GREENWOOD – Mike Kirschner did not have to say a word to get a rise out of his team after Ben Davis dealt Center Grove its most lopsided loss in six years. A nod and a wry smile was all that it took.
Kischner, the veteran coach of the Class 6A top-ranked Giants, quickly reminded his team that their 40-7 win on Friday night over the defending state champions was not a statement win — there are no statements until at least late October.
But the performance on Center Grove’s home turf said something about where this Ben Davis program is and where it can go.
“We beat a great team,” said senior receiver Broc Thompson, who caught seven passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. “I wouldn’t take it as more than that. We just beat a really good team.”
Ben Davis (4-0 overall, 2-0 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference) expected to have a much tougher test on its hands than it did in defeating Tech, Avon and Pike by an average of more than 36 points per game. And it was, at least for a half.
The Giants blew open a 13-7 game, starting with the first drive of the second half. On fourth-and-2 from the Center Grove 43, Delbert Mimms rushed 14 yards on a fake punt. Three plays later, Johnny Adams ran 23 yards on a draw play for a score to give Ben Davis a 20-7 lead.
Quarterback Reese Taylor and the Giants kept it rolling from there, scoring touchdowns on their next three possessions. The ever-elusive Taylor finished 28-for-31 passing for 217 yards and four touchdowns. And every time it appeared the Center Grove defense had Taylor in its sights, the senior would dash and dart away like Bugs Bunny from Wile E. Coyote.
“He’s an awesome kid,” Center Grove coach Eric Moore said of Taylor. “He’s a nightmare to have to think about playing against. But he has fun playing the game of football and that’s what I enjoy. He made play after play. You could tell mentally that nothing every got the kid down. He was going to make something out nothing and when you have that, it’s a great thing to have.”
Ben Davis rolled up 398 yards of offense to just 146 for Center Grove, dealing the Trojans their worst home loss since 2006. A week after rushing for 238 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-10 win over Carmel, Center Grove freshman Carson Steele was limited to 75 yards on 21 carries.