Brandywine uses size to wear down Rangers

CASSOPOLIS — Size can make a difference, especially on the football field.

Visiting Brandywine used its size advantage on the offensive line to eventually wear down Cassopolis in a 30-24 non-conference win for the Bobcats over the Rangers Wednesday night.

The game moved up a day due to a shortage of officials.

Played in perfect weather conditions, Brandywine remained undefeated as it rallied from an 18-14 deficit in the third quarter by scoring twice in the final 12 minutes. The Bobcats also made just enough defensive plays against the speedy Rangers to hold on for the win.

“We wore them down,” said veteran Brandywine Coach Mike Nate. “It is a credit to the kids who worked hard and got themselves in the weight room starting in April. Our strength is starting to pay off. We just ran it between the tackles. The quarterback sneak was a big play. Quarterback Blake Krueger rose to the occasion again.”

The offensive line for the Bobcats, which consists of guards Wesley Marlin and Connor Sobecki, center Brock Vaughn, and tackles Bradley Huber, Jesse Marlin and Phil McLaurin, allowed running backs Ivory McCullough and Michael Palmer to put up big numbers for the second straight week.

McCullough finished with 147 yards on 22 carries, while Palmer added 61 yards on 11 totes. Krueger finished the night with 54 yards on the ground on 11 carries with a pair of touchdowns. His second touchdown gave the Bobcats (2-0) the lead [22-18] for good five seconds into the final quarter.

Brandywine would finish the night with 268 yards rushing compared to 179 for the Rangers, who dropped to 1-1 on the season. Krueger was 3-of-6 passing for 35 yards. Collin Bogue was 5-of-12 for 52 yards for Cassopolis.

After falling behind 8-0 after McCullough’s 14-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the Rangers used a 46-yard kickoff return by R.J. Drews to set up its first score of the night just 35 seconds later.

Jermaine Williams covered the final 15 yards for the touchdown, but Cassopolis failed on the conversion run. In fact, the Rangers would fail on all four of its conversion attempts.

Brandywine would extend its advantage to 14-6 when Krueger scored the first of his two quarterback sneak touchdowns, this one from a yard out with 10:18 to play in the first half.

Just when it looked as if the Bobcats were getting ready to pull away, Cassopolis came storming back with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns that gave the Rangers a 22-14 halftime advantage.

Cassopolis’ first touchdown came on a Reggie Hart 29 yard run with 5:32 left in the first half. The second score was a Bogue four-yard pass to Daishean Jamison as time expired in the second quarter.

Neither team found the end zone in the third quarter as the game went back and forth.

After Krueger’s touchdown run of seven yards to open the fourth quarter gave the Bobcats the lead for good, Anthony Calderon scored the final touchdown with 2:24 to play on a 1-yard run.

Cassopolis never gave up. The Rangers used another big kickoff return to set the night’s final score, a 20-yard pass from Bogue to Hart just 15 seconds later.

“It was a great win tonight,” Nate said. “We challenged them at halftime and they responded well. The defense picked it up, and that is the reason we won. The defense came through for us. They have speed and talent. It is a typical Cass team. The have a lot of weapons. We beat a good team, and we are happy about that.”

Carter Sobecki led the Brandywine defense with eight tackles, while McLaurin had seven. Palmer, Kevin Roberts Jr. and Gavin Schoff all finished with six tackles.

Nate added that his team will now get back to practice and prepare for Saugatuck next Friday night.

Offensively for the Rangers, who will continue its non-conference schedule as it will host Comstock, Williams finished the night with 84 yards on 13 carries. Jamison added 48 yards and Hart 45.

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