Bobcats 4-0 for first time since 1997Published 8:38am Saturday, September 21, 2013
Brandywine’s football team was outgained (287 yards to 195 yards) and had fewer first downs (16-9) in its Lakeland Conference game Friday against Bridgman.
But the Bobcats made enough big plays on offense, defense and special teams to defeat the Bees, 26-18, to improve to 4-0. Bridgman fell to 2-2.
“It was a hard earned win,” Brandywine coach Mike Nate said. “Bridgman played an outstanding football game. They gave us a challenge and we needed a challenge. It was a good conference win for us.”
A win wasn’t clinched for the Bobcats until a 1:00 left in the game when Brandywine linebacker Charlie Rodriguez picked off a pass thrown by Bridgman quarterback Daniel Koziel. The Bees had a 3rd-and-10 at the Bobcats’ 35-yard line when the pass was attempted. Rodriguez’s interception came at Brandywine’s 23-yard line. It’s the first career varsity interception for Rodriguez, who has been on the varsity for three years.
“I saw (Bridgman wide receiver Cooper) Mojsiejenko pointing toward the middle and I just cut back and saw the ball and it was right there,” said Rodriguez. “I give it all for my team. This was just a great night. Bridgman is a good team. They played hard and we played hard.”
Brandywine scored 13 points off of two Bridgman turnovers in the first half. Ken Laurita’s interception and 49-yard return gave the Bobcats the ball at the Bees’ 9-yard line. Three plays later, Marty Ward Jr. scored on a 2-yard run to give Brandywine a 7-0 lead almost two minutes into the game.
In the second quarter, Bridgman muffed a punt and Brandywine’s Hunter Janowiak recovered at the Bees’ 40-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Andrew Duckett scored on a 29-yard run to give the Bobcats a 13-10 lead with 5:14 left in the second quarter. A bad snap on the extra point forced a 2-point conversion pass, which failed.
Brandywine was outgained in the first half, 143 yards to 44.
Bridgman kicker Cooper Mojsiejenko missed a 55-yard and a 29-yard field goal in the first half.
“They had our (offensive) plays figured out,” Nate said. “Our defense bent, but didn’t break.”
Brandywine got a lift from its special teams to start the second half as Vinny Peel returned the second half kickoff 70 yards, giving the Bobcats the ball at the Bees’ 28-yard line. Brandywine turned that play into points as Ward scored on a three-yard run to give the Bobcats a 19-10 lead with 9:31 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed.
“I’ve got to give Vinny Peel a plus for what he did to start the second half,” Nate said. “We worked on that all week. We knew that Mojsiejenko was one of the best kickers around. He, sometimes, outkicks his coverage. That’s what happened on that play and we broke it.”
Ward’s 74-yard touchdown run extended Brandywine’s lead to 26-10 with 10:07 left in the game. Ward rushed for 132 yards on 17 carries.
“We simplified things (on offense),” Nate said. “The field is soft out here. We went north and south against them because we thought that was our best shot and we got it done.
“Jake Szilagyi, our left guard, opened up a big hole (on Ward’s run) and we thought we could get them with some quick hitters and we did. It broke their backs and made it a two score game.”
Brandywine, which came into the game outscoring its opponents, 125-8, is 4-0 for the first time since 1997.
“It feels good,” Nate said about his team’s start to the season.
Bridgman 0 10 0 8 – 18
Brandywine 7 6 6 7 – 26
BW – Marty Ward Jr. 2 run (Zach Schmidt kick)
BR – Cooper Mojsiejenko 13 pass from Daniel Koziel (Mojsiejenko kick)
BW – Andrew Duckett 29 run (pass failed)
BR – FG Mojsiejenko 29 field goal
BW – Ward Jr. 3 run (pass failed)
BR – Alex Mead 9 pass from Koziel (Koziel pass to Michael Krynicky)