Coming off a dominating performance against Campbell County, the Western Brown Broncos football team looked to continue that success against another non-league opponent when the team travelled west to take on the Harrison Wildcats.
The trip didn’t end well for the Broncos. Harrison rode three first-quarter touchdown runs to a quick 21-0 lead and never looked back, thumping the Broncos 63-14.
Head coach Don Sizer said his team had chances throughout the game that his team, for one reason or another, could not capitalize on.
“They say there were about six plays that determine a game,” Sizer said. “We made tally marks today for plays that didn’t go our way or we just didn’t do our job on and there were about 15 plays that we didn’t do the right thing and really did badly or they did the right job against us. That was the main thing, they were good but we did not execute.”
Things started poorly on the opening drive for the Broncos defense. The Wildcats returned the opening kickoff to the Bronco five and scored two plays later on an Alex Anderson five-yard run. Gerald Smith did the scoring on the next drive for Harrison, scampering 65 yards for the team’s second touchdown. Mitchell Hogue sprinted 39 yards with 5:04 left in the quarter for the team’s third score.
Hogue added two passing touchdowns in the second quarter and Anderson added another touchdown run in the third before the Broncos finally got on the board. Quarterback Chaiten Tomlin hit Eean Hornung with a 58-yard strike to break the shutout. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Smith struck for the Wildcats, returning the ball 65 yards for the touchdown.
Anderson added his third touchdown run of the game with 48 seconds left in the third quarter, pushing Harrison’s lead to 56-7. Hornung would catch another touchdown for the Broncos late in the fourth quarter, his ninth touchdown reception of the season. He’s tied with Elder’s Nick Hall for second-most in the area, one behind Lebanon’s Cody Brown. Teammate Wyatt Fischer has eight touchdown grabs, good for third.
Fischer hauled in just two passes for 48 yards in the game while Hornung caught four balls for 68 yards and his two touchdowns. Eli Crall and Carson Eyre each had two receptions for 11 and 30 yards, respectively.
Tomlin completed less than one-third of his passes, finishing 11-27 for just 157 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions, and his team finished the game with five turnovers and no takeaways. Sizer attributed the team’s mistakes with the ball to one major problem.
“Lack of execution,” Sizer said. “The two fumbles, we were being tackled to the ground and we fumbled. The two interceptions happen when you throw the ball that much. We had a kickoff that we didn’t cover and they recovered on our three-yard line. There’s no excuse for that.”
Tomlin also carried the ball 20 times for 136 yards, both of which are season-highs. Sizer credited offensive coordinator Jeff Essig for adjusting the team’s gameplan on the fly.
“They were trying to take away the pass and left that open,” Sizer said. “Coach Essig does a great job saying OK, if they’re going to take that away then we’ll take the easy six, seven yards.”
Another silver lining for the Broncos: the team’s lack of penalties. Western Brown had just one flag for five yards while Harrison was flagged 10 times for 105 yards.
“We talk about the difference between penalties and stupid penalties,” Sizer said. Sometimes you’re blocking and you hold. We didn’t have any stupid penalties. They played smart, they just didn’t execute.”
The Broncos and Bethel-Tate are the only two Southern Buckeye Conference teams who have not yet played a conference game. That will change Friday night for both squads, as Bethel hosts winless Clermont Northeastern while Western Brown heads south for a rivalry matchup against New Richmond.
“They’re big, they’re good and they’re well-coached,” Sizer said. “They do what they do and they do it really well. It’s a rivalry game for us, they’ll be excited to play us and we’ll be excited to play them too.”
The Broncos and the Lions square off Friday, October 9 at 7 p.m.