High School Sports
Ben Davis in search of ninth state championship, immortality
With each passing week, the Class 6A No. 1 Ben Davis Giants look more and more like a team that could go down as one of the best ever in Indiana.
Any comparison starts with the 1991 Giants who won the 5A title and were named AP national champions, believed by many to be tops all-time in the state. Through six games, that squad beat its opposition by an average of 49.9 to 7. In its 6-0 start this season, BD holds a 49.3 to 15.3 advantage.
Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner recalls that ’91 BD powerhouse, from being on the wrong end of a 38-6 beating.
“I remember that year well, because I was coaching at Warren Central and we were trying to stop them, which was almost impossible,” Kirschner said.
Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and 6A titles are the obvious goals this season, but this group also wants to earn its place on a higher plane of recognition.
“That’s what they’re after,” Kirschner said. “They understand the tradition here – eight state titles and two runners-up, all the wins since the ‘80s, and they want to make their own mark so people look back and talk about them.”
With three regular-season games and the postseason remaining, Mr. Football is a one-man race. No one is better than dual-threat quarterback and Indiana-commit Reese Taylor, currently one of eight Giants with a Division I offer. Taylor has completed 75 percent of his throws for 1,483 yards and 19 touchdowns, while racking up 318 yards and seven scores on the ground.
“We’ve had some good quarterbacks here, and he’s setting a new standard for everybody else to follow,” Kirschner said. “He’s a very unique athlete and very gifted young man.”
Following a line led by center David Morris, Ben Davis is averaging 8.4 yards per carry as a team, paced by Johnny Adams, who has 685 yards and 10 TDs on just 64 carries (10.7 avg.). Broc Thompson leads all receivers with 34 catches for 520 yards and five scores.
Defensively, linebackers Sir’Zion Dance (51 tackles) and Keilan Laws (41 tackles) are all over the field; DBs Jontae Dobson (30 tackles) and Elijah Ball (19 tackles) lock down on receivers; and end Willie Ervin (23 tackles) has the most experience and athleticism up front.
This week brings a familiar foe in Carmel (4-2), which holds a 3-1 edge over the Giants since 2014.
“They look like they always do – they don’t mess up, they’re really well-coached, they run the ball extremely well, they have a very good quarterback (Jake McDonald) who shredded us last year, they have a great front 7 and their kicking game is the best we’ve seen,” Kirschner said. “We’ll have our hands full. It’s typical MIC. Every time out brings a different challenge.”