Ben Davis inched its way closer to a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship Friday night with a 37-20 win over Center Grove, by way of an air raid courtesy of junior quarterback Kyle Castner.
Castner was 18 for 21 for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Davis has primarily been a three-headed monster at running back all season, especially in the last three weeks, but coach Mike Kirschner saw an opportunity Friday night to attack the Trojans through the air.
“We saw a few things on film we could take advantage of with our passing game and other schemes,” Kirschner said. “They are pretty good up front. We still rushed for 150 yards but we just didn’t run as much. The passing game was clicking and Kyle was spreading it around. His 18 completions were thrown to seven different receivers, so it was really what worked the best.”
The Giants used the passing attack to jump out to a 13-0 lead after scoring on their first two possessions. A few costly BD penalties on defense during Center Grove’s subsequent drives allowed the Trojans to tie the game at 13, but a field goal at the end of the half put Ben Davis up 16-13.
Ben Davis recovered a fumble in the third quarter that resulted in a touchdown. In the fourth quarter there was no letup. The Giants intercepted a pass for a touchdown, and then on the ensuing Trojans possession, picked off Center Grove once more to set up a score and 37-13 lead.
“The biggest difference from the first four games to our last three games is turnovers,” Kirshner said. “Our first four games we had three takeaways. Our last three games we’ve had nine, and it’s setting us up in field position that has made our lives extremely easy.
“We’re playing better and smarter. We’ve always been physical, but we’re playing more intelligent and doing different things. We don’t make a lot of mistakes.”
With the win, Ben Davis improved to 5-2 overall, 4-1 in-conference. Center Grove and Carmel also have one conference loss. The Giants play Carmel in the regular season finale.
With a game against winless Lawrence North next on the schedule, the Giants are focused on winning out and taking at least a share of the MIC crown.
“Winning the conference is definitely a goal,” Kirshner said. “Winning the MIC is kind of like a state championship because it’s so good, but we haven’t thought about sectionals yet. We told them this morning, ‘This is what’s in front of us — take care of business Friday night and you get a shot at Carmel for a MIC championship, but we have to stay level-headed, grounded, and we have to keep working.’ We’re not good enough to take any days or weeks off.”