Bucks hold off BobcatsPublished 1:07am Saturday, October 3, 2009
By TOM NYHUIS
Niles Daily Star
“We came to play and Buchanan knows that too,” Brandywine coach Mike Nate said following the 28-20 loss to Buchanan Friday night in high school football action.
“They are a good football team but we played our butts off tonight.”
Brandywine came back from a 28-7 deficit before falling short in the end.
“Our kids did just what they had to do to win,” Buchanan coach Joe Austin said after holding on for the victory. “We have to enjoy this for 24 hours and then get ready for Coloma.”
The win combined with a 29-26 win by Edwardsburg over Coloma leaves a four team log jam for the top spot in the Lakeland Conference with Edwardsburg, Coloma, Berrien Springs and the Bucks all at 3-1 in the league.
The first half could have spelled disaster for the Bobcats as they gave up 21 points and had four turnovers in the first 24 minutes.
Brandywine’s opening drive stalled and the Bobcats (1-5, 0-4) were forced to punt on their opening drive. Buchanan (3-3, 3-1) didn’t waste any time getting points on the scoreboard taking the ball 50 yards in eight plays into the end zone on a 16-yard pass play with Bryan Kuntz hitting Richie Reed at the goal line.
Thing didn’t look as if things were going to go well for the Bobcats as their next drive resulted in a interception by Marquis Tyler at the Bobcats 46.
Again Buchanan ran the ball into the end zone in seven plays with the first quarter coming to a close. Kuntz’s 1-yard plunge with 1:33 to play in the opening quarter the Bucks were looking to break the game open with a 14-0 lead.
Again disaster struck the Bobcats as they coughed up the ball for the third time in the game fumbling the ball back over to the Bucks.
This time the Bobcat defense made a stop forcing the Bucks to punt the ball away. This ignited the Bobcat offense as they responded with an 8-play scoring drive covering 63-yards capped off with a 9-yard touchdown strike from Stone Hadley to Jacob Frazier and trail 14-7 with 8:47 to play in the first half.
Buchanan’s offense fought back and extended the the lead back to two touchdowns taking their next drive 72 yards in five plays finished off with a 4-yard tote by Cordel Johnson. Ryan Catalano hit the third of his four point after kicks to up the Buck lead to 21-7.
The Bobcats again turned the ball back over on Hadley’s second interception of the night as Reed picked off the ball at the Bobcats 33. The Bobcat defense again made a stop on a fourth and two and the Bucks turned the ball back over to Brandywine at their own 40.
For the fourth time in the first half the Bobcats coughed up the ball with a fumble at the Bucks 34. Brandon Jackson made the recovery for the Bucks with :30 to play in the half. On the play Buchanan’s Nick Troxel was injured and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. The Bucks took a knee to end the half leading 21-7.
Buchanan opened the second half with a 12 play 68-yard scoring drive with Johnson picking up his second touchdown of the night on a 2-yard carry giving the Bucks a 28-7 lead with 8:19 to play in the third.
The Bobcats fought back on a 4-of-5 passing drive by Hadley, three going to Frazier for 73 yards, Hadley capped off the drive with a 31-yard scoring strike to Frazier to cut the Bucks lead to 14 with 4:04 to play in the third quarter.
After picking up a 12-yard gain putting the ball at the Bucks 18 Hadley had to leave the game with a left leg injury. Austin Bertschy took over for the Bobcats. Three plays later Bertschy hit Frazier for a 16-yard touchdown pass and after a failed run for the point after the Bobcats trailed 28-20.
Another defensive stop by the Bobcats gave the team one more shot to get even with the Bucks.
“That injury hurt, Bertschy stepped in for Hadley and did a great job as a sophomore. We just don’t have the depth. We’re building depth and our numbers aren’t great but we’re building depth and the team is coming around. Bertschy did a great job under adverse conditions, got a touchdown pass and kept us in the ball game. I’m very very proud of the team. I’m not happy with the loss and it is disappointing not to win. I don’t believe in moral victories but there was a lot of improvement out there and we are ready to play next week. We had a lot of positives and a lot of steps in the right direction,” Nate stated.
Brandywine moved the ball the to Bucks 39 but three plays for losses forced the Cats’ to punt the ball away with 4:38 to play. The Bucks would not let the Bobcats touch the ball again and held on for the eight point win.
“It’s a rivalry game and anything can happen and my hats off to Brandywine. Coach Nate and those kids played great. And that Frazier kid if that’s not a performance for the ages. We had two or three people on him and it didn’t seem to matter”, Austin said of the Bobcat comeback. “It was just a heck of a high school football game and we feel real lucky to get out of here with the win.”
Johnson powered the Buchanan running attack picking up 170 yards on the ground as the Bucks finished the night with 232 rushing yards. “Cordell just runs hard but they did plug us up a few times,” Austin said.Kuntz was 4-of-10 passing for 77 yards as Buchanan finished the night with 309 yards of total offense. On the other side it was the Bobcats finishing the night with 308 yards of offense with the two quarterbacks combining on 14-of-20 passing for 177 yards and two interceptions. Frazier caught 11 passes for 180 yards while the running game was held to 131 yards on the ground led by Jesse McCombs 76.
“He (Frazier) had his coming out party tonight with his three TD’s. He is something else and we have always known that and we saw it tonight,” Nate said.
Buchanan will travel to Coloma next week while Brandywine host Cassopolis on Friday.
Buchanan 14 7 7 0 – 28
Brandywine 0 7 7 6 – 20
B – Richie Reed 16 pass from Bryan Kunts (Ryan Catalano kick)
B – Kuntz 1 run (Catalano kick)
BW – Jacob Frazier 9 pass from Stone Hadley (Hadley kick)
B – Cordel Johnson 4 run (Catalano kick)
B – Johnson 2 run (Catalano kick)
BW – Frazier 31 pass from Hadley (Hadley kick)
BW – Frazier 16 pass from Austin Bertschy (run fail)