BROOKVILLE – Batesville and Franklin County both knew the outcome of the IHSAA sectional draw prior to Friday's kickoff in Brookville – the Wildcats will visit Batesville in the first round Oct. 23. At least for Franklin County, this didn't alter the mindset of the locker room powers-that-be.

“The consensus was no, we weren't going to hold back,” said head man Wes Gillman. “If anything, it was 'let's send them a message,' show them in two weeks they won't even want to play us. I don't think we got to that point because there were plays throughout that could have changed the momentum.”

Possibly, but numbers don't normally lie. The Wildcats cranked out over 500 yards of offense (around 400 rushing) to Batesville's 123 - before subtracting for six FC sacks. With seven possessions, the Bulldogs never advanced inside the Wildcat 40-yard-line. The final was 41-0.

One of those swing plays came late in the opening quarter after the 'Cats marched downfield on the game's first drive to lead 7-0. Junior Sam Westerfeld had just picked up one of his three sacks on quarterback Travis Lecher to give BHS 2nd-and-26 from its own 44. Next play, Lecher rolled out and seemingly hit Trey Peters for a long touchdown. Lecher, though, was flagged for being across the line of scrimmage.

“In high school football when you're dealing with kids, momentum plays a big role,” said Gillman. “When Lecher scrambles, he extends the play and you're asking your defensive backs to cover for five to seven seconds. Had it gone the other way, the game might have been different … but then look at total yards and I don't know if it changes the outcome.”

The Wildcats' first drive of the second quarter mirrored the one to start the game. Starting near midfield, a series of positive runs and senior Adam Kelly's 14-yarder to junior Bridger Bolos moved the ball to Batesville's 21, from where senior back Hunter Tschaenn tramped into the end zone.

Those three, along with senior Josh Bauman, gave the hosts a four-headed monster from the backfield that accounted for all but 47 of FC's rushing yards.

“As an offensive coordinator and head coach, that's the type of balanced game you'd like every week but it's not realistic,” said Gillman. “Tschaenn and Kelly will normally get the bulk of the carries, but Josh ran well, and Bridger is on fire both offensively and defensively. That's the type of production we need to offset not having our best all-around athlete, Jacob Schatzle (out for the remainder of the season).”

The teams then traded fumble recoveries, with junior Kaden Erfman falling on Lecher's error and Tschaenn getting stripped at the Bulldog 5 a few plays later.

Another Westerfeld sack, followed by a Batesville hold, stunted the Bulldogs' next drive and one of junior Braiden Foster's many punts landed around midfield.

In 2-minute offense mode, Kelly and the Wildcats went to work. A long touchdown run by Tschaenn following an FC timeout was called back on a pair of holding calls. With about a minute left, Kelly hooked up with junior Kristian Prows and Erfman for a total of 22 yards. After a BHS timeout, Jacob Meer deftly broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Bolos. A play later, Prows came down with a jump-ball pass for an 11-yard score. Kelly's extra point made it 21-0 at the break.

Picking up where they left off, the Wildcats put together an 86-yard drive on 13 plays early in the third. Each FC back earned a first down and, after a near-interception by BHS, Bauman picked up another first before Kelly threw to Bolos across the middle for an 18-yard TD.
The home team got the ball right back when junior safety Hunter Geis picked off a pass by Austin Pohlman, who had been inserted at quarterback.

FC progressed downfield again, getting a 20-yard pass from Kelly to tight end Austin Hill. Later, on 4th-and-10, Kelly bowled over Bulldog defenders for a first down. Batesville bailed out the drive on the next series; after an incompletion on fourth down, BHS was whistled for a personal foul. Kelly finished off the drive with runs of five and three yards to make it 33-0.

Closing things out, FC got 36 yards from freshman Isaiah Lee and an 11-yard TD run by junior Zayne Reed.

To start the game, the Wildcats went 85 yards on just five plays, capped by a 36-yard run by Tschaenn and Bolos' 38-yard scoring dash on the next snap.

Gillman was especially proud of his defense (6 tackles for loss to go with 6 sacks). Westerfeld, Erfman and senior Garrett Ertel were each credited with 6 tackles; Bauman added 2 sacks and Hill 1.

“We've gone six quarters with no points given up,” he said. “That can keep you in games, especially in the tournament, if your offense is not doing well.”

But the coach has been around long enough not to get overconfident about the rematch.

“They are going to be two completely different games,” he said. “What we have going is we were dominant up front on both sides. Typically, that carries over from week to week.

“If we show up and play hard, we love our chances.”

Wildcats 41, Bulldogs 0

Batesville - 0 0 0 0 - 0

Franklin County – 7 14 6 14 - 41

First Quarter

FC – Bolos 38-yard run, 9:22. Kelly kick.

Second Quarter

FC – Tschaenn 21-yard run, 9:18. Kelly kick.

FC – Prows 11-yard pass from Kelly, :6.1. Kelly kick.

Third Quarter

FC – Bolos 18-yard pass from Kelly, 4:08. Kick failed.

Fourth Quarter

FC – Kelly 3-yard run, 8:55. Kick failed.

FC – Reed 11-yard run, 1:24. Branson Galyen run.

Total yards: BHS 123, FC 528

Passing: BHS 61, FC 118

Rushing: BHS 62, FC 410

First downs: BHS 5, FC 22

Fumbles/lost: BHS 1/1, FC 2/1

Penalties: BHS 5-33, FC 9-80

Batesville - Rushing: Pohlman 10-18, Lecher 6-43, Will Meer 1-1. Passing: Lecher 4-9-61, Pohlman 0-1 (INT). Receiving: Pohlman 3-55, Peters 1-6.

Franklin Co. - Rushing: Kelly 10-48, Tschaenn 15-129, Bauman 11-66, Bolos 13-120, Lee 2-36, Reed 1-11. Passing: Kelly 8-15-118. Receiving: Prows 2-23, Bolos 3-47, Erfman 2-28, Hill 1-20.

(Stats should be considered unofficial)