They say if you have your health, you have everything. Well, actually that was attributed to one Augusten Burroughs, I know you were just about to say that!
For the Wolverine football squad in 2022, that was especially true. While the team was healthy, in the early going of the campaign, things were fantastic. Once the injuries started piling up this year, the situation started to go sideways.
Despite all that, BR made it to Friday night’s semi-final contest in Pembroke where they fell short to the Dragons, 40-18. It was the final contest in a Wolverine uniform for: Maddox Day, Trent Sibble, Parker Worth, Dawson Little, and Jadon Bromley.
The game started out tremendously for BR. Kingston Loucks returned the kickoff to the BR 43. On the first play, Caden Allen rolled left and floated a beauty of a pass to Trevor Pforter who out paced the defense on his way for a 57 yard score. The two point try was unsuccessful, BR 6-0, 18 seconds into the game.
On Pembroke’s first series, they worked one first down, before having to punt it away. Defensive stops by Sibble, Maddox Davison, Zach Mitchell, Roman Johnston, and Pforter.
BR took over on their 23. This BR drive was not one to remember. During a big run by Sibble BR was flagged for a chop block. Then a false start, so rather than being out near midfield, the Wolverines were hemmed in at their own 13. Unable to make much headway, BR was forced to punt. Allen’s kick settling down on the 50.
It took but one play as the main Dragon eluded tackles in the middle of the line and skirted around the edge, going the distance. They shtoinked the PAT kick off the cross bar, 6-6.
MacDonell and Sibble traded runs as BR looked to be headed in the right direction on the ensuing drive. Unfortunately, the drive stalled on the Pembroke side of the 50. Allen’s kick rolled dead at the 15. BUT…… there was a flag dropped on the BR side for a big 15. Not sure what the call was for, but it had the potential to hurt.
The Wolverine D shook it off and came up big with a three and out, including a sack by Tavyn MacDonell for minus 6.
With time trickling down in the quarter, BR had a run by MacDonell and Allen to bring the ball to their 43. After they flipped things around, a penalty and a just missed incompletion forced BR into another punting situation.
After Allen’s punt rolled out at the Pembroke 38, BR once again stuffed them for three quick plays and a punt back from their own 44. The punt return by MacDonell was a beaut to the BR 48, meaning they netted 8 yards of field position!
MacDonell for 7 then Sibble for the same, first down BR. ON the next play, BR was once again flagged for a chop block, REALLY?!? Instead of 1st and 10 at the Dragon 38, BR was 1st and 24 from their own 48. A short Sibble run and completion from Allen to MacDonell for 6, left BR with a 3rd and 15. Another pass that “JUST MISSED” brought out the punt unit.
A few runs by the same Main Dragon kid, and then ZIP he was off to the races again for a score from 55 out. This time they kicked the PAT for the 13-6 lead.
BR looked to be working towards their own paydirt, in the waning moments of the half. Runs by Allen, MacDonell and Sibble produced two BR first downs. Another Allen run and a pass to McDonell was yet a third first down at the Dragon 30. From there though, BR just simply ran out of time to close out the half down by one score.
If you have followed the season via these recaps, you may have picked up on an unnerving trend regarding kickoffs. Well, that trend continued Friday evening and quite possibly was the beginning of the end for the boys. On the Second Half kickoff, BR tried the New Orleans in the Super Bowl trickiness with an onside kick. Unfortunately, all sorts of “Wait What” came into play. The ball didn’t go the necessary 10 yards, one ref threw a flag into the middle of the fray, no BR player touched the ball(thus negating the need for the flag), I swear I heard a whistle, several people standing around, the main kid for Pembroke scooped up the ball and ran untouched into the endzone. This sequence was followed by quite a bit of head scratching, cheering by the hoe faithful, chitchat amongst the referees, perhaps settling on a post game dinner stop(?), many others left thinking of the infamous NFL Films take of Vince Lombardi inquiring about the nature of the proceedings that were happening “out there”.
After maybe not all was said but things were certainly done, Pembroke lined up and kicked the PAT to extend their lead to 20-6.
Now, if that weren’t enough kickoff kicks, on the very next kick off, the Dragons kicked it deep but tried to keep it from the BR returner (who had started the game with a nifty 30+ yard haul). Well, the ball clearly had bounced on, and then, over the sideline and continued on its little journey towards Loucks. It should have been (but wasn’t) blown dead with the flag, but… Loucks not wanting a repeat of 8 seconds ago, attempted to pick it up, but in doing so, he stepped on the sideline, with the ball, at about the BR 6. For awhile, the refs were saying BR ball at their own six. After a chat with one (or more) of the BR coaching staff and I can only imagine how colorful parts of those conversations may have been, it was deemed that the ball had indeed been out of bounds (no DUH!) before Kingston made his try for the pigskin. So, long story short (too late!) BR got the ball at their own 35.
All of that and then yeesh, three and out. Allen punting to the Pembroke 30.
One short run, then ugh, 66 yards score by the SAME kid who had all the others! PAT good and within maybe two minutes of the half, the 7 point deficit ballooned to 21.
Next kickoff, for some reason they went for the “hot smash right at a guy on the front line” kickoff. Allen grabbed it in textbook baseball infielder fashion at the BR 49. Sibble went for 7, 1 then 5, BR first down. Incomplete, 5 from Allen, 22 grueling not going to go down yards from Sibble to the 9. MacDonell for 5, Allen, 3 and Sibble the rest BR touchdown. The two point try didn’t work 27-12, not us.
Another short kickoff, Pembroke started on their own 46. The D looked as if they were about to make a stand, as tackles from Allen, Pforter, Sibble and Brian Learn had the home squad looking at a 2nd and long. On that down the BR D Line crashed down so hard, that it left the right, offensive side just gaping WIDE open. The qb kept it going 40 for the score and a different name on the score sheet. The PAT was blocked by SIbble, 33-12 Dragons.
Another oddly short kickoff, again contained by Allen and returned to the Pembroke 45. MacDonell got 10 then Sibble for 5 to end the 3rd (thank goodness!) On teat final play of the 3rd, the home team did or said something that garnered 15 yards , so first play of the final stanza and BR was looking at first down inside the Dragon 15. Allen got five of the yards then MacDonell got the rest for the third BR score. Again, BR was unsuccessful on the 2 point try, 33-18…maybe?!
Pembroke used a big chunk of time with short runs before surrendering the ball on downs. A raft of Wolverines contributing on the defense. Sibble, Allen, Pforter, MacDonell, Mitchell, Davison, Day all getting in on stops. BR took over on downs on their own 17 with time on the clock and hope in their heart.
But that sentiment didn’t last long, as the Dragon defender made a fantastic break on the ball for the interception at the BR 43.
At this point, I assume sensing the inevitable, the BR coaches called timeout and started to clear the bench. And just like three weeks ago in Bolivar, that concept eluded the other coaching staff as they kept their starters in. Yep, you guessed it, one play and another score. As Brent Musberger has been quoted as saying (at least on the Bad Beats intro on ESPN), “there are some folks celebrating and other saying, you’ve got to be kidding me”
The PAT was good 40-18.
BR got the ball back and tried running with Calyn Todd, Logan Shreve, and Loucks not getting enough to earn a first. Another punt and a few kneel downs and the season concludes.
On the stat sheet, Sibble ran for 82 and a score. MacDonell for 67 yards and a score.
Allen threw 4 of 7 and a score. Pforter had 2 grabs for 66 yards and a score. MacDonell caught the other two.
Defensively I won’t even guess.
Well, that’s it for the 2022 year. A different kind of ball and a different way of doing things, left BR just short of grabbing their own piece of the rock.
Congratulations boys and coaches on an exciting season. The off season begins now, as they say.
Thank you, fans for the support!