The Horseshoe Classic presented by the Indianapolis Colts was loaded with talent. After Mooresville beat Lebanon 35-7, the Brownsburg Bulldogs topped the Ben Davis Giants 33-22 for the third-straight season, kicking off the 2021 campaign 1-0.
“It feels honestly amazing,” Brownsburg quarterback Jayden Whitaker said. “a lot of people had doubts about this team and what we could be. We wore that with a chip on our shoulder hopefully we can carry this momentum into next week.”
The game’s opening minutes were eventful. On the second play of the game, Whitaker struck pay dirt, scoring on a 50-yard touchdown carry. Things looked bleak for the Giants when Jeremiah Clayton picked off J’Uan Swanson to set up the Brownsburg offense with good field position. But a forced fumble and scoop and score from Ben Davis’ Dalijah Marks tied the game at 7-7.
Swanson connected with Dillon Moore, a Western Michigan commit, for an 11-yard touchdown in the early minutes of the first quarter. A two-point conversion attempt was good, giving the Giants a 15-7 lead. The Bulldogs forced a three-and-out and re-took possession. On a crucial play, Whitaker hit Caleb Marcus on a screen under heavy pressure, with Marcus catching and running it to the 20. Rashon Myles, a recruited safety prospect who also contributes on offense, had back-to-back carries, the latter of which resulted in a one-yard touchdown.
“We knew they were an experienced team looking to beat us so we stuck to our gameplan to follow the big guys up front and run the ball,” Whitaker said.
Whitaker connected with junior wide receiver Matthias Pilkington on a 29-yard touchdown over the middle of the field with 3:36 to play in the first half, retaking the lead 20-15. Ben Davis was threatening to close the half, with Swanson connecting with Destin Beauchamp to set the Giants up with good field position. But a bad snap, coupled with an interception by Brownsburg’s Chris Runyon, stalled the series.
Brownsburg’s Keegan Moore recovered a fumbled handoff in the third quarter. The Bulldogs cashed in, first with Caleb Marcus, a high-quality recruit, carrying the ball to the 5 yard-line. A few plays later, Whitaker struck again with his legs, this time going airborne over the goal line for an 11-yard rushing touchdown, giving Brownsburg a 27-15 lead. A pair of field goals from Spencer Porath sealed the win in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly it’s a dream come true,” said Whitaker of playing at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I look to be back here with this same team come November, but the environment of this stadium is unreal.”
Whitaker finished with 11 carries for 96 yards and had three touchdowns. Marcus had 21 carries for 93 yards and two catches for 36 yards.
Both teams will return home in Week Two, with Ben Davis facing Avon and Brownsburg facing Indianapolis Cathedral.