By Jeff Robison Flyer correspondent
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — BROWNSBURG – The Brownsburg Bulldogs are not used to losing home football games under the guidance of coach Brett Comer. But Friday night, Comer could only serve up a round of respect to visiting Noblesville, as the Millers controlled the hosts in all areas and dealt them a 26-6 defeat.
It was Brownsburg’s first regular season home defeat since 2010 against Zionsville.
Noblesville put together a complete combination with the offensive savvy of senior quarterback T. C. McKiernan, the strong leg of kicker Ben Rice and a defense that seemed to get stingier after nearly giving up points on the opening possession.
“Noblesville played well, and you have to give them credit” Comer said. “Their kids played hard all night. They won the game. This is an odd feeling losing at home, and not a good feeling, and one that we do not like very much.”
Brownsburg (1-1) had a chance to score on its first drive, but after the Bulldogs moved the football 70 yards from their own 10-yard line, they came up with an empty possession as Brandon Dowers just missed wide right on a 37-yard field goal try.
That seemed all the momentum Noblesville (2-0) needed to have the upper hand the rest of the way.
McKiernan was a handful for a relatively green Brownsburg defensive unit, one featuring nine new starters. He was good for 102 rushing yards and 169 yards with his arm.
When it came to field position, Rice made Brownsburg work harder for scoring chances and provided points with four field goals (32, 20, 30 and 42 yards).
Rice missed a fifth field goal, but that was 56-yard try that missed just to the right. On his kickoffs, he forced multiple touchbacks with a lone return only getting to the 15.
Noblesville coach Lance Scheib said Rice’s performance was a welcomed bonus, and was also proud of his defense.
“Our defense executed our plan incredibly,” Scheib said. “And it was great to have a weapon like Rice. He allowed us to score, and that made good things happen. He is ranked in the top 10 high school kickers in the country.”
Meanwhile, the Noblesville defense yielded just 26 passing yards and kept Brownsburg workhorse rusher Toks Akinribade mostly in check, save for two fourth quarter rushes good for 65 yards. The rest of his carries went for 39 yards.
“We are used to going up and down the field,” Comer said. “Everybody knows we are going to run the football. They loaded the box against us, and their defense played very well.”
Noblesville held a 10-0 lead at halftime, scoring its lone touchdown off a double-reverse from McKiernan to Hayden Stinnett to Zach Cable for 23 yards.
Thanks to Rice, that lead grew to 16-0 before Akinribade put the Bulldogs on his shoulders late in the third quarter and scored a 1-yard run to open the fourth quarter.
The Millers quickly answered with their other touchdown, which proved to be the game-clincher when McKiernan connected with Jarel Youree for a 47-yard pass.
Brownsburg will take to the road for the first time in 2013 next Friday as the Bulldogs take on Hamilton Southeastern.