By PETE SWANSON
Fpr the Daily Clarion
FORT BRANCH -- Gibson Southern football coaches said plenty of good about their team after Friday nights scrimmage with visiting Evansville Central, but the nights best news came before the Titans took to Jack Jewell Memorial Field.
Head coach Nick Hart became a daddy Friday afternoon when wife Christy gave birth to son Brady Michael Hart in Evansville's St. Vincent Hospital.
"Nick sent a text that Brady Michael was born at 4:35 p.m.," said associate head coach Brian Snow, who directed the Titans in Thursday's practice and then the scrimmage that was preparation for next Friday's season opener at Forest Park.
"Soon as I read Nick's text, I carried my cell phone into our dressing room and told our players, 'Hey! Coach Hart's a dad!," Snow recounted after the scrimmage. "Our players all cheered. Everybody was excited and very happy for the Harts."
"I knew at 11:30 Thursday morning that the birth was near when Coach Hart texted that he wouldn't be at practice because he and Christy were in the hospital."
Titans conditioning coordinator Jeff Sellers, father of graduated quarterbacks Nick and Isaac Sellers, came to the press box to announce the birth to fans shortly before the 6 p.m. game time. "Brady Michael is a Titan and his jersey is No. 12," said Sellers.
As they did last August, before posting an 11-2 record including a Class 4A sectional championship, the Bears outscored Gibson Southern, this time six touchdowns to three. Two of their touchdowns came in the scrimmage's junior varsity phase.
"We came out a little slow at the start, but once we quickened our tempo we had good rhythm and I like that," said Snow, cousin of former Mount Carmel and University of Evansville basketball coach Craig Snow, now head basketball coach at New Mexico Highlands.
"Defensively we were lights out. Our guys played physically and were flying around. We rotated our first and second units to get everybody some playing time, and we played well against a very good team."
It marked the first 11-on-11 scrimmage for freshman quarterback Brady Allen, who threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to junior Adam May and later a 9-yard touchdown pass to senior Dawson Witte. A few plays before the Witte touchdown, on the series starting at Central's 10-yard-line, junior Caleb Sellers scored on a 1-yard-run.
"I felt great out there. I wasn't nervous," said the 6-foot-4 Allen, to turn 15 next Saturday. "Playing with these guys is fun and we went against a great team. We got a lot tougher from playing them. Our first touchdown, Adam ran a great route and got open."
Snow lauded Allen for "a good job his first time under the Friday night lights. Brady had good poise. He threw some good balls, and when guys weren't open he didn't force things. He made good decisions. Witte made four or five catches and our younger guys played well."
West noted that "we didn't have a scouting report on Central, so we didn't know what our defense would face. Still, our defense played great. Lucas Plasse at outside linebacker played with a great motor. Logan Fauquher, Noah Singer, Ashby Henning and Macray Robinson in our defensive line had a good night."
Central, to open at Greenfield-Central, east of Indianapolis, scored three times on passes by returning quarterback Brennan Harper. Harper connected with Malcolm DePriest on a 32-yarder for the first touchdown, hit DePriest for a 10-yard score and found Jaylen Bowman on a 4-yarder. Brenna Schutte scored on a 10-yard sweep. The Bears' jayvee scores included a 19-yard run by Aboynhi Thompson.
"I'm pleased with how we played," said Coach Troy Burgess, who became Central head coach after Andy Owen became Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. athletic director.
"We're not the same team Central was last year (with the Evans brothers, including Southern Indiana Athletic Conference two-time rushing leader Tor'Jon Evans, who joined Tre'Jon and Tory at Princeton Community in track season before their dad became Decatur (Ill.) Eisenhower girls' basketball coach in summer).
"Last year's team was very explosive, capable of going 80 yards in two or three plays. We're a different team, but we competed well, played physically and got what we wanted from the scrimmage."
Burgess, who compiled a 95-74 record as head coach at Owen Valley, Greenfield-Central and South Putnam, before taking a four-year break from coaching to watch son Mason play four varsity seasons as a Plainfield wide receiver, called Gibson Southern "a nice team. Well-coached and they play hard. They gave us all we wanted. Allen will be good -- I'm glad we don't have to face him these next four regular seasons."
The night's most alarming news came after the scrimmage when Snow and his wife learned that Mount Carmel's Tastee Freez, where daughter and Mount Carmel junior Lexi works, was robbed. "Lexi texted us about that, but said it happened before she got to work tonight. And she's all right," Brian Snow said.