UPDATED: Bobcats ride emotional wave to win over River Valley

Published 10:45 am Saturday, September 15, 2018

NILES — Brandywine received extra motivation prior to its 56-14 win over the River Valley Mustangs Friday night.

Searra Inman, a Brandywine senior who was paralyzed in a July automobile accident, led the team onto the field as the Bobcats improved to 2-2 in the 2018 season.

Brandywine Coach Rex Pomranka yelled, “take us out Searra,” as Inman wheeled through the team banner on the track before the team sprinted behind her onto Selge Stadium.

Inman, who played soccer and wrestled for Brandywine, said it was an amazing experience.

“I was trying really hard not to get too emotional,” Searra said. “Being able to come out here after being in the hospital for so long and still being able to support my teammates as much as they support me — it is just an amazing experience.”

If that was not enough, the team also got a boost from a new tradition. After coming down the hill next to the field, dubbed “Bobcat Hill,” the players and coaches touched “Nate’s Rock,” a large rock placed outside the field in honor of longtime Brandywine super fan Nate Clark, who passed away last fall.

Clark, a 1980 Brandywine graduate, was a fixture of Brandywine athletics, attending games and keeping stats for more than three decades.

“It was very emotional and also it really fired the team up,” said Brandywine Head Football Coach Mike Nate. “That was something special. The Nate Clark rock and Searra were really motivating factors for helping get this team ready to play. They don’t even know how much that helped the team play. We appreciate that, and it was a great night.”

Just a few minutes after the emotional beginning, junior Jordan Abrams put Brandywine on the board with a three-yard touchdown run. The Bobcats added three more scores on runs of 64 yards and 19 yards — both from sophomore Robert Gordon — and 63 yards from junior Shane Brown to give the team a 28-0 advantage at halftime.

Gordon finished with three touchdowns, including a 22-yard scamper in the third quarter. Abrams added a 25-yard touchdown run in the third, while juniors Conner Janowiak and Brock Prenkert also scored with runs in the second half.

Sophomore Gabe Gouin made arguably the defensive play of the game when he recovered a fumble from River Valley senior Joey Schmidt midway through the third quarter. Schmidt appeared to be on his way to a touchdown when Gouin, who was trailing from a good distance, caught Gouin from behind and caused him to drop the ball.

The Bobcats, who had 415 yards of total offense and did not attempt a pass play, were not stopped on offense the entire game.

“When you do that you will put a lot of points on the board,” said coach Nate. “The defense for the most part played pretty well. They bent, but they didn’t break. They also forced a couple of key turnovers that helped out a lot. I think overall the team is improving and that is what we have to strive to do, to get better every day.”

Gordon rushed for 170 yards on eight carries while Abrams had 107 yards on nine carries.

River Valley had 327 yards of offense and got touchdowns from Schmidt and senior Josh Clark.

The Bobcats will host Lake Michigan Catholic this week.