By Travis Miller
Just two weeks ago, Brownsburg was celebrating and Zionsville was trudging off of a muddy field as the Class 5A No. 7 rated Bulldogs clinched the Hoosier Crossroads Conference championship at home with a 14-0 win over the Eagles.
Now it was the Eagles’ turn.
Parker Dunshee kicked a 20-yard field goal with 13 seconds left to stun the Bulldogs (9-1) 19-17 in the opening round of IHSAA sectional play.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” said Dunshee of the play, where Zionsville had to rush its kicking unit on the field. “I didn’t know if we were going to run a play or what and then with about 10 seconds left on the play clock I saw they were rushing the field goal unit on and I was like, ‘alright.’ This was a hurdle for us after not winning a sectional game the last two years.”
Dunshee’s kicked capped a wild fourth quarter that saw Brownsburg erase a 16-3 deficit and saw Zionsville question an earlier decision to go for two after its second touchdown, but fail on the attempt. The winning drive was a 16-play, 71-yard drive in which the Eagles twice converted on fourth down.
First, Dunshee converted a 4th-and-2 situation with a five-yard pass to Chris Mason at the Brownsburg 40 yard line. Four plays later, after a bad snap backed the Eagles up to 4th and 16, Dunshee heaved a long bomb to receiver John Naumcheff, who went up between two defenders and hauled in a 38-yard jump ball. Brownsburg had committed a defensive hold on the play, but Naumcheff’s catch gave the Eagles a first down at the Brownsburg seven yard line with just more than a minute to play.
“Our kids fought hard and had the resiliency to come back and take the lead like we talked about,” Brownsburg coach Brett Comer said. “You have to give our kids credit for fighting through that. They just made a play, that’s the bottom line. They had a kid make a play and we didn’t.”
Naumcheff’s catch was his fourth big play on a night where he had 126 yards on only three catches, but scored a pair of touchdowns. He put Zionsville in front 7-3 with 2:24 left before halftime when he hauled in a 77-yard touchdown catch from Dunshee.
For more of this story, read Saturday's Lebanon Reporter.