Bedford North Lawrence junior cornerback Joe Jackson intercepted three first-half passes, including one for a 50-yard touchdown, as the Stars stunned and shunned the Highlanders 17-0 during the semifinal round of Class 5-A Sectional 16 at Weigleb Stadium. BNL (5-5) advanced to host Castle in the championship game next week.
Floyd Central (4-6) ended the season with a five-game losing streak and a second loss to the Stars. This one was surprising considering the Highlanders scored 47 points in their last outing at New Albany and had two weeks to prepare for the rematch with BNL.
Turnovers were Floyd Central’s demise in the first meeting with the Stars, and BNL forced four to frustrate Floyd Central’s offense.
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Jackson’s first pick was returned 50 yards for a touchdown at 4:05 of the first quarter, and his second – after a BNL punt pinned the Highlanders at the 2 – set up Brayden Tidd’s 4-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left in the first half. His third ended the half.
Jackson caught more Floyd passes than the Highlanders (who had two) during the first two quarters.
“I think they were targeting the kid in the cast,” BNL coach Steve Weber said. “That touchdown relieved the pressure. And then the defense was awesome, lights out.”
Floyd scored 21 points in a driving rain during the first home loss to BNL. This time, on a dry turf, the Highlanders managed only four first downs and only one (on a personal foul penalty) in the second half
“Well, we did OK then,” Weber said with a smile. “We had struggles here and there on offense, but with the defense playing like that, you’re fine.”
Actually, Floyd’s defense, which had five quarterback sacks, was tough as well. The two BNL touchdowns came directly off turnovers, and a fourth-quarter field goal (27 yards by Esteban Flores) was set up by a 58-yard run by fullback Conner McCullough. The offense just could not produce anything.
“Our defense hung in there well,” Floyd coach Brian Glesing said. “I thought they played well enough to win.
“Their defense played well. They were just killing us inside, we had to throw and try to get outside. It didn’t work out very well.”
No, it did not. Floyd sophomore quarterback Matt Weimer, who was under constant pressure and proved elusive to catch, was only 5 of 18 passing for 36 yards with the four picks.
“Their defense is much improved,” Glesing said. “They’re big, strong, they have some big dudes we can’t push around. They have a deceiving record. They lost some games they should have won. They’re now peaking at the right time.”
BNL’s offense also sputtered, but had only one turnover on the first possession. Tidd completed 7 of 16 passes and ran for 82 yards.
The Stars posted their first shutout since a 44-0 victory over Jennings County in 2012, and they recorded only the 10th postseason win in program history. Now they will play for only their second sectional title.