There were a lot of questions that needed answered going into Friday night's game between Patrick Henry and Bryan. Could the Golden Bears break an 11-game losing streak to the Patriots? Just how good were the Patriots? After 48 minutes of football, all became clear as Patrick Henry (5-2, 5-1 NWOAL) piled up 448 yards of total offense and defeated Bryan, 47-14.
"Bryan is a tremendous football team, we knew that," explained Patriot mentor Bill Inselmann. "This was a measuring stick for us because we had four victories over the weaker teams on our schedule and we beat them handily. We lost two tough games by a field goal each so we thought we were good, but we didn't have much to show for it. We knew we had to play good tonight and this tells me we can be a good football team, but we have to use it as a building stone."
On the other sideline, Bryan coach Kevin Kline knows his team still has a lot of work to do.
"This just shows that there's still some separation between us and them," Kline said. "They are really a solid team. I know people looked at them and said 'this is a down PH team' but they're pretty young and Bill always does a good job of preparing his kids. Obviously, they were the better team tonight, no question about it."
It looked like a shoot-out was on tap, at least in the first quarter, as the Patriots used a seven-play opening drive to go down the field and score on a 38-yard scamper by Lucas Rosebrook. A missed extra point made it 6-0 in favor of the Patriots. But Bryan (6-1, 4-1 NWOAL) answered right back after the kickoff with a 72 yard TD pass from Collin Bacon to Austin Schimmoeller. When Matt Chaney added the extra point, Bryan had a 7-6 lead with 8:54 left in the first stanza.
Patrick Henry was forced to punt on its next possession from its 23-yard line on fourth down, but after Rosebrook got the punt away, Bryan was flagged for roughing the kicker, giving the Patriots a first down. Another fourth-and-one at their own 47 faced the Patriots later in the drive, but again the Golden Bears extended the drive, this time on an offside penalty. Rosebrook rumbled in from a yard out 10 plays later and the two point conversion was added as Gabe Jones ran it in for a 14-7 PH lead with 36.3 ticks left in the first.
"It was frustrating because we had two beautiful drives where we had to do everything right and be methodical and they have a big play ... those hurt you," stated Inselmann. "I give a lot of credit to our defense after that. Coaches don't get credit for momentum shifts, that's all about the players on the field. Obviously, our kids handled it and responded to that big play."
Patrick Henry added two more scores before the half, one on a 6-yard run by Tobey Hernandez and a 7-yard run by Jones to make it 27-7 at the break. Bryan showed some life to begin the second half with a 7-play scoring drive that was capped by a Bacon 6-yard run to cut the lead to, 27-14.
Again the Patriots showcased their running attack in the second half and scored three more times on the ground, two by Rosebrook on runs of 79 and six yards, while Jones scored a 31-yard touchdown for a 47-14 final.
"It's fun to call plays when you're winning the line of scrimmage," admitted Inselmann. "When we played Liberty (Center), it wasn't fun to call plays because we weren't winning the line of scrimmage. We dominated the line today and it was easy to call plays."
The Golden Bears were hurt by 15 penalties for 114 yards, many of them leading to second-chance opportunities for the Patriots.
"We had some silly mistakes tonight, a few were on fourth down that gave them extra life," explained Kline. "We're still pretty young too, but that will be something to work on for next week."
Rosebrook paced the Patriots with 13 carries for 194 yards and three scores while Jones added 13 touches for 64 yards and three touchdowns.
"This shows we can contend with other teams and it gives us a slim hope to win the league and make the playoffs," explained Rosebrook. "It was a fun night, we definitely planned on running the ball. There were huge holes and we executed."
Bacon finished with 19 carries for 83 yards and a score, while completing 11 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Schimmoeller caught two balls for 83 yards.
Bryan will now welcome in Liberty Center, while Patrick Henry travels to Archbold.
First Downs 14 14
Rushing Yards 30-157 42-340
Passing Yards 197 108
Total Yards 354 448
Passing 14-26-1 5-10-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties 15-114 6-44
Bryan 7 0 7 0 - 14
Patrick Henry 14 13 6 14 - 47
P - Rosebrook 38-run (kick failed).
B - Schimmoeller 72-pass from Bacon (Chaney kick).
P - Jones 1-run (Jones run).
P - Hernandez 6-run (Rosebrook kick).
P - Jones 7-run (kick failed).
B - Bacon 6-run (Chaney kick).
P - Rosebrook 79-run (run failed).
P - Jones 31-run (Jones run).
P - Rosebrook 6-run (kick failed).
RUSHING: Bryan - Bacon 19-83; Schimmoeller 6-61; Eyre 2-6; Hug 1-5; Culler 1-2; Pendergrast 1-0. Patrick Henry - Rosebrook 13-194; Jones 13-64; Hernandez 6-46; Okuley 7-34; Cole 1-2; Storch 2-0. PASSING: Bryan - Bacon 11-22-1-175; Schimmoeller 2-2-0-14; Culler 1-2-0-8. Patrick Henry - Okuley 4-8-0-84; Jones 1-2-0-24. RECEIVING: Bryan - Schimmoeller 2-83; Bogosian 6-61; Chaney 1-25; Peters 4-24; Hug 1-4. Patrick Henry - Kline 2-60; Jones 2-37; Bergstedt 1-11.