It was a disappointing end to a very good football season for the Batesville Bulldogs.
The state’s No. 3 ranked Bulldogs suffered a 17-14 loss at home to the Indian Creek Braves in the first round of the Class 3A Sectional No. 30. It was the first loss of the season for the Bulldogs and it came at the worst time.
“I just feel bad about the loss right now,” BHS head coach Eric Heppner said after the game. “This is just not how we wanted it to end.
“This was a very special year with a special group of players,” he added.
It was not the same team the Bulldog faithful had watched all season. Some of that is to the credit of the Braves, but some was just their own miscues.
The passing game was not as efficient as it has been all season. Quarterback Connor Schuck was just 8-of-25 passing for 93 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
On nights the Bulldogs did not need to pass, they would rely on the ground game. Success on the ground was hard to sustain as well. The Bulldogs finished with 134 yards on 33 carries. Austin Westerfeld led the way with 47 yards on 11 carries.
The Braves set the tone early in the game and scored on their first possession. Brenden Smith, who finished with just over 200 yards rushing, capped a 13 play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run at the 5:48 mark. A Dylan Walker extra point made it 7-0 before the Bulldogs’ offense even stepped on the field.
The Bulldogs moved the ball with some success, but found themselves faced with a fourth down and 10 at the IC 35 yard line. Schuck’s pass fell incomplete and the Braves took over on downs.
Connor Dickey intercepted a pass two plays later to give the Bulldogs the ball on the 49 yard line. A penalty on the play moved the ball ahead to the Indian Creek 34. Batesville’s drive stalled again in IC territory as a fourth down pass by Schuck was knocked down by Cory Utecht.