By Jake Thompson
---- — BROWNSBURG — The opening night of football season is often when prep teams iron out the bugs and at times, play sloppy football.
That was not the case for the Brownsburg Bulldogs Friday as they turned a 28-0 first quarter output into a 49-28 win over the visiting McCutcheon Mavericks.
“I was ecstatic, surprised, jubilant, you name it,” Brownsburg coach Brett Comer said about the early offensive explosion. “We will always take that in our opening game.”
Brownsburg, to no surprise, relied on its rushing game and hammered the Mavericks into submission with its offensive line. The group of Bryce Tolle, Jake Shelley, Dustin Dowers, Justin Davis, Kent Craig and Evan Mallory blew apart the Mavericks’ front-seven and opened up the running lanes.
The biggest beneficiary was sophomore Toks Akinribade, who carried 18 times for 205 yards and three touchdowns.
“The blocking was good,” Akinribade said. “Our line didn’t rest and worked hard. They gave it all and left nothing on the field for nobody else.”
Akinribade scored twice in the first quarter on runs of 39 and 7 yards and was the first player to score on the Bulldogs’ new turf field at C.F. Roark Stadium.
Sandwiched in between Akinribade’s scores were passing and rushing TDs by quarterback Jacob Lambert. The senior signal-caller threw a 14-yard strike to Tyler Welch, giving Brownsburg a 14-0 advantage. Lambert then ran it in late in the first quarter from the 1-yard line.
Lambert finished the night 3 for 5 passing for 47 yards and a TD and had eight carries for 44 yards and another score.
“He made some good things happen,” Comer said. “The best play he made was a pass play that he tucked and ran.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs gave up some rushing yards to McCutcheon, however, they forced three turnovers and limited the Mavericks to 61 passing yards.
“Defensively, we gave up some runs but it’s difficult when you get up 35-0,” Comer said. “I thought they did a pretty good job, especially meeting our goal of three turnovers on Friday nights.”
Johnny Dotlich came up with the biggest defensive play of the night on a scoop and score in the second quarter to put the Bulldogs up 35-0. While rolling out, Mavericks quarterback Jami Frier lost control of the ball, Dotlich grabbed hold of it, looked up and saw nothing but daylight in front of him.
“I saw him rollout and our defensive guy got a hand on it and I picked it up and blacked out from there, running it to the end zone,” Dotlich said. “I was headed to the band section and I never thought it would happen.”
Dotlich notched his own part of Bulldogs’ history, becoming the first defensive player to score on the new turf at the BillEstes.com field at the Indiana University Health Athletic Complex.
“Everybody says you have mental mistakes during Week 1, and that you get a lot better going into Week 2 than you do the rest of the time, but we’ll see,” Comer said. “Self-inflicted penalties drive me crazy and we didn’t have that many of those.”