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Burcham’s big night powers BC past NH

North Harrison’s football team ‘ flying high after winning three straight games ‘ came crashing back to earth Friday night in a lop-sided matchup against Mid-Southern Conference foe Brownstown.
The host Braves, ranked 8th in Class 2A, put up 55 points, ran one of three interceptions back for a touchdown, and got a 29-carry, 273-yard performance by senior Brent Burcham.
When all was said and done ‘ and Brownstown did most of the talking ‘ the Cougars were on the wrong end of a 55-14 score.
It was Brownstown’s 52nd-straight regular-season victory and the 32nd consecutive in conference play. It assured the team of at least a share of the M.S.C. title.
Burcham’s rushing effort set a single-game mark for most yards. The former record was 267, set by Joe Hines against West Washington in 1997.
‘They are a good ball club,’ said Cougar coach Jason Mullis. ‘But anytime you fumble six times and lose one, and throw three interceptions ‘ two inside the 30 and one for a touchdown ‘ the score is not going to be pretty. They just took us to the shed and whipped us, and we didn’t fight them.’
Brownstown (6-0, 4-0) had the ball 10 times on offense and scored on eight. The only two possessions the Braves failed to hit paydirt came with just a few ticks left in the first half and with the junior varsity unit’s final possession in the fourth quarter.
Conversely, North’s nine possessions concluded with three interceptions, one fumble, one punt, two losses on downs, and two touchdowns. The Cougars fumbled six times, but only one was smothered by a Braves jersey.
‘I think my players were tight. It was the first time in a while that people thought they had a chance,’ Mullis said. ‘They were scared to play, they were scared to mess up. But in football, indecision makes you slow, and that’s the way we played: slow.
‘Plus, Brownstown had something to prove. They wanted to prove that North Harrison and Brownstown shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath. They proved it Friday.’
The Braves’ opening drive set the tone for the evening as three players touched the ball, and Eric Baughman carried in the ball from five yards out. Chandler Lambring, who also serves as Brownstown’s quarterback, kicked the first of seven PATs for a 7-0 lead.
After forcing a North Harrison punt, the Braves struck again five minutes later as Lambring called his own number on a one-yard dive.
The Cougars (3-3, 1-1) showed signs of life on their next possession, driving to the Brownstown 34 before senior Travis Maupin picked off North’s Michael Dean to end the drive.
The Braves took over on their own five and marched 95 yards in 15 plays, capped by Mason Watson’s two-yard jaunt.
Burcham scored on Brownstown’s next possession with a 19-yard trek to the end zone.
North’s turn on offense was cut short by Watson’s 34-yard interception return for a touchdown, which set the halftime score at 35-0.
Brownstown wasted no time getting on the board in the third quarter. After a fumble by Dean four plays into the second half, Lambring connected with Eric Baughman from 40 yards out.
Rusty Hobble blocked Lambring’s kick, but the Braves still led by a comfortable margin, 41-0.
The Cougars’ offense posted its first points of the night on the ensuing possession.
Starting from its own 35, North marched down the field in 12 plays. Corey Beckman bounced in from four yards out for the score. Bart Robertson’s point-after kick was a low line-drive that was well short of the uprights. It was 41-6 after three periods.
Brownstown scored on the opening play of the final frame on a two-yard dive by Watson.
The final score by the Braves came with 5:14 left in the game as Levi Shiner had a two-yard run of his own.
North kept its first-team offense in the game and mounted a seven-play, 55-yard drive capped by an amazing one-handed catch by Chris Rawert from 22 yards out.
Beckman chalked up a two-point conversion to set the final score at 55-14.
‘This game’s over, in the past,’ Mullis said. ‘We have to let this hurt a little for motivation, but we can’t dwell on it. It’ll be interesting to see how my players respond.
‘I know how the old North Harrison would respond, but the question is how will we respond? Only time will tell.’
North Harrison gained 218 yards on the ground, with 150 of those coming from freshman standout Bryan Schroeder. He also caught four passes for 15 yards.
Beckman carried the ball 13 times for 47 yards.
Rawert caught three passes for 38 yards to lead the passing corps.
The Cougars gained 15 first downs, with 13 of those coming against the Braves’ first teamers.
The play of David Kitchel and Stewart Wenning on defense and Rawert and Schroeder on offense pleased Mullis.
‘I felt that very few players showed up to play, but, yes, Dave, Stewart, Chris Rawert,and Bryan all played hard,’ the first-year head coach said.
This Friday night North Harrison returns to Ramsey to face conference opponent Clarksville (3-3, 2-2) in an 7:30 p.m. start.
The Generals are coming off a 38-8 shelling of Charlestown ‘ their third win in a row ‘ and they tend to air the ball out on offense.
Clarksville is led by quarterback Brad Daily, who was third in M.S.C. passing coming into the Charlestown game, and by the league’s leading receiver, Ryan Bobay.
‘My only outlook this week is ourselves,’ Mullis said. ‘We can’t worry about anything else. We can prepare and do all that, but it doesn’t matter it you don’t fix yourself first.
‘Six fumbles and three interceptions won’t win us another game.’