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Wabash County Sports

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Outside The County-Maconaquah


Results from Maconaquah for Friday, August 18th

The Maconaquah Braves opened their 2023 football campaign at Southwood Friday night by defeating the Knights, 40-27.

The Three Rivers Conference victory over the defending league champs was Maconaquah’s first win at Southwood since 1974 and the first over the Knights since joining the TRC in 2015. The Braves now lead the overall series, 11-7-1.

“I’m really proud of the kids effort,” noted Braves head coach Tyler Campbell following the contest. “It was a little sloppy, but that can be expected in Week 1. We need to be a little more efficient on offense.”

Looking ahead to the Braves home debut next week, Campbell said that the 16th-ranked (IFCA poll) Knox Redskins would present a “bigger challenge” and his troops would need a great week of practice. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools and a homecoming of sorts for Knox coach Russ Radtke. He will be returning to MHS for the first time since beginning his Hall of Fame career as a Brave assistant in 1976. He has 389 career wins, second-most in Indiana high school football history.

Playing before a standing-room only, overflow Maconaquah crowd the Braves fell behind, 7-6 with 4:27 left in the first quarter. Mac quarterback Braxton Birner teamed up with Fuddy Kile on a 20-yard TD pass on the Braves second possession to start the high-scoring affair.

Kile’s 67-yard reception late in the quarter moved Mac to the Southwood four-yard line setting up the go-ahead score. Kile took a quick toss from senior Kaleb Shelton and the Braves never looked back. A Birner-to-Shelton 72-yard scoring strike closed out the opening act scoring. Freshman Nolan Tarrh’s first of four perfect PAT kicks gave the Braves a 19-7 lead.

Mac's opportunistic defense set the tone early, recovering three Southwood fumbles in game's first three-and-one half minutes.  By the end of the game, the Mac havoc had forced seven Knight turnovers, leading to 27 points for the victors.  AJ Kelly and DJ Elliott each had a pair of interceptions, while Carsten Hollars (2) and Marcell Sims (1) scooped up Knight fumbles.  Unofficially, Austin Ringeisen and Hollars topped the tackle charts with eight stops apiece, while Shelton added six.

After the Braves took a 26-7 lead to start the second period on a Birner-to-Kile 80-yard TD bomb, Southwood scored on its final two possessions to close the gap and make things interesting, 26-21, at intermission.  

Unofficially, Birner would finish 20 of 32 on the night, good for a school-record 399 yards.   He now has 5133 passing yards in his stellar career.  Kile's three-TD night tied a school record he tied last year.  He finished with nine catches and 208 yards, third-most in school history and now stands eighth on Mac's career-scoring list with 138 points passing Jim Ridenour, Eric Mills and Alan Mills.

Southwood’s only scoring threat in the third quarter ended when Elliott nabbed his second interception at his own eight yard line. The Braves marched 92 yards in seven plays to take a 33-21 lead on a Birner three-yard TD plunge up the middle with 5:36 showing. The key play in the drive was a 46-yard pass from Birner to Tarrh. Joey Butcher, Cody Miller, Zaiden Butler, Chris Mitchell, Jacob Isley and Isaac Pearce manned the trenches in the record-setting night and paved the way as Birner followed his teammates to paydirt.

Kelly set up Maconaquah’s final score when he leaped high and came down with a Knight pass to start the final stanza. With Shelton, Kelly, Elliott and Tarrh all on the receiving end of Birner passes, the Braves marched 56 yards in 2:20 and watched their lead balloon to 40-21, before the hosts ended the high-scoring game with a TD pass in the last five minutes. Elliott’s dazzling 27-yard tight-rope catch keyed the seven-play scoring drive. Maconaquah finished with school-record 403 yards passing on the night after throwing for 260 in the first half.

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