ended the shutout just 16 seconds into the second half.
The Knights tried to go for two, but senior Jack Ahlbrand picked off Tilly on the pass. Castle also went for it on fourth and one, but when the referees brought out the sticks, it showed Jasper forced a turnover on downs with 7:11 to go in the third quarter.
“Overall, Coach (Joe) Shelton did a great job putting our defensive gameplan together and really shut a really good offense down,” Lewis said.
That fourth down stop proved to be huge, as the Wildcats gradually drove, finding themselves going for it on their own fourth and one situation just minutes after they stopped one. However, Jasper converted this one when senior Ashton Schuetter gained some yards to keep the drive going. It ended when Schuetter found himself within the end zone for a score, though Leonard missed on the PAT. That made it 22-6 Wildcats with 2:36 to go, and that was the score after three.
Jasper kept it going, pushing the Knights back in the fourth quarter that resulted in fourth and 40. They decided to run instead of punt, but came nowhere near the first down.
The Wildcats only added on when Young’s keeper extended it, and decided to go for two, which was good on a Schuetter carry. Schuetter finished the night with 94 rushing yards on 20 carries to complement his touchdown, and it was 30-6 with 7:59 to go.
Another big completion to Harris set up a touchdown reception to junior Brayden Bishop with 7:13 to go. The Knights once again went for two, but once again did not convert, and Bishop’s reception brought the game to its final score.
Jasper will try to keep this run going Oct. 8 in its final regular season game at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium against Evansville North. The Wildcats will have to find a way to contain Huskies senior quarterback Ethan Brawdy, who became the program’s all-time leading passer on Friday night against Vincennes Lincoln.
“As we told our kids in the aftergame get-together — we haven’t clinched or done anything yet in the conference,” Lewis said. “We’re looking at North — North’s a good team. They’re big, they’re physical, they’ve got good running backs, they’ve got a good quarterback, they’ve got good receivers. We were fortunate enough to get out of there in the last minute last year with a win. We’ve got to have a great week of practice because we’re playing a really good North team that’s really well-coached.”
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