The teams locked up in a surprising defensive battle between two teams that have been able to put up a lot of points during the first half of the season. The Braves were able to keep the Knights at bay offensively for the most part with Northview pinned deep for much of the night and Brebeuf held onto a 21-14 decision.
Rarely does a high school kicker make a big impression on a game, but that can't be said about Brebeuf Jesuit's senior kicker, Erich Toth.
The 6'4, 200 lb. kicker had plenty to do with making things difficult for the Northview Knights on Friday night, booting touchback kickoffs four times as Northview struggled against poor field position all night long.
"(Brebeuf's) kicker is outstanding. Whenever you have a kid like that, every time you kick off you pretty much start at the 20-(yard line)," Northview coach George Gettle said. "Your drives have to go 80 yards and sometimes in high school that's a little more difficult than it looks just because, other than a big play, you are talking eight, nine, 10-play drives without anybody making mistakes."
The Knights never started an offensive drive outside of their own 28-yard line in the game and that came on an interception by Andrew Butts that was returned from the goal line to halt a Braves' drive in the second quarter.
After the Knights punted on their first drive, the Braves moved the ball down to the Knights' 14-yard line with the big play coming on a 32-yard pass connection from quarterback, Bob Dillon, to Malik Ferguson. However, the Knights' defense stood tall and forced a 32-yard fieldgoal attempt that Toth missed.
Northview responded on offense as Trent Lancaster hit Butts for a 16-yard gain and then had a pair of runs that went a combined 16 yards. Northview drove to Brebeuf's nine-yard line, but a third down pass intended for Daniel Kimball was tipped and intercepted in the endzone by Ferguson.
Butts would return the favor on Brebeuf's ensuing drive as the Braves marched down the field only to have the senior Knight, pick off Dillon's pass.
Brebeuf would get on the board late in the second quarter after a sack of Lancaster forced a fumble and gave the Braves a short field. The eight-yard drive was capped by a nine-yard pass to Ferguson for a 7-0 lead at halftime.
The Braves received the second half kickoff and moved the ball quickly into Northview territory as Dillon found tightend JD Robinson for a 57-yard gain. Three plays later, Dillon scored on a QB sneak for a 14-0 advantage.
"I thought we kind of got off on a slow foot there in the first half. Our (second) drive wasn't bad, but we threw the interception," Gettle said. "We kind of struggled early on, but in the second half I thought we did a little better, but once we were behind they were able to pin their ears back a little bit, put some nickel and dime (defensive) packages in. . .when you are behind, they know you're going to throw the ball. We made it a little bit easier on them there."
While Brebeuf did have a successful pass rush in the second half, it didn't stop the Knights from responding with an 80-yard scoring drive.
On Brebeuf's next drive, Dillon completed a 20-yard pass to Robinson and DJ Perdue ripped off a 15-yard run. After the Knights got a sack from Jesse Miller, Dillon completed a second-and-25 pass that went for 29 yards to Billy McClamroch for a first down. Brebeuf drove to the one-yard line and the Knights stopped a pair of QB sneaks by Dillon. Facing fourth down, the Knights nearly had the stop, but Wisdom Adaka was able to bull in for a 21-7 lead.
Northview followed early in the fourth quarter with a score of their own on another 80-yard drive.
Lancaster found Butts for a 54-yard pass play and Hyatt caught another for 11 more yards. Lancaster then faked a handoff and ran the final eight yards to claw back to within 21-14.
The Knights stopped Brebeuf twice in the final stages of the game, standing up on a fourth down pass incompletion at their own 26-yard line and once more at midfield. However, the offense stalled under the Braves pass rush as Northview started their final drive at their own 14-yard line with 2:16 remaining. A holding call moved the ball back to the five-yard line on first down and Lancaster was sacked on the next play just outside of the endzone. Two straight incompletions under pressure ended the Knights chances.
Despite the loss, Gettle found some solace in his defense's play against the 6-0 Braves.
"Defensively I think we're getting better, I really do. Collectively, I think we played a better game today and got some stops when we had to and that's really encouraging going into the last three games of the year. You get a sense that we're putting things together a little bit."
The Knights are now 4-2 overall and host South Vermillion on Friday night.
Brebeuf Jesuit 21, Northview 14
Score by quarters
BR -- Bob Dillon nine-yard pass to Malik Ferguson (Erich Toth kick), 4:59
BR -- Dillon one-yard run (Toth kick), 8:59
Nv -- Trent Lancaster 31-yard pass to Andrew Butts (Trey Boor kick), 5:36
BR -- Wisdom Adaka one-yard run (Toth kick)
Nv -- Lancaster eight-yard run (Boor kick), 11:22
Passing: Nv (Lancaster 11-27 229 yards, 1 Int. 1 TD). BR (Dillon 10-17 217 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.).
Rushing: Nv (Hyatt 3-2, Lancaster 20-18 TD). BR (Perdue 11-41, Williams 2-47, Dillon 13-(-10), McClamroch 2-(-10), Robinson 1-(-1), Adaka 1-1 TD).
Receiving: Nv (Butts 6-142 TD, Hyatt 5-85). BR (Robinson 4-116 TD, Ferguson 1-32, McClamroch 2-40, Gapinski 2-18, Nagy 1-11).