BROWNSBURG — Nearly an hour after Friday’s game ended, the parking lots surrounding the Brownsburg football field were still emptying of cars.
A packed house came to watch this longstanding Hendricks County rivalry between a pair of Class 6A powers in No. 9 Brownsburg and No. 10 Avon, and the game didn’t disappoint.
After establishing a commanding lead early, Brownsburg survived a late Avon comeback with a 30-22 win.
In two meetings last year, Avon piled up 117 points while allowing a total of 35 in blowout wins over the Bulldogs.
Brownsburg senior quarterback Hunter Johnson — a Clemson recruit and the top-rated pro-style quarterback in the nation according to Rivals.com — said the win over Avon “absolutely” held extra significance, given the way things played out last year.
“Our guys expect to win now,” Johnson said. “We found a way to get that done. It’s great to see all of our hard work start to pay off.”
Brownsburg looked like it might be the one dominating this matchup, after taking a 30-14 lead early in the third quarter with Avon all but inept on offense. The Orioles struggled to move the chains throughout the night. Their biggest play came on special teams just before halftime with Brownsburg leading 27-7, when Bryant Fitzgerald set up an Orioles touchdown with a 96-yard kickoff return.
Things appeared to go from bad to worse for Avon midway through the fourth, when quarterback Cameron Misner was tackled from behind and then absorbed a second, crushing hit to his helmet. Misner left the field for two plays but came back and drilled Luke Shayotovich with a 27-yard scoring strike on his first play back to pull the Orioles within eight.
“I’m glad he’s OK,” said Avon coach Mark Bless. “That’s a shot where he could have been out for a while, but once he got back to the sidelines and our trainer checked him out, he was fine. He showed a lot of poise.”
Misner and the Orioles had a final chance to force overtime after stopping Brownsburg on a fourth-down attempt, taking possession with 2 minutes left and no timeouts. Facing 4th-and-7 from the Brownsburg 24, Misner’s pass into the end zone was long.
“We had to play through a lot of tough calls and scratch, claw and find a way to win,” said Brownsburg coach John Hart.
Brownsburg is 4-0 for the first time since 2012, when the Bulldogs finished 9-1, while Avon dropped to 2-2.
Johnson demonstrated both touch and zip on his passes, and some impressive foot speed. He finished 15-of-25 with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. He added 88 yards rushing on 10 carries, including a 42-yard touchdown sprint. Senior running back Carson Gill added 195 yards rushing on 32 attempts.
Misner finished with 193 yards passing for Avon, which managed just 223 net yards on offense.