TERRE HAUTE —
Bloomington North’s Hunter Jastremski did most of the damage on three first-half plays to take the lead role in spoiling Senior Night at Terre Haute South.
Cougars’ quarterback Jack Smith barely escaped the Braves’ pass rush on their first drive of the night, and dumped off to Jastremski, who nearly went down for a loss before eluding multiple Braves’ tacklers to go 50 yards for a touchdown.
Jastremski sliced through the middle of the Braves’ defense and sprinted 88 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. And he set up a backbreaking touchdown 10 seconds before halftime with a 28-yard rumble down the sideline.
The Cougars (5-4, 4-3 Conference Indiana) held on for a 36-20 victory against the Braves on a night that just didn’t go right for the home team. Jastremski finished with 283 yards for the Cougars with physical running and breakaway speed.
But the Braves could also fill a clipboard full of missed tackles.
“Going into postseason, we’ve really got to work on our fundamentals,” Herrin said. “With the week off, we’re going to go back to basics. We’re going to have a mini-camp type week next week and get back to basics tackling. We’re not wrapping up and running our feet. We’re slowing down. The kids played hard. It’s things that are fixable.”
Jacob Johnson caught a pair of touchdown passes in his final regular-season home game at Bob Clements Field, finishing with 106 yards on six catches. He also had some big kickoff returns throughout the evening.
“It wasn’t how we wanted to end the season. We wanted to go out on a winning note, get some momentum for the sectional,” said Johnson, one of 17 South seniors recognized prior to kickoff. “We just have to move on. We’re just lucky to be one of the state’s where everybody makes playoffs and we’ll hope to make a run.”
South quarterback Timmy Herrin was under some pressure and made his fair share of poor throws throughout the night to go with some on-target gems — a 30-yarder from his own 1-yard line to a diving Johnson to name one.
Herrin finished 14-of-29 with 196 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Sammy Velasquez caught the other touchdown, taking a screen pass and going 19 yards for a score in the final minute before halftime.
That play was set up by an interception by senior Duane Deerwester, who returned the pick for 27 yards to the Cougars’ 42-yard line.
Bloomington North took over with 48 seconds to go. Jastremski got the big first-down run into Braves’ territory, then Smith connected with Delvon Wilson on a 24-yard pass play. Smith scrambled on a pass play to find the end zone from 11 yards out with 10 seconds left before the half.
“It was just an ugly game,” Johnson said. “We didn’t capitalize on all the opportunities we had. It’s been the theme of the season. We just didn’t finish on enough drives.”
The visitors had 335 yards of offense at the break, and the Braves couldn’t find a rhythm offensively. South had minus-three rushing yards at halftime and 75 passing, finishing with minus-eight yards rushing on the night. Sacks played a part, but the Cougars stopped South running backs in the backfield five times as well.
“Re-establish the running game is something that we’re going to have to do,” Herrin said. “It’s us doing our job every play and doing it with effort. We’ve got to get back to basics.”