By Wade Linville –
Week 10 on the gridiron marked the end of the regular season for Ohio’s high school teams, and it was the Western Brown Broncos topping the Batavia Bulldogs to cap off their 2017 fall football campaign with a victory.
While the Broncos went to work against the visiting Bulldogs in their final game of the season, just north in Fayetteville was the visiting Bethel-Tate Tigers claiming a victory over the Fayetteville-Perry Rockets.
The Broncos finished their season with an overall record of 2-8 and a Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division record of 1-4 after topping Batavia 16-6.
It was a season that saw the Broncos battled through a brutal regular season schedule, not only taking on some tough non-league opponents but also adapting to the new look of the SBAAC big school division in the first year of Clinton Massie and Wilmington joining the league.
The Broncos drew first blood in their week 10 bout against Batavia, scoring on their second play of a drive less than a minute into the game as junior quarterback Josh Taylor connected with senior wide receiver Wyatt Fischer down the right side of the field for a 65-yard touchdown. Following the successful kick for the extra point by senior kicker Lane Sexton, the Broncos held an early 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs capped off a drive with a 24-yard touchdown carry by junior running back Jason Griffin with 4:15 to go in the first quarter but failed on the extra point attempt to cut the Bronco lead to 7-6.
Defenses prevailed in the second quarter as neither team was able to score in the frame, and at halftime it was the Broncos with a narrow one point advantage.
The Broncos upped their lead to 13-6 in the third quarter as Taylor reached pay dirt on a carry (failed on extra point attempt).
The Broncos were able to expand their lead to 16-6 with a field goal by Sexton in the fourth quarter.
The Bronco defense managed to hold the Bulldogs scoreless for the final three quarters of play in what was one of their best performances of the season. Junior linebacker Dylan Mosher and senior defensive lineman Aaron Fischer recorded eight tackles apiece in the week 10 win, while sophomore linebacker Austin Hopkins finished with seven tackles.
Wyatt Fischer, senior Eric Altman, and senior Josh Fry ended the night with six tackles each. Altman also recorded a fumble recovery and Wyatt Fischer snatched one interception.
The Broncos racked up 375 yards of total offense in the win, gaining 226 yards in the air and rushing for 149 yards.
Taylor threw for 217 yards with one touchdown pass. Sophomore quarterback Keegan Collins completed one pass for nine yards.
Wyatt Fischer pulled down six receptions for 126 yards and one touchdown.
Leading the Broncos running game was Altman with seven carries for 61 yards.
Taylor rushed 14 times for 59 yards with one touchdown carry.
Taylor finished the season with over 2,300 passing yards and more than 460 rushing yards.
Wyatt Fischer capped off an impressive season with over 1,170 receiving yards and a total of 82 receptions. According to recent scouting reports, Wyatt Fischer has committed to the University of Cincinnati as a preferred walk-on.
The Batavia Bulldogs wrapped up their season with an 0-5 league mark and an overall record of 4-6.
Finishing in a three-way tie to share in this year’s SBAAC American Division title were Clinton Massie, Goshen, and New Richmond with 4-1 records in league play.
The Rockets hosted the unbeaten Bethel-Tate Tigers in their final game of the season on Oct. 27, suffering a 53-14 loss. It was a big night for the Tigers, who wrapped up their regular season with a perfect record of 10-0 to earn home field advantage in their playoff game against 9-0 West Jefferson on Nov. 3.
Bethel quarterback Seth Becker threw for 207 yards and four touchdowns in the week 10 win at Fayetteville, while leading the Tigers’ running game was Owen Holtke with four carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Becker scoring the first touchdown of the night off a 17-yard run.
The Tigers rose to a 27-0 lead in the first quarter and reached pay dirt two more times in the second period to hold a 41-0 lead at halftime.
The Tigers than upped their lead to 53-0 in the third quarter.
The Rockets were able to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The bout against Bethel-Tate marked the end of high school football careers for 10 Fayetteville-Perry seniors who have played a significant role in the team’s success – Luke Wiederhold, Nate Tipis, Sam Parks, Chase Lockwood, Rachel Laney, James Kleemeyer, Nate Fisher, Clay Davis, Jacob Bailey, and Seth Allen.
While the Rockets bid farewell to several talented seniors, expect a bright future for the Fayetteville-Perry High School football program with a slew of young talent on the rise.