BIG NIGHT … Bryan running back Sam Herold breaks away on a fourth quarter carry. Herold had 265 yards and three touchdowns on the night. (PHOTO BY RICH HARDING, STAFF)
By: Daniel Cooley
BRYAN- Bryan jumped out to a 28-0 lead and then held on for dear life to prevail over Patrick Henry, 42-35.
Bryan seemingly had the game well in hand after Sam Herold’s 34-yard TD run gave Bryan a 42-20 lead with 2:05 left in the third quarter.
But after Patrick Henry took over on downs at its own 35, Nash Meyer’s nine-yard TD pass to Aiden Behrman on fourth down, cut Bryan’s lead to 42-28.
The Patriots then forced a Bryan punt and scored eight plays later when Meyer went 10 yards to Gavin
Jackson on fourth-and-5. Meyer then ran in the two-point conversion to cut Bryan’s lead to 42-35 with 7:33 left in the game.
Things got even closer after Patrick Henry forced a Bryan punt and took over on its own 38-yard line with 1:57 left.
First Meyer completed a 17-yard pass to Landon Johnson. After throwing a 21-yard completion to Jeff Camp, Meyer rushed for seven yards to put Patrick Henry on the Bryan 17-yard line, setting up a second-and-3
But the Bryan defense sacked Meyer for a five-yard loss and then a 10-yard loss.
Then on fourth-and-18 yards to go, Meyer threw an incompletion and Bryan took over on downs with 30 seconds left.
Bryan then went into victory formation and Bryan quarterback Jace Kepler, who rushed for 113 yards on 20 carries, took a knee on the final play of the game.
“We worked on our mistakes in practice this week and I told the guys you need to believe in yourselves and play for each other as a team and that’s what they did,” said Bryan coach Grant Redhead.
“It got a little closer at the end than I wanted, but they’re a good team and made some plays. But our defense was able to come up with pressure at the end.”
Bryan’s running game was in high gear in the first half alone, rushing for 211 yards in the first two quarters. Meanwhile, Bryan’s defense had held Patrick Henry to one first down, as Bryan jumped out to a 28-0 lead with 7:05 left in the first half.
First, Kepler scored from 13 yards out and Herold scored from the 14-yard line. Drew Hahn then caught a 14-yard TD pass from Kepler and Herold then ran it in from the two-yard line.
Patrick Henry finally got it going late in the first half and Meyer hit Johnson from 26 yards out with just 20 seconds left in the first half to cut Bryan’s lead to 28-7 at halftime.
With the passing game now working, Patrick Henry took the second half kickoff and quickly scored to cut into Bryan’s lead a little more.
Meyer hit Camp from 25 yards out and Bryan now led 28-14 with 10:28 left in the third quarter.
Bryan quickly answered, though. Hahn returned the Patriots kickoff 40 yards to the Patrick Henry 48.
Herold broke loose for a 34-yard gain and Kepler then scored on the next play, from 14 yards out and Bryan padded its lead to 35-14 with 10:01 left in the third quarter.
Both teams then traded scores and after Herold’s 34-yard TD, Bryan held a 42-20 lead after three quarters, setting up the dramatic finish.
Bryan’s workhorse Herold finished with a career high 265 yards on 33 carries and tallied three touchdowns.
“Patrick Henry came in with one of the best defenses in the league, (allowing just 21 points in its first five games), but the coaches worked us hard all week in getting us ready,” Herold said.
“Our offensive line did a great job, opening up big holes for me. And our defense although giving up some yards, came through when they had to and that’s all you can ask for.” Herold said.
The game turned out to be two different kinds of offenses paired up against one another.
While Bryan finished with 351 yards rushing, Patrick Henry quarterback Meyer completed 24 of 38 passes for 357 yards. Patrick Henry is now 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the NWOAL.
UP NEXT: September 30 – Liberty Center (6-0, 3-0 NWOAL) at Bryan (3-3, 1-2 NWOAL) 7pm
First Downs 19 26
Rushes-Yards 18-30 56-351
Passing Yards 357 82
Passes 24-38-1 9-11
Total yards 387 433
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-54 5-49
Patrick Henry 0 7 13 15 – 35
Bryan 14 14 14 0 – 42
B – Kepler 13-yd run (Devlin kick)
B – Herold 14-yd run (Devlin kick)
B – Hahn 9-yd pass from Kepler (Devlin kick)
B – Herold 2-yd run (Devlin kick)
PH – Johnson 26-yd pass from Meyer (Delgado kick)
PH – Camp 25-yd pass from Meyer (Delgado kick)
B- Kepler 14-yd run (Devlin kick)
PH – Meyer 4-yd run (kick failed)
B – Herold 34-yd run (Devlin kick)
PH – Behrman 9-yd pass from Meyer (Delgado kick)
PH – Jackson 10-yd pass from Meyer (Meyer run)
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org