Bridgman tops Brandywine for BCS Blue title
Published 10:56 pm Friday, October 16, 2015
On a chilly night, visiting Bridgman battled Brandywine for the championship of the BCS Athletic Conference Blue Division Friday night.
A pair of fourth quarter touchdowns allowed the Bees to string the Bobcats 34-26 to earn the championship and put a serious dent into the Brandywine playoff hopes.
A defensive battle dominated the first nine minutes of the game. Brandywine’s first three possessions ended with three punts, while Bridgman’s first offensive possession resulted in a mishandled snap and was recovered by Bobcat senior Nathan Hechtl.
Bridgman extend its second series of the game on a fourth-and-one conversion to the Brandywine 25. That conversion ended with the first score of the game on a 13-yard pass from Ryan Chang to Tylor Ruff gave Bridgman a 7-0 lead.
After having Brandywine’s number on defense in the first quarter, Bridgman’s defense finally cracked.
Brandywine senior running back Joshua Weise found an opening on the outside and scampered 32 yards for the Bobcats’ first score of the game.
The Bobcats then turned up the defense, which resulted in a big momentum swing.
Brandywine’s defensive line pressured Chang, who threw an errant pass, which sophomore Marquell Peterson intercepted.
However, the Bobcats were unable to generate any offense and were unable to convert on a fourth down attempt.
Bridgman’s next possession following the failed attempt ended up in it second score of the game as Chang found a hole in the middle of the Brandywine defensive line and ran 74 yards to give the Bees a 14-6 lead.
For the rest of the second quarter both team traded punches offensively and defensively.
Brandywine cut the lead to two following a 3-yard run from Weise and the Bees followed that up with a Ruff 84-yard kickoff return, making it 21-12.
Brandywine couldn’t get any offense going following the kickoff return and punted.
The Bees followed up the punt with their own struggles on offense and special teams.
A Brandywine blocked punt put the Bobcats at the Bees 5-yard line, the crucial play of the half.
Junior Vinnie Peel hauled in a 5-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Corbin Eckenberger to end the first half on a positive note.
Bridgman’s first offensive possession of the second half resulted in yet another interception for the Brandywine defense.
A tip by a Bee receiver was picked off by senior Zachary Grishaber, who took the ball into Bee territory. Brandywine was unable to take advantage of the interception and punted the ball away.
Bridgman was able to march the ball down the field while using nearly seven minutes of the third quarter, but a failed field goal attempt from junior Logan Peters gave the ball back to the Bobcats.
Following the unsuccessful attempt, Brandywine junior Austin Knapp pulled in a 67-yard pass (16th of his career) from Eckenberger. That touchdown reception tied Knapp with Matt Kidwell (1995) for the school record.
After three quarters, Brandywine led 26-21.
Bridgman started the fourth quarter with another time consuming drive.
With seven minutes left to go in the game, Ruff and Chang connected again, this time from 36-yards out to make it 27-26 in favor of the Bees.
Brandywine’s return possession yielded barely any offense and no score, subsequently punting back to Bridgman in hopes the defense can come up with a stop.
Bridgman was able to convert on two third down conversions, three total first downs and a 42-yard run from junior Julian Sheriff that made the score 34-26 with two minutes left in the game.
Brandywine was unable to score in their final series of the game.
BRIDGMAN 34, BRANDYWINE 26
Bridgman 7 14 0 13 – 34
Brandywine 0 18 8 0 – 26
BR – Tylor Ruff 13 pass from Ryan Chang (Logan Peters kick)
BW – Jeshua Weise 32 run (conversion failed)
BR – Chang 74 run (Peters kick)
BW – Weise 3 run (conversion failed)
BR – Ruff 84 kickoff return (Peters kick good)
BW – Vinnie Peel 5 pass from Corbin Eckenberger (kick blocked)
BW – Austin Knapp 67 pass from Eckenberger (Peel conversion)
BR – Ruff 36 pass from Chang (conversion failed)
BR – Julian Sheriff 42 run (Peters kick good)
Varsity records: Bridgman 7-1, 4-0 BCS Blue; Brandywine 5-3, 3-1 BCS Blue