BHS football

The Batesville Bulldogs and Greensburg Pirates battled Friday night for the Class 3A, Sectional No. 23 title in high school football.

It was a match-up many people in the area were waiting to see.

The Pirates had defeated the Bulldogs earlier in the season and entered with an impressive 10-1 record.

The Bulldogs have been nearly as impressive with a 9-2 mark.

On the line was a sectional championship – the sixth in a row for the Bulldogs and the first in 17 years for the Pirates.

The cold temperatures did not keep away the over 2,000 fans from filling the stands and it did not slow down the Bulldogs.

The unranked Bulldogs emerged victorious 16-8 and extended their streak, while the state’s No. 6 ranked Pirates finished the season with a mark of 10-2.

Statistically, the Pirates earned more first downs and rushed for more yards. That is little consolation for the outcome.

“This is sweet,” BHS head coach Eric Heppner said after the game. “This one ranks right up there will all the sectional wins.

“I am so proud of these kids and the effort they put in tonight and all week preparing,” he added.

The Bulldogs scored three times in the first half to take 16-0 lead into halftime.

Quarterback Paul Mattingly hooked up with Kyle Tekulve on a 53 yard pass play in the first quarter.

Jeremy Cook made it a a 13-0 game with a 12 yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Senior kicker Derek Laker added three crucial points to the board with a 42 yard field goal to put the Bulldogs on top 16-0.

The Pirates scored their only touchdown and two point conversion with 1:16 to play in the game.

Despite the Pirates’ greater number of first downs and rushing yards, it was the Batesville defense that was the difference.

The Bulldogs were obviously prepared for the Greensburg option attack and held the Pirates to 167 yards rushing, which is well under their average of 340 per game.

“We (coaches and players) felt we were as prepared as we could have been,” Heppner commented. “We have worked week after week on being disciplined on defense and it came back to help us tonight.”

Defensive coordinator Tim Hunter echoed Heppner’s comments and believes the team’s familiarity with the Pirates was an advantage. “Having played them twice last season and again once this season was to our advantage,” Hunter said. “Our kids are pretty comfortable with playing against the option.

“The key was the disciplined were showed with each player sticking to their responsibilities,” he added.

Batesville returned a couple players from injury and moved a few players around defensively, which enabled the Bulldogs to give the Pirates a little different look.

Senior Jeremy Quick and junior Scott Meyer seemed to benefit the most from the changes. Quick was continually putting pressure on Pirate quarterback Derrick Karazsia, while Meyer came up with a big second quarter interception and fumble recovery.

Cook also got more time on the defensive side of the ball and made the most of it with four solo tackles and five assists.

Despite the subtle changes defensively, two constants remained. Seniors Jonathan Lambert and Colin Becker led the team in tackles and were key components to slowing down the offensive heroics of Karazsia and crew. Lambert finished with a team high six solo tackles and 16 assists, while Becker had five solo and eight assists.

“You just can not say enough about the way the defense played,” Heppner said. “Greensburg is a good team and a very well coached team ... our defense had to play well and they did.”

Offensively, the numbers were not the best they have had this season, but they were more than enough.

The Bulldogs were efficient and gave the Pirates a number of different looks at the line of scrimmage.

Batesville finished with 161 yards rushing on 40 carries and 97 yards passing.

The Bulldogs were led in rushing by Matt Werner with 73 yards on 13 carries and Becker with nine carries for 36 yards.

Mattingly completed two passes for 97 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Both completions were impressive. Tekulve was well defended and was able to make the catch and outrun the defender. Becker, on the other hand, had already beat the defender, but was turned around on the pass and was forced to make a nice catch to avoid the incompletion.

The Bulldogs are now one of eight teams left in Class 3A and will play for a regional title Saturday afternoon.

The state’s No. 8 ranked Evansville Mater Dei Wildcats enter the 3 p.m. Saturday game with a record of 10-2.

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