NASHVILLE — Brown County senior quarterback Dillon Boknecht wasn’t going to let his team go down without a fight.
But Boknecht’s four touchdowns in the second half weren’t enough to put away Charlestown (8-3) and its strong rushing attack. The Eagles fell 41-24 in the Sectional 31 semifinals.
Trailing 28-0 going into the second half, Boknecht finally got the offense going with a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Luke Huls for 22- and 4-yards. That cut the Pirates’ lead to 28-12 in the third quarter.
Brown County took a shot after Huls’ second touchdown catch with an on-sides kick, but it was recovered by Charlestown at the Eagles’ 47.
The Pirates’ running game picked up where it left off and they scored on a 32-yard run by Eli Daniel to extend the lead to 35-12.
Boknecht took command yet again for the Eagles, throwing a 27-yard pass to Alex Cade early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 35-18.
After a quick three-and-out by Charlestown, Boknecht connected to Huls yet again for a 20-yard strike up the middle to put the Eagles down 35-24.
Defensive back Alex Ercoli kept the momentum going for the Eagles defense immediately with less than six minutes remaining in the game, stripping the ball from Pirates’ tailback Matt Myers, putting the Eagles in scoring territory.
With the ball at the Pirates’ 33, Boknecht was unable to complete any passes downfield and Eagles kicker Collin Graeber attempted a long field goal, but came up short, and that gave the ball back to Charlestown.
The Eagles finished its season 6-5.
Brown County coach Ethan Schreiber said the little mistakes by the Eagles proved costly in the end.
“It wasn’t our best performance,” Schreiber said. “We had a lot of guys make mistakes, and we couldn’t make up for the rushing attack (Charlestown) put on us.”
Boknecht finished the game with 204 yards through the air with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
While the offense for Brown County was in command in the second half, the Eagles defense was haunted most of the night by Charlestown quarterback Tate Boley.
But it wasn’t Boley’s passing that was hurting them, it was his rushing.
Boley accounted for 180 yards rushing for the Pirates, and rushed for three touchdowns, while Eli Daniel and Matt Myers each scored on the ground as well.
Schreiber said the season was better than expected after a slow start.
“I think we exceeded a lot of expectations, compared to how the beginning of our season went,” Schreiber said. “To start where we were and to be where we are at now really says something about our team.”
With Boknecht and top tailback Billy Pruitt leaving after this season, Schreiber said the youth must show its toughness next season.
“Our seniors showed leadership, and showed the team a lot of things all season in order to be successful.” Schreiber said.
“I told the younger guys that it wasn’t the end, it’s the beginning.” Schreiber said “They have a big hole to fill with the older group that’s leaving us.”