CORRECTION: on the original recap, I inadvertently credited the first 2 point PAT to the wrong player, I have corrected it to the proper player.
The transitional nature of high school sports means that one can never tell how a program will go from season to season. Graduations, transfers, etc. lead to teams taking on very different personalities from one school year to another.
As such, BR took the field on a sultry Saturday afternoon playing for the first time under the rules of 8 man football. Numbers, or lack thereof, dictated the change. It’s still football, just a bit different. As they have done for as long as forever, the coaches and the team are working very hard to make this season successful. It seemed, though, the schedule makers were working against the Wolverines by having them face off versus a program that has been playing this version for a few seasons, and they have been quite successful. That would be Saturday’s opponent, the Red Jacket Indians. Adding to the small dilemma, BR had to take to the road, the very long road, to Shortsville to square off with Red Jacket.
All that aside, BR came home on the winning side of a 42-26 season opener. Yes, there were a few hiccups over the course of the contest, BR perhaps gave the future opponents something to mull over. As if I needed to tell the usual readers of this, the skill, character, and “heart” of this BR squad stood out and was commended by a few of the RJ faithful that I talked with following the contest.
Okay now, really, let’s get on to the game Saturday.
BR took the opening kick and a nice return of 24 yards by Zach Mitchell on the short kickoff had the Wolverines near midfield. I think I can safely assume that Canton will not be calling for film of the next sequence. Three negative plays had BR in punt formation and it got worse. Charles Millitello’s punt was brought back for 6 for the homeside. Their 2 point PAT attempt was thwarted by the BR D. A fine how do you do and welcome to the season, 2 minutes in, BR was down 6-0.
Fortunes quickly changed for BR. A better placed kickoff by Red Jacket had BR starting from their own 16. Ethan Coleman worked his way through the defense and tore off a 51 yard jaunt to the Red Jacket 33. Following a defensive offsides, Parker Worth, Caden Allen, and Worth again worked a first down for BR. A 6 yarder from Worth, another 5 from Coleman and Allen was able to go in for the score from 9 yards out. Allen flipped a rollout to Tavyn MacDonell for the 2 pointer to put BR up 8-6. Intel from the RJ announcer, this was the first time in a couple of seasons that they were behind.
The kickoff from Millitello had the ball back in the home team’s hands at their 30. They worked one first down despite good D from Mitchell, Allen, and Tavyn MacDonell. A penalty moved them back 5. A no gain tackle by Trent Sibble and a fine play by MacDonell forced RJ to punt. The ball rolling dead at the BR 23. A short run by MacDonell, and a 16 yard hookup Allen to MacDonell had the ball to the 40. A run by Worth and another by Allen ran out the first quarter. A completion from Allen to Trevor Pforter for minimal yardage put BR in 4th and 4 near midfield. They decided to go for it, though were unsuccessful turning the ball back at the BR 47.
Red Jacket worked out one first down on three short runs. However, they were stymied in gaining a 2nd first down as Sibble, stopped the RJ ball carrier short on a 4th and 4. Ball back to the Wolverines on their own 25.
A 9 yard pickup by Allen preceded a 66 yard scamper by Coleman for paydirt. The 2 point try was incomplete, BR 14-6.
Déjà vu all over again, Red Jacket picked up one first down but were stopped before getting a second. Solid plays by MacDonnel, Sibble, and Pforter aiding the cause. Pforter’s tackle for negative yards.
Another punt had BR’s drive start at their own 18 with time running short in the 2nd quarter. Runs by Allen and Worth ended the frame. BR still hanging on to the 14-6 lead.
Following intermission, Red Jacket started on their own 34. Run stuffs by Worth and MacDonell had them in a 3rd and 7 situation. A pass over the middle was picked off by Mitchell who made a nice return, but during the return (or after the play?) BR was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, backing them up to the Red Jacket 44.
A 12 yard burst by Coleman started the BR drive. A run stuff by the home side had BR 2nd and long. The defense was offside shortening that distance. Coleman went the final 25 for the score. Allen kept the ball with a big space in the defensive line for the PAT, BR 22-6.
Following the kick, the hosts started on their own 37. A 31-yard toss, flipped the field putting them in business at the BR 32. An incompletion, and short runs with tackles made by Allen and MacDonell and then Allen again turned the ball back to the good guys.
BR picked up one first down on the drive, runs by Allen and Worth doing the damage. Another sequence followed that certainly isn’t in the playbook. A no gain run, a short run, an incompletion and a false start on a 4th and doable, forced BR to punt. Like the first punt of the game, this one didn’t go as planned either. The punt was blocked and recovered by the home team at the BR 9. One play, one score. The PAT fell incomplete, so that was a good thing, BR 22-12.
The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Wolverines the ball on kind of a short field. Well, it became a short field as on 2nd down, Coleman went 66 yards for the score. Allen carried for the PAT, BR 30-12.
Red Jacket took over on their own 42. A run of 3 and a run of 8 gave them first down. A short run and a 22 yard toss had the hosts knocking on the door. A negative play by Sibble ended the third quarter. After the change of ends, one play, and BOOM Red Jacket is back in the game. A 21-yard td pass, with the PAT, BR 30-20 with all sorts of time left.
A play that I think I saw once from the college ranks a few years ago, Red Jacket was attempting an out of the ordinary kickoff, however, the ball was just barely grazed by the kicker, so I guess it was deemed an illegal onside kick. BR got possession at the spot where the ball was blown dead, which was the Red Jacket 40. Worth for 4 and Sibble for 7 gave BR first down yardage. Two runs by Coleman, 14 and 15 for the score. The PAT try was unsuccessful, BR 36-20 with still a sizeable amount of the 4th quarter to go.
Red Jacket could not get going on their next drive and a motion penalty didn’t help things, so they were forced to punt with the ball stopping at the BR 26.
Coleman for 6, but that got erased on the next play on a motion call. Worth got one of those back, Coleman picked up 4, BR facing a 4th and 4, they went for it. A 15-yard run by Coleman made it first down. The BR coaches ran a few fresh players out to hopefully finish things up. Millitello got 16 yards for a first down. A muffed center QB exchange turned the ball over to Red Jacket giving them a glimmer of hope.
Needing two scores AND both 2 pointers, with time running short, the home team took to the air on the ensuing drive. They connected on a couple of chunk plays to push the ball into the endzone. The PAT, that they dearly needed for a comeback was stuffed short, BR 36-26.
Clinging to the slimmest bits of hope, Red Jacket attempted an onside kick, which actually was a nice ball with the nice big hop, but Allen recovered it at the BR 48.
The home team still had timeouts to burn, so I assume BR ran a play rather than just taking a knee. Well, Coleman was off to the races again for 51 and the score. The PAT didn’t work, BR 42-26.
After the kick, Red Jacket barely got off a play before time ran out.
Allen had 27 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown, 2 PAT runs and a PAT conversion pass. Worth accumulated 28 yards on 8 runs. Coleman had a game, 309 yards on 13 carries good for 5 tds.
BR didn’t need to throw much, so Allen’s numbers a modest 3 for 4 for 24 yards. On the receiving end of those passes, MacDonell for 16, Worth for 7 and Pforter for 1. MacDonell catching the 2 point try.
Defensively, the stats are always better left confirmed by tape review from the coaches. But I had MacDonell with 8 stops, Sibble 7, one a sack, Allen with 6, Mitchell with 4 and the pick. Many other players not mentioned here also contributed to the victory. Hopefully we’ll get them a shout out down the road.
The Wolverines will be seeing Red Jacket again in October, as the season is bookended with a home and home.
In the interim, BR will break the seal on the new turf as they welcome the Wellsville Lions Friday at 7. An old time rivalry reborn. Parking could be at a premium. Long range weather says Friday might be a tad warm as well.