The Western Brown Broncos staked claim to their second straight win on the gridiron by topping the Bethel-Tate Tigers in week five, while the Fayetteville-Perry Rockets suffered a loss to Batavia in what was their first loss of the season.
It’s been an excellent past two weeks on the gridiron for the Western Brown Broncos. Western Brown played host to the Bethel-Tate Tigers on Sept. 21 in what was their first home game since week one on the gridiron, and it was a big first half that paved the way to a 49-23 Bronco victory to mark their second straight win after starting out the season with three straight losses.
The Tigers a 3-0 lead off a short field goal in the first quarter, but the Bronco defense wouldn’t give up another Tiger score until the second half while the Bronco offense found its rhythm to rack up 41 points in the first half.
“Our defense played downhill football in the first half. (I) was very proud of their execution and toughness,” Western Brown head coach Tyler Evans said of his Broncos’ defense against Bethel-Tate.
The Broncos were on the move in their first drive of the night, making it all the way to the Tigers’ 17-yard line. But it was an interception that would bring the Bethel-Tate offense on the field to start their first drive of the game at their own 35-yard line.
The Broncos held the Tiger offense to four down and six yards to go at the Western Brown 46-yard line. From there, it was Bethel quarterback Alex Manz completing a pass to Wyatt Burton for a first down.
The Tigers would find themselves at fourth down and three yards to go inside the Western Brown 10-yard line near the midway point of the first quarter, and it was Christian Altmayer kicking a short field goal to put the Tigers on top 3-0.
The Broncos found themselves at third down with 13 yards to go in their second drive of the game, but after a scramble to find an open receiver it was Bronco senior quarterback Josh Taylor completing a pass to junior Isaac Trevino for the first down, moving the Broncos into Tiger territory.
Later in the drive, Taylor found open space to run and broke loose for a 47-yard touchdown to put the Broncos on top 6-3 with 4:44 to go in the first quarter.
It was an interception by Western Brown senior Liam Keller that stifled the Tigers’ second drive on the night, bringing the Bronco offense on the field to start their third drive of the game. The Bronco offense had to start from the Bethel 44-yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Western Brown following the interception.
Unable to find an open receiver, Taylor broke off a 46-yard run to move the Broncos to the Bethel-Tate seven-yard line later in the drive. The Tiger defense held sturdy for the remainder of the drive, forcing a turnover on downs as the Broncos went for pay dirt on fourth down inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line.
The Bronco defense came through once again late in the first quarter, holding the Tigers to fourth down and 15 to go. After a punt by the Tigers, the Bronco offense went to work from their own 20-yard line with 1:45 to go in the first period.
What followed was a 70-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to senior Evan Luttrell with 1:20 to go in the first quarter. Following a successful two-point conversion pass to sophomore Gary Powell III, the Broncos led 14-3.
The Broncos expanded their lead to 41-3 in the second quarter, scoring four touchdowns in the frame.
Taylor broke off a touchdown run of around 64 yards with 11:49 to go in the second quarter, upping the Bronco lead to 21-3.
It was Bronco junior Christian Whisner grabbing an interception to end the Tigers’ next drive, but the Broncos were held to fourth down and it was Taylor launching a punt that went out of bounds at the Tiger 16-yard line. The Tigers went nowhere against a sturdy Bronco defense, as Western Brown forced a turnover on downs and took over possession at the Bethel 36-yard line with 8:18 to go in the first half.
The Broncos lost a bit of yardage in plays that followed, but they would cap off the drive with Taylor hitting junior receiver Yani Williams for a 39-yard touchdown to expand the Western Brown lead to 27-3 with 7:42 to go in the second quarter.
While the Bronco defense continued to perform well in the first half, so did the Western Brown offense.
It was a 54-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to Williams that left the Tigers trailing 34-3.
After the Bronco defense forced another turnover on downs, the Bronco offense capped off their final drive of the first half with Taylor launching a 32-yard touchdown pass to Luttrell, followed by the successful kick for the extra point by Tanner Donathan, to up the Western Brown lead to 41-3 with just nine seconds remaining in the second period.
The Tigers managed one touchdown in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter, while the Broncos were able to reach pay dirt once in the final frame to top off a 26-point victory.
The Bronco offense totaled 563 yards compared to Bethel’s 361 yards.
A total of 303 yards came from the Broncos’ rushing game, while 260 yards came from their air attack.
Taylor completed nine passes for 219 yards with three touchdowns. He also rushed 15 times for 275 yards, carrying for two touchdowns.
Williams led Bronco receivers with 109 yards and two touchdowns off five receptions. Luttrell also had a great night of receiving, hauling in four passes for 103 yards with two touchdowns.
Western Brown defenders Ryan Sizemore and Andre LaJoye contributed in the win with seven tackles each.
Coming off a win at Jackson High School in week four and following up with a win over Bethel-Tate, the Broncos upped their overall record to 2-3 on the season.
The Broncos continue to show improvement on the leadership of their first-year head coach, and they will face Goshen on the road in week six on the gridiron as Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division play gets underway.
“We are going in the right direction,” Evans said of his Broncos’ progress since the start of the season. “(We) have a very, very good opponent this week. (We) need to continue to do our job and execute.”
The Fayetteville-Perry Rockets were on the road at Batavia in week five, suffering a 42-8 loss. The Rockets dropped to an overall record of 4-1 with their week five loss at Batavia.
“Hats off to Batavia, they’re a solid football team. They took a few things away that we like to do, and we couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Fayetteville head coach Kevin Finch. “The first half, they really controlled the ball and kept our offense off the field. We were never able to get in that groove that we like to get into. Hats off to them and their effort.”
The Batavia Bulldogs would capitalize on some Rocket errors, which was a huge factor in their win.
“We made some mistakes, but we’re going to look at those mistakes and get better from it as we move forward, especially as we get into our side of the conference,” said Finch. “Our kids will respond, we have a lot of character and very strong leadership. We’ll get better as a team from this.”
On a positive note, the Rockets never backed down, even when trailing by a wide margin.
“We didn’t quit. We had moments where we had some big plays. We just need to try and keep that part going. That was something I liked. We just need to get more of those,” Finch added. “I’m still proud of the effort of our kids. I can’t speak enough about the leadership, especially our captains. When you have good leadership and a little bit of talent, you always have the chance for something special, and we’ve got that going on. We’ll learn from this, and we’ll get better going into conference play.”