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ON THE ROAD TO PARADISE — Fresh off its 28-0 domination of Evansville Mater Dei, the 1982 Castle Knights would welcome county rival Boonville to Paradise. The Pioneers also entered the game 1-0, following a 34-0 pummeling of the Washington Hatchets — a win that brought Boonville a ranking of 14th in its AA classification.
The Knights punched it in twice in the first quarter (a nine-yard-run by senior running back David Brosmer and a 29-yard pass from senior quarterback Mike Davis to junior end Joe Huff) to take an early 14-0 lead.
A flurry of knockout punches would come in the second quarter. A repeat performance 11-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Huff would give the Knights a 21-0 lead early in the quarter. Two three-yard touchdown runs by junior running back Chris Brosmer would give the Knights a commanding 35-0 lead halfway through the quarter. A 25-yard interception return by senior linebacker Rodney Russell would give the Knights a 42-0 halftime lead.
The Knights would add 10 more points in the third quarter thanks to a five-yard touchdown run by senior running back Joe DIllman and a 26-yard field goal by senior kicker Matt McDowell for a 52-0 lead.
The stat sheet was just as overwhelming as the scoreboard. While the Knights gained 23 first downs and 400 yards in total offense, Boonville gained four first downs and 35 yards in total offense. Davis threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while Boonville could only manage 31 yards in the air.
“Yeah, we really slacked off there,” Coach John Lidy chuckled.
After two games, the Knights had outscored their opponents 80-0.
Next up on The Road to Paradise: the Evansville Harrison Warriors.
It would be on the basketball court that the simmering Boonville-Castle rivalry would first be inflamed as the 1960s began. A 60-50 defeat of Boonville helped power the inaugural Castle basketball team to a 10-7 record and a chance to repeat Newburgh’s sectional title the season before. Boonville wasn’t about to easily allow that to happen against this upstart, especially with the sectional being played in the Pioneers’ new 4,200-seat gymnasium, a half-scale model of the University of Evansville basketball stadium.
Both teams made it through their sectional draws to meet in the Saturday night championship match, where a crowd of 3,500 spectators watched a nip-and-tuck battle and a late charge by Castle fall just short in Boonville’s 44-39 sectional championship victory.
In the following melee of a celebration, salt was added to the festering Castle wound when a group of Boonville players grabbed the Knights’ six-foot-tall paper Mache mascot from the Castle cheering section, dragged it to mid-court and speared it with its own lance. The Boonville-Castle rivalry had just kicked into high gear.
The rivalry would transfer to the gridiron as well.
Following a 13-6 loss to the Huntingburg High School Hunters, the 1-5 Knights would line up against the Pioneers, who weren’t having a glorious season either, coming in with a 1-7 record. But Boonville had a history to fall back on, having first fielded a football team way back in 1929.
An estimated 1,000 fans watched the history-making beginning of an overheated football rivalry at Boonville’s Hemenway Field. The game marked the first time in 56 years that the Pioneers would meet another Warrick County foe on the gridiron.
Boonville’s sloppiness, rather than Castle’s impressiveness, prevented the score from getting any worse than the 19-7 final. Despite two impressive touchdown runs by Pioneers sophomore Alan Per, Boonville dropped a number of passes and had two touchdowns called back because of penalties.
A creature of habit, assistant coach Jerry Sims believed in repetition upon repetition upon repetition in preparing his teams, often driving the players bonkers by requiring them in practice to run the same play over and over again until he got the consistent results he was seeking.
In practice one day, Sims had his players repeatedly running the Blast 32 play — a run up the gut that the players had been running as a team for years.
“Run it again!” he’d bellow if he saw even the smallest mistake. “Run it again!”
On a lark, Davis told his teammates in the huddle that after they ran the play forwards he wanted them to immediately run it backwards. To please Sims, they ran the Blast play again and as they stopped at the end, Davis yelled “hut” and the entire team ran it backwards through their previous pathways and back to their starting point.
“You’ve got to see this,” he said.
“Run it again!” he ordered his team. The team ran the play forwards and backwards to the entire coaching staff’s delight. Whenever the coaches would have a guest come to practice after that, Sims would direct his team to show off the backwards play.
“We’d run those plays so many times over the years that we could do them in our sleep,” Davis said. “We didn’t think about the importance of that kind of thing then, but when you’re in tough situations and tough games, you don’t have time to think; you just have to do it. Through repetition, he wanted to make those plays so natural for us that they came natural to us.”