When it rained, it poured for Terre Haute South High School’s football team Friday. And it only partially had to do with the unrelenting precipitation at Warren Central.
Warren Central took advantage of South mistakes to maximum advantage as the Warriors bested the Braves 35-0 in a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference contest.
The game was played in a steady downpour. Temperatures were in the mid-40s and there was a steady wind from the north. The inclement weather undeniably affected the game, there were 13 combined fumbles between the two teams, but South got the worst of it with nine of them.
“We had too many mistakes. We had too many times where we hurt ourselves,” South coach Mark Raetz said.
Michael Watt rushed for 59 yards for the Braves (2-6, 0-5), but there were precious few highlights in a frustrating night.
It went wrong on the opening kickoff for the Braves. Warren Central’s kick landed in an open spot between South’s kick returners and blockers and none of the Braves could field the ball as it skidded on the wet field turf. Warren Central’s Jamaal Bridges eventually recovered the ball at the South 8-yard line.
Two plays later, Warren Central quarterback Jeff George plunged into the end zone from a yard out to make it 7-0.
Misfortune came in a different form later in the first quarter. On South’s second drive, quarterback Danny Etling was sacked by Warren Central’s Cameron Johnson and was injured. Etling put no weight on his right leg as he left the field — Etling’s been plagued by a bad right ankle for the entire season.
Raetz said Etling’s ankle wasn’t broken and he anticipates that he’ll play next week against Lawrence North.
The injury came two plays after Etling had completed an 80-yard pass to Tyler Seibert to put South in scoring position, but even that turned sour for the Braves.
South attempted a 27-yard field goal, but the snap was low, holder Jonathan Brinsfield couldn’t get the wet ball down and Braves kicker Adam Kahn didn’t make full contact when he kicked it. The ball sailed high, just over the line, and Warren Central’s Johah De St Jeor caught it at the South 10. He ran 90 yards untouched for a rare field-goal return for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
“We gave them two touchdowns,” Raetz said.
Etling’s injury, the poor weather and a stout Warren Central front line conspired to make South’s offense ineffective. The Braves did not gain another first down for the remainder of the first half. South had four first-half fumbles as back-up quarterback Timmy Herrin had trouble with the quarterback-center exchange in the pouring rain.
“The fumbled snaps, the mistakes in the kicking game, that stuff just can’t happen irregardless of who’s playing for us, who we’re playing, what the weather is like, those things cannot happen. We’ve got a lot of things to fix,” Raetz said.
Without Etling, South also had to abandon its passing attack. It had just one passing attempt after Etling left the contest.
“They’ve got a good defense. No one’s scoring points on those guys. It’s compounded when you lose your starting quarterback,” Raetz said.
Meanwhile, Warren Central (4-4, 4-2) put together a pair of second quarter scoring drives. One ended in an 18-yard George-to-Glynn Hill TD connection on a post pattern. The other was capped by a 30-yard Anthony Cooper-Taylor touchdown scamper.
The second half was kinder to South. Warren Central made it 35-0 in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard Dominique Shropshire TD run, but that was all the Warriors got in the second half.
Warren Central 35, South 0
Terre Haute South 0 0 0 0 — 0
Warren Central 14 14 0 7 — 35
WC — Jeff George 1 run (Max Hernandez kick), 11:30 1Q.
WC — Johah De St Jeor 90 FG return (Hernandez kick), 2:41 1Q.
WC — Glynn Hill 18 pass from George (Hernandez kick), 6:18 2Q.
WC — Anthony Cooper-Taylor 30 run (Hernandez kick), 3:42 2Q.
WC — Dominique Shropshire 6 run (Hernandez kick), 8:12 4Q.
First downs 5 17
Rush.-Yds. 42-55 39-222
Rec. Yds. 80 36
C/A/I 1-2-0 4-14-0
Pen. yds. 3-15 6-35
Fumb./Lost 9-3 4-0
Punts/Avg. 6-31.8 6-32.3
Rushing — South, Michael Watt 15-59, Ian Newton 17-27, team 1-(-1), Danny Etling 1-(-6), Jonathan Brinsfield 1-(-7), Timmy Herrin 7-(-17). Warren Central, Cooper-Taylor 9-102, Myekli Williams 11-42, Tyrone Young 4-30, Shropshire 5-25, Dant’e Branson 4-14, George 2-8, Phillip Austin 1-4, Marcus Mason 1-1, Adrian Smith 1-(-1), team 1-(-3).
Passing — South, Etling 1-1-0 80, Herrin 0-1-0 0. Warren Central, George 4-11-0 36, Cooper-Taylor 0-3-0 0.
Receiving — South, Tyler Seibert 1-80. Warren Central, Hill 2-29, Darius Lee 1-5, Shropshire 1-2.
Next — South (2-6, 0-5) will play host to Lawrence North and Warren Central (4-4, 4-2) plays at Center Grove next Friday.