All phasers set to destroy as Stars trek to blowout victory over New Albany

BNL’s Memphis Louden celebrates with lineman Junior Arellano after scoring a touchdown. Louden guided the Stars to a 52-14 blowout victory over New Albany on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Set phasers to stun. Star Trek fans remember that famous line, Captain Kirk’s command to use non-lethal force. Bedford North Lawrence’s phasers were locked on a higher setting, its weapons did more damage than dazing or confusing, in a stunning blowout that was dominant in all aspects.

Coachspeak always includes the worn cliche about winning “all three phases.” Offense, defense and special teams. Want to see what it looks like? Check out BNL’s total dismantling of New Albany. The Stars trekked to a 52-14 runaway victory on Friday night, and each phase played a huge part in the destruction.

On offense, Cal Gates scored four times and Memphis Louden threw three touchdown passes. On defense, BNL allowed only two first downs until the insignificant last drive. On special teams, Ryker Hughes was a one-man weapon, while the Bulldogs struggled with the simple details. All systems were go as BNL posted its biggest winning margin in the series since 1978.

Which phase was the most impressive? Hard to differentiate. Coaches also love to talk about “complete team wins” and this qualified.

“We played really well in all three phases of the game,” BNL coach Derrick Barker said. “It was a great performance. Really proud of them.”

Let’s start with the offense. Gates rumbled for 87 yards rushing, and he caught two touchdowns while snagging three passes for 75 yards. Hughes made a fantastic catch in the deep left corner of the end zone, and the Stars scored 50-plus points for the first time since mauling Madison for 55 in 2018. They scored on six of their last seven drives and triggered the running clock with 7:54 left in the third quarter.

Don’t forget about the defense. New Albany went three-and-out (or four-and-out) on nine of its first 10 possessions. The Bulldogs had only 43 rushing yards until the second unit went 69 yards for the second touchdown. The first came after an interception gave New Albany a short field to navigate. New Albany quarterbacks combined to hit only 3 of 18 passes. Nothing worked.

And the special teams were special. Hughes, a hidden asset, pinned the Bulldogs inside the 10 twice with pinpoint punts, and he recovered his own onside kick to start the second half. Meanwhile, a bad punt snap and a muffed punt hastened New Albany’s demise.

BNL’s Cal Gates blasts through a hole in the defense. Gates scored four touchdowns.

“We put a lot of time and effort into special teams. It pays off,” Barker said. “We were able to get momentum early, keep it, take advantage of it and roll with it. That was awesome.”

The Stars (2-2 overall, 2-0 in the Hoosier Hills Conference) took the necessary next step toward defending its co-league championship with an early assault. Louden hit Gates with a 10-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to start the scoring midway through the first quarter, and New Albany’s response ended in disaster when punter Henry Dixon couldn’t cleanly field a bouncing snap and got buried at the 13 yard line. On the next snap, Louden blasted home – celebrating with lineman Junior Arellano hoisting him toward the heavens – for a sharp 14-0 lead.

While New Albany got plenty of practice to correct its punting problem, BNL took control. Gates broke off a 17-yard run to set up his own 3-yard burrowing score for a 21-0 advantage, and he took a Louden swing pass for 35 yards and a 28-0 lead on the next series.

New Albany (1-3, 1-1) got on the board when Dakota Johnson picked off a Louden pass at the 28. Chase Loesch crashed 11 yards (finally recording a first down) and later drove over from a yard out with 3:19 left in the half.

BNL’s Piaire Childs leaves a defender in his wake while finding open turf. Childs ran for 52 yards.

BNL’s next series ended innocently enough, but Hughes’ punt bounced off the turf and glanced off the intended returner, with Trace Rynders pouncing on the free ball. That led to Hughes 20-yard field goal on the final play of the half as the Stars went to intermission with a 31-7 edge.

Rather than be satisfied to stun, the Stars went for the kill shot in the second half. Hughes skipped an onside kick and recovered it himself. Three players later, Louden rifled a perfect throw to Hughes in the deep left corner of the end zone, and Hughes made a remarkable leaping grab over a defender while getting a foot inside the corner boundary.

The final two drives concluded with a Gates 2-yard touchdown run (following a 23-yard pass to Maddox Ray) and an all-Zach Brosamle drive of 37 yards that he capped with an 11-yard scoring run.

“Offensively, we did a really good job of utilizing all of our offense – short passes, deep passes, inside run, outside run,” Barker said. “Whatever we can do to get the ball in Cal’s hands, he seems to be better the more we give it to him.”

BNL’s Memphis Louden takes off for the end zone. Louden accounted for four touchdowns.

Louden was 7 of 18 passing (with a couple of drops in that total) and the two picks, but those were offset by the three TDs and his total yards (153 passing, 61 on the ground). “It doesn’t matter. Whatever wins,” he said.

“I’m not too upset about those,” Barker said. “He made really great decisions, kept his eyes downfield and made the big plays when he needed. He showed what he is. He’s a dual-threat quarterback. Really, he’s a triple threat, four-threat – whatever it is.”

On the flip side, New Albany was bogged down. Consider that last season, quarterback Kenneth Watson completed 10 of 11 passes against the Stars. This time, while he was questionable to play after suffering a hand injury last week, he was 1 of 8 for 4 yards, and Loesch was only 2 of 9 for 14 yards in relief. And those numbers were after BNL bottled up the running attack.

“They were going to run it,” BNL linebacker Kline Woodard said. “We focused on that.”

So in two weeks, the Stars have put the frustration of two tough road losses behind them. They’ve outscored their first two league foes 101-34.

“It’s good to win two in a row, especially in the conference,” Woodward said.

“We did what we had to do,” Louden added. “We knew we could win.”

BNL will visit Seymour, the other defending co-champion, next week. The Owls suffered a 50-47 shootout loss at Floyd Central on Friday night.

BNL’s Cal Gates hits the pylon while scoring a first-quarter touchdown.

New Albany 0 7 0 7 – 14

Bedford NL 14 17 14 7 – 52

First quarter

BNL – Cal Gates, 10 pass from Memphis Louden (Ryker Hughes kick) 7:05; BNL – Louden, 13 run (Hughes kick), 5:24

Second quarter

BNL – Gates, 3 run (Hughes kick) 9:54; BNL – Gates, 35 pass from Louden (Hughes kick) 7:38; NA – Chase Loesch, 1 run (Henry Dixon kick) 3:19; BNL – Hughes, 20 field goal, 0:00

Third quarter

BNL – Hughes, 24 pass from Louden (Hughes kick) 10:48; BNL – Gates, 2 run (Hughes kick) 7:54

Fourth quarter

BNL – Zach Brosamle, 11 run (Christian Curren kick), 11:15; NA – Damian Castillo, 2 run (Dixon kick) 3:07

Team statistics

NA – First downs 6 (5 by run, 1 by penalty); Rushing 33-97; Passing 3-18-0-18; Total yards 115; Fumbles 1 (lost 1); Penalties 3-28

BNL – First downs 18 (13 by run, 5 by pass); Rushing 39-244; Passing 8-19-2-162; Total yards 406; Fumbles 0; Penalties 5-60

Individual statistics

Rushing – (NA) Watson 5-4, Johnson 5-21, Kaiser 3-10, Dixon 1-(-10), Taylor 1-3, Loesch 4-15, Castillo 11-48, Shafer 2-4, Kidd 1-2; (BNL) Louden 9-61, Gates 12-87, Childs 7-52, Rynders 1-4, Brosamle 7-37, Gilbert 1-15, Kirby 2-(-11)

Passing – (NA) Watson 1-8-0-4, Loesch 2-9-0-14, Goodman 0-1-0-0; (BNL) Louden 7-18-2-153, Kirby 1-1-0-9

Receiving – (NA) Loesch 1-4, Rand 2-14; (BNL) Hughes 1-24, Gates 3-75, Short 1-13, Childs 1-18, Ray 1-23, Gilbert 1-9