HS football: Brownsburg tops HSE for conference title

Brownsburg Bulldogs quarterback Hunter Johnson (15) makes a pass during first half action between Hamilton Southeastern and Brownsburg, Fishers, Ind., Friday, October 14, 2016.

Brownsburg Bulldogs quarterback Hunter Johnson (15) makes a pass during first half action between Hamilton Southeastern and Brownsburg, Fishers, Ind., Friday, October 14, 2016.

FISHERS — There probably weren’t many people outside the Brownsburg football locker room who expected the Bulldogs to win a Hoosier Crossroads Conference title this season.

Consider it done. Class 6A seventh-ranked Brownsburg claimed the HCC championship outright with a 35-24 win at No. 8 Hamilton Southeastern on Friday night in a winner-take-all matchup.

“With the amount of seniors we have and the amount of talent we have, we expected a lot,” said Brownsburg senior quarterback Hunter Johnson. “For us to be where we are right now, it’s awesome.”

Brownsburg (8-1, 5-1 HCC) clinched its first conference title since 2012 with a dominant performance for the final 18 minutes of the game. Hamilton Southeastern (6-3, 4-2) scored on its first two possessions of the second half to turn what was a 14-3 deficit into a 24-21 lead after Jackson Sweeney ran 47 yards for a score.

Week 9 high school football roundup

The Bulldogs answered with a 15-play, 61-yard touchdown drive that chewed up 6 minutes. Brownsburg converted two third-down plays and two on fourth down. Johnson hit sophomore Bryce Kirtz for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 3 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 28-24 lead.

“We couldn’t get them off the field on third down,” HSE coach Scott May said. “That really hurt us. I think third down was a big difference all night.”

Johnson, a Clemson recruit, was especially sharp in the second half. After Brownsburg took the lead, the defense forced a three-and-out. Johnson led the Bulldogs right back down the field again, hitting senior Eli Johnson on a perfect 27-yard touchdown pass up the left sideline.

Just like that, Brownsburg led 35-24 with 8:02 left. Hunter Johnson was 9-for-11 in the second half for 114 yards and picked up 48 of his 72 rushing yards after halftime. For the game, he was 19-for-29 for 215 yards and four touchdowns. His lone interception came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half.

But it wasn’t just Johnson. The defense, a much-maligned unit in last year’s 3-7 season, made big stops in the second half. Freshman Donnie Marcus, who had 21 carries on the season coming in, rushed 28 times for 102 yards in the absence of senior Carson Gill (out with an ankle injury). Kirtz, the standout sophomore receiver, caught two passes and also threw a 44-yard TD pass in the first half to Dequincy Davis.

“That’s what championship teams do,” said first-year Brownsburg coach John Hart. “You can’t concentrate on one person.”

HSE had one more chance to pull within one score, driving to the Brownsburg 7. But an incomplete pass on fourth-and-5 ended the threat with 4:12 left. May said he considered kicking a field goal – potentially cutting the Brownsburg lead to 35-27 – but felt his team needed a touchdown to keep up with Brownsburg’s offense.

Brownsburg picked up two first downs and forced HSE to use all three of its timeouts, using up all but 18 seconds of the clock. After the game, the seniors took a picture in the end zone in front of the scoreboard.

“It’s huge,” said Hart, who won state championships at Evansville Reitz and Warren Central. “These guys have never won a championship throughout their high school career. To get one is really special.”

Sweeney rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and caught four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown to lead HSE’s offense. Adam Mullett was 13-for-24 passing for 223 yards.

Under the new tournament format for Class 6A, all teams will get a week off before sectional play begins. HSE hosts Carmel in Sectional 4 and Brownsburg hosts Ben Davis in Sectional 5.

“Two weeks (off) can be great, but you also have to stay focused,” Johnson said. “I think our guys are going to be great with the two weeks and we’ll put together a good game plan to come out and get a win.”

Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.

HS football: Top performers of Week 9








Hamilton SE







HSE – Tyler Melser 37 FG

B – Bryce Kirtz 23 pass from Hunter Johnson (Devon Steinman kick)

B – Dequincy Davis 44 pass from Kirtz (Steinman kick)

HSE – Jackson Sweeney 2 run (Melser kick)

HSE – Sweeney 54 pass from Adam Mullett (Melser kick)

B – Will Berens 14 pass from Hunter Johnson (Steinman kick)

HSE – Sweeney 47 run (Melser kick)

B – Kirtz 11 pass from H.Johnson (Steinman kick)

B – Eli Johnson 27 pass from H.Johnson (Steinman kick)


Rushing – Brownsburg, Donnie Marcus 28-102, H.Johnson 16-72, Kirtz 2-5. HSE, Sweeney 25-173, Carter Lohman 1-21, Tyler Fleming 3-4, Adam Mullett 8-3.

Passing — Brownsburg, H.Johnson 19-29-1 215, Kirtz 1-1-0 44. HSE, Mullett 13-24-1 223.

Receiving — Brownsburg, Davis 5-103, Kirtz 5-58, E.Johnson 3-45, Daniel Breslin 3-23, Berens 1-14, Leigh Nutall 1-10, Marcus 2-6. HSE, Max Brooks 5-103, Sweeney 4-80, Matt Klink 2-27, Nick Mutchner 2-13.