FORT BRANCH — Twice in Friday night’s first half the scoreboard clock malfunctioned, forcing officials to keep track of time on the field for several minutes. But Gibson Southern football men didn’t malfunction, instead staying unbeaten with a 62-0 Senior Night win over Tell City on Jack Jewell Memorial Field.
In raising their records to 8-0 on the season and 6-0 in the Pocket Athletic Conference, and their win streaks to 23 in the PAC and 29 in regular season since a 2014 Week 6 loss to Heritage Hills, the Titans scored on their first offensive play and the second quarter’s first play en route to a 42-0 halftime lead. After the defense forced a three-and-out on Tell City’s game-opening series, senior receiver Wes Obermeier turned classmate Isaac Sellers’ long pass into a 62-yard touchdown by breaking two tackles. Sellers threw two more TD passes, a 44-yarder to Obermeier on which the 6-foot-7, 235-pound Ball State recruit broke two more tackles late the first quarter, and a 45-yarder to junior Dawson Witte on the second quarter’s first play.
Senior Dylan Stefanich ran for four touchdowns — four yards midway the first quarter, five yards early the second, 14 yards two-plus minutes before halftime, and four yards 95 seconds into the third quarter on the last offensive series for starters.
Junior Cody Hupp broke a tackle to score on a 22-yard run midway the third quarter, shortly after the game went to fast clock, Freshman Logan Fauquher scored on a 15-yard run four-plus minutes before the finish. Senior soccer player Bryce Williams, after missing two games due to injury, kicked seven extra points as the Titans, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A by The Associated Press and No. 2 by the Indiana Football Coaches Association, tuned up for next Friday’s PAC showdown at 2A No. 4 Southridge.
“This was pretty good. We came out and executed pretty well, especially on our first offensive play,” Coach Nick Hart said after his 64th win around eight losses in six seasons. “We called that deep pass right away because on film we saw something that we liked. Isaac threw a great ball. Wes made a great catch and broke a couple tackles. Isaac made a good decision on where to throw the ball. That’s the No. 1 thing with Isaac. He makes good decisions so consistently that you’re shocked when he doesn’t,”
“It felt great to come out here on Senior Night with my brother Caleb (sophomore who subs at linebacker and tight end). And with all my teammates,” the 18-year-old Sellers said. “Wes is a heckuva player. He has a great frame, but it’s not just his frame. He has excellent football ability and he’s smart.”
Hart said Obermeier “has increased his speed,” and the 18-year-old who can play both tight end and wide receiver credited others. “Coach Sellers put us through great speed workouts in summer,” Obermeier said, referring to strength and conditioning coach Jeff Sellers, father of Nick, Caleb and oldest son and former all-state quarterback Nick.
“Our first play, their safety went with Nic (fellow receiver Nic Maurer). Then he came back to me. But Isaac put the ball on the money.
“It’s awesome to come out here on Senior Night in front of everybody who has supported you through 12 or 13 years of football.”
Stefanich, after posing for pictures with family, including dad and former Gibson Southern Coach Rick Stefanich, calls Senior Night “definitely exciting. It felt great. I’m trying to soak in every minute since we seniors don’t have a lot left in our careers.
“Our offensive line does a great job. They make my job easy,” said Stefanich, referring to tackles Ryan Sensmeier and Zach Nurrenbern, guards Jess Robinson and Noah Singer and senior Grant Holzmeyer, plus frequent subs Jacob Cox and Kirk Odom.
Sellers called the O-line “really good. Some of my best friends are on the offensive line. ” Hart lauded Stefanich as “a wonderful running back. And our offensive line is phenomenal. It’s the best offensive line we’ve had here. They do a great job of locking up opponents.
“Another thing is that all three receivers — Wes, Nic and Dawson — got open.”
One Sellers completion, on the play before Stefanich’s fourth touchdown, went to senior sub Logan Lewis for an eight-yard gain. It marked Lewis’
second catch this season and his first in a varsity game at Jack Jewell. Witte quarterbacked the drive capped by Hupp’s TD, and sophomore Seth DeLong the drive on which Fauquher scored.
“Making a catch at home, especially on Senior Night, feels great,” said Lewis, a 5-10, 150-pounder. “Coach Hart said at halftime that I’d get into the game. Not only is it great to make a catch here, it’s been a great experience to be part of this team. The guys are a great bunch.”
DeLong’s only pass became an eight-yard completion to sophomore Adam May. On the night’s next-to-last play, sophomore defensive back Cole Greenwell recovered a Tell City fumble.
For a moment it appeared junior cornerback Andrew Smith turned a second-quarter interception into a 95-yard Td return. But a block-in-the-back penalty nullified the score and forced the Titans to go on offense as the visitors’ 36. Stefanich’s third touchdown came six plays later.
“Gibson Southern is just a very good team,” said Tell City Coach Josh Teague, whose Marksmen, outgunned 508 yards to 182, fell to 2-6 and 1-5 records to take vs. visiting Forest Park, before opening 2A sectional play vs. state-ranked Evansville Mater Dei.
“Sellers and Stefanich are really good and their offensive line is really big. Their defensive line is really good, especially Kalob Stuessel and No. 50,” Teague said, referring to senior Devon Montgomery, who in pre-game ceremony joined Hart in presenting a plaque to grandfather Larry Montgomery for 20 years of service to Gibson Southern football, including chain gang work. Halftime ceremony included recognition of Titan Youth Football League players who posed along the western sideline.
Sellers completed 12 of 13 passes for 225 yards without interception. Obermeier caught three for 109 yards, Witte three for 60, Maurer two for 19, Ben Butler two for 17. Stefanich’s 13 rushes brought 113 yards, Hupp five for 56, Butler three for 34, Fauquher four for 30,, Sellers two for 20.
Tell City’s best scoring chance came the first quarter while trailing 14-0. Junior quarterback Dustin Hunt, who several times scrambled for plus yardage after seemingly trapped, scrambled on fourth down for 19 but was stopped inches short of first down at the Titans’ 7. Sellers, asked how good Hunt, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 115 yards and gained 45 yards on 14 rushes, would be with Gibson Southern’s offensive line ahead of him, replied:
“Oh my! I think any quarterback would be good with my guys in front of him.”