-- — The Batesville Bulldogs bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Milan Indians with a convincing victory over visiting South Dearborn.
The Bulldogs opened Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference play with a 41-19 win over the Knights.
“I feel we took a step in the right direction,” BHS head coach Eric Heppner commented. “We made some personnel changes and that is expected early in the season.
“We hope the pieces are starting to fit together,” he added.
The Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage and it was evident in the big running lanes and solid pass protection.
The ball carriers capitalized on the dominating line play and finished with a total of 293 yards rushing on 40 carries.
Matt Linkel led the way with 94 yards on 10 attempts, including a 59 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Linkel also scored the team’s second touchdown in the first period and the third from nine yards out in second.
Cody Reer took advantage of his new opportunity in the backfield and finished with 66 yards on nine carries. Reer scored twice – a 24 yard run to begin the scoring and later a 14 yard carry in the third quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Schuck gave the Bulldogs a lift with a more efficient night throwing the ball. Schuck was 7-of-10 for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Three different players caught balls from the BHS quarterback, but it was Mike Hoeing getting the bulk of the work. The senior wide receiver caught five passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were led by junior Colin Brown with 22 tackle points, which included five solo tackles, 10 assists and one fumble recovery.
Bo Gowan was second on the team with five solo and two assists, while Reer and Ethan Poettker were tied for third on the team with 10 total points. Reer also had one quarterback sack and a fumble recovery.
Heppner was pleased with the team’s effort, but not satisfied.
“We gave up 19 points and made some mistakes on offense ... there is still plenty to work on,” he commented. “Our best is still yet to come and that is encouraging.”
The Bulldogs travel to Monrovia on Friday before heading to St. Leon a week later to battle the Trojans.