TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute South’s football team had four possessions that started and ended in the first quarter.
Each of the series resulted in turnovers. Each of them were cashed in by Carmel for touchdowns. It all spelled doom for a Braves team that didn’t need to give the Class 5A No. 2 Greyhounds any gifts.
Carmel is too good to look a gift horse in the mouth and the Greyhounds used the 28 points off turnovers to roll to eventual 55-7 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference rout at Bob Clements Field.
“Carmel is a good team and we were going to have to play mistake-free football to beat them. Obviously, we didn’t do that,” South coach Mark Raetz said. “I felt like we were able to move the ball in the first half, but when we had those turnovers, the kids just lost confidence.”
Carmel (3-1, 2-0 MIC) received its first gift on the fourth play of the game. Cornerback Matt Seward picked off a Bryn Schwartz pass at the South 25 on the right sideline and brushed off Braves’ tacklers for a pick-six touchdown.
The Braves (1-3, 0-2) seemed poised to respond quickly as Schwartz broke off a 42-yard run to start South’s next drive.
The Braves got to the Carmel 28, but disaster struck again. Schwartz tried to go to the right sideline again, but his intended receiver fell down. Seward waited for an easy interception and raced untouched for a 78-yard interception return to make it 14-0.
It was Matt Seward 12, South 0 -- and the Greyhounds’ offense hadn’t even touched the ball yet. South fumbles would change that.
With the Braves moving the ball again, Tre Stephens lost the ball while stacked up near midfield. Carmel’s Blair Trapkus recovered, and on the sixth play of the Greyhound drive, Devin Brinson scored a 2-yard touchdown to make it 21-0.
South fumbled again just three plays into its next drive. This time, Carmel needed just two plays to cash in as Jesse Hollander caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Adam Shaffer to make it 28-0 with 2:14 left in the first quarter.
For Carmel coach Mo Moriarty, the turnovers were the culmination of a week’s worth of planning.
“We had five turnovers coming into this game and had only taken away once. All week in practice our focus was takeaways and not turn the ball over. That’s what we were able to do,” Moriarty said. “We shocked them early and it’s hard to come back from that.”
The second quarter offered no respite for the Braves. On the first play of the period, Carmel’s Paul Conway blocked a South punt and the Greyhounds recovered at the South 21. A Shaffer-to-Jon Schmidt 21-yard TD connection quickly made it 35-0. Carmel scored again just before halftime to make it 41-0.
Carmel added two more touchdowns early in the third quarter before they began to put reserves in the game. South scored its lone touchdown with 5:13 left when Schwartz plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown.
“They’re young and they have to hang in there. This is the toughest league out there. I’m telling you, there’s no league like the MIC,” Moriarty said.
“People can say what they want, but it ain’t even close what we play every Friday night. It’s totally different,” he continued. “It’ll be different [for South] in the sectional. They won’t see anyone near what they see every week. Coach Raetz has done a helluva job.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Braves as they host defending state champion Center Grove next Friday
“Part of playing football is learning how to deal with adversity. Tonight we had a lot of things go wrong. We need to use this as a way for our team to come together stronger. When you get down, get up and fight back more,” Raetz said.
Carmel 55, TH South 7
Carmel 28 13 14 0 — 55
Terre Haute South 0 0 0 7 — 7
C — Matt Seward 25 interception return (Jordan Babcock kick), 10:20 1Q.
C — Seward 78 interception return (Babcock kick), 9:06 1Q.
C — Devin Brinson 2 run (Babcock kick), 4:25 1Q.
C — Jesse Hollander 7 pass from Adam Shaffer (Babcock kick), 2:14 1Q.
C — Jon Schmidt 21 pass from Shaffer (Babcock kick), 11:46 2Q.
C — Shaffer 6 run (kick failed), 2:55 2Q.
C — Brinson 44 run (Babcock kick), 11:15 3Q.
C — Mike Hartfield 33 run (Babcock kick), 8:24 3Q.
THS — Bryn Schwartz 1 run (Tyler King kick), 5:13 4Q.
First downs 15 10
Rushes-yards 28-218 36-106
Passing yards 96 56
Comp-Att-Int 6-11-0 5-9-2
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Punts-avg 3-35.7 4-25.3
Penalties-yards 4-35 1-5
Rushing: Carmel — Brinson 5-60, Hartfield 5-47, Hollander 6-32, Mitch Merritt 4-25, Nick Logan 4-25, Shaffer 3-16, Drew Robertson 2-7, Scott Stilson 1-4, Harry Jin 1-2. Terre Haute South — Schwartz 14-53, PJ Montgomery 8-23, Tyler Evans 6-15, Tre Stephens 3-8, Warren Bryant 2-5, Enreque Brown 3-2.
Passing: Carmel — Shaffer 5-10-0, 75, Stilson 1-1-0, 21; Terre Haute South — Schwartz 5-9-2, 56.
Receiving: Carmel — Schmidt 3-62, Evan Butz 1-21, Hollander 1-7, Billy Davis 1-6. Terre Haute South — Montgomery 2-16, Logan Buske 1-24, Mitchell Dagnon 1-13, Kevin Bracken 1-3.
Next games — Terre Haute South (1-3, 0-2) will play host to Center Grove next Friday. Carmel (3-1, 2-0) will play host to Lawrence North next Friday.
TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute South’s football team had four possessions that started and ended in the first quarter.
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