2016 gridiron campaigns come to a close for Rockets, Broncos –
By Wade Linville –
Another season of high school football has reached an end for Brown County teams.
The Fayetteville-Perry Rockets and the Western Brown Broncos didn’t end their 2016 gridiron campaign as they had hoped, both suffering losses on their home fields in week 10 on Oct. 28.
The Rockets finished with an overall record of 6-4 after falling to the Bishop Ready (7-3) in their final game of the regular season on Oct. 28 at Fayetteville-Perry High School.
The Rockets suffered a 42-0 loss in their final game of the season, coming off a 27-0 loss to Notre Dame (Portsmouth) in week nine on the gridiron.
The losses at home in the final weeks of the season do not fully describe what kind of successful season it has been for the Rockets, who finished 4-0 in the Ohio Valley Athletic League to claim their second straight league title in only two years of comepting in the OVAL before moving into the Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference’s National Division.
Fayetteville-Perry’s senior star running back, Chase Jester, wrapped up his football career by rushing for an impressive total of 1,743 yards off 234 carries with 24 touchdowns on the season.
He was just one of the Rocket seniors to prove themselves as leaders on the field this season, along with fellow seniors Andy Smith, Austin Brockman, Tay Call, Garhett Thompson, Ryan Shaw, Skylar Minton, and Tyler Kingus.
The Rockets graduate a great deal of experience and talent on their offensive line, but through hard work during the offseason you can expect the Rockets to once again be tough competitors in 2017.
The Rockets were once again coached by Kevin Finch, who has found a great deal of success in recent years as head of the program.
The loss in week 10 would leave the Rockets shy of earning the Fayetteville-Perry football program its first ever berth in the regional playoffs.
The Rockets finished 13th in Division VI, Region 24 standings with only the eight top teams in the region qualifying for the playoffs.
At Kibler Stadium/LaRosa’s Field in Mt. Orab on Oct. 28, it was the Broncos suffering a 41-20 loss to the Goshen Warriors in their final bout of the season to finish with an overall record of 3-7 and a record of 1-3 in Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division play.
The Oct. 28 league game against Goshen marked the end of high school football careers for Bronco seniors Jake Henderson, Logan Elswick, Jacob Haggerty, Arturo Hernandez, Jerome Gruen, Dawson Bowling, Tanner Patten, and Noah Hill; who were all recognized during the Oct. 28 game, which was Senior Night for Western Brown.
“It’s extremely sad (Senior Night), because we do put in a lot of time and effort and spend a lot of time together,” Western Brown head coach Don Sizer said of this year’s seniors as they came into their final game of their high school careers. “This is a small group (of seniors) and I’ve got to know them very well. They’re going to be sorely missed, not just because of football, but because of the wonderful kids they are, too.”
With less than 10 seniors to be lost to graduation, one must look to the bright future ahead for the Western Brown varsity football team that will return next season with a large crew of seniors who are equipped with experience and talent that will provide leadership on the field for a very skilled crew of younger players.
Among those expected to return next year for their senior seasons are quarterback Seth Becker, who wrapped up his junior season this fall with a total of 2,955 passing yards, throwing for a total of 28 touchdowns; and Wyatt Fischer, who led the team in receiving with a total of 1,301 yards and 13 touchdown catches. Fischer also contributed on the defensive end as a junior this season.
Running back Zach Stacy wrapped up his junior season this fall with 659 rushing yards off 121 carries and 11 touchdowns. He also hauled in five touchdown receptions on the season with a total of 546 receiving yards.
Carson Eyre finished off his junior season with 405 receiving yards off 31 receptions.
Sophomore Josh Taylor gained some valuable varsity experience with 339 receiving yards off 29 catches with five touchdown receptions, while sophomore Evan Luttrell hauled in 11 catches for 123 receiving yards and five touchdowns this season.
On the defensive end, defensive back Eric Altman will return as a senior leader next season after serving as a defensive leader for the Broncos as a junior this fall.
Becker was able to complete 22-of-33 pass attempts for 313 passing yards, throwing for three touchdowns in the Oct. 28 contest against Goshen. Fischer totaled 139 receiving yards off eight receptions with one touchdown in the final game of his junior season, and Stacy would pull down two touchdown passes.
While the Bronco offense performed well enough to total 438 yards against Goshen, the Bronco defense struggled to put a stop to the Warriors’ running game led by running back Jimmy Strunk, who took 28 carries for 221 yards and three touchdowns behind some good blocking by the Goshen line.
Goshen’s Johnny Kube took 16 carries for 61 yards and scored two touchdowns, while Warrior quarterback Kyle Proffitt completed eight-of-12 pass attempts for 107 yards and carried the ball four times for 40 rushing yards.
The Warriors totaled more than 430 offensive yards in the week 10 win over the Broncos.
The Warriors won the coin flip and chose to receive the ball to start the game, and they would cap off a 77 yard drive with a touchdown by Kube, followed by a successful kick for the extra point, to take a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The Broncos capped off a drive with a touchdown pass to Stacy in the final minute of the first quarter but were unsuccessful on the kick for the extra point, and with the first period in the books it was Western Brown trailing 7-6.
The Warrior defense held the Broncos scoreless in the second quarter while their offense cruised behind the running of Strunk to score two unanswered touchdowns to hold a 20-6 lead at halftime.
The Broncos rallied back in the second half, slicing the Goshen lead to just seven points (27-20) in the third quarter of play, but the Warriors were able to cap off a third-quarter drive with a six-yard touchdown carry by Kube to expand their lead to 34-20 lead and move farther out of reach from the Broncos.
The Warriors went on to outscore the Broncos 7-0 in the fourth quarter to seal a 21-point victory.
The Warriors finished their season with an overall record of 5-5 and a record of 1-3 in SBAAC American Division play.