MONTPELIER – Standing at 2-2 overall for the first time since 2007, the Locomotives were riding high and had high hopes of pulling off the huge upset over their arch-rival Bryan Golden Bears. Prior to the kickoff in the September 21st NWOAL showdown, Montpelier Head Coach Steven Brancheau pointed to contending with Bryan’s speed and also wrapping up and making tackles as keys to his team’s success against the high powered Bryan offense who were averaging 50 points per game through the first four contests. It didn’t take long for Brancheau to look like a psychic as the Golden Bears utilized their fleetness of foot and capitalized on several missed tackles en route to a 49-14 triumph over the visiting Locos.
After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, Montpelier began the night at their own 26 yard line following the 16 yard return by Cody Caudill. It wasn’t long before the Locos found themselves behind the eight ball as Tyler Benner fumbled the ball on second down and Bryan recovered at the Montpelier 14 yard line. However, the defense rose to the occasion stopping the Golden Bears in their tracks at the Loco 15 yard line where Bryan was unable to complete a fourth down pass in the end zone.
Surviving the threat unscathed, Montpelier went back on the offensive picking up their initial first down of the night through a combination of rushes by Benner and Colin Mercer. However, after six plays the Locos were left with a fourth down and one from their own 35. The Locomotives appeared to catch the Bears in hibernation when the center executed a snap to Benner who, from the up back position, rambled up the middle for what appeared to be in the words of Montpelier PA Announcer, Brian Geren, “Another Locomotive first down”. However the elation soon subsided as a yellow hankie had been tossed on the turf. Now facing a fourth and six from the Loco 30, punter Dan Hand had the ball slip thorough his fingers and Bryan had great field position once again, this time at the Montpelier 15 yard line.
The Loco defense was not able to keep Bryan at bay on this occasion as only one down was necessary for Bryan to cross the goal line. Quarterback Austin Schimmoeller was chased from the pocket and avoided a sack to find a receiver who had blown past the Loco defense wide open in the end zone. Following the score was a perfectly placed onside kick that led to another score in a single play. Already on top 14-0, the Golden Bears again perfectly executed an onside kick. This time Bryan prolonged the agony just a little longer needing three plays to find the end zone. After the extra point, and with 6:04 still left in the first quarter, Bryan led 21-0.
Not knowing the meaning of the word quit, the Locos quickly moved the ball from their own 35 yard line to the Bear’s 25 via a combination of Benner and Mercer carries, and one pass completion by Benner to Caudill. However the drive ceased when Benner threw behind Keegan Hitzeman on 4th down.
The Bears went on to three additional scores, while the Montpelier offense struggled the remainder of the half. As the Loco band marched on the field at intermission, Bryan led by a score of 42-0.
Bryan picked up where they left off to begin the third quarter, scoring on their first play from scrimmage on a 52 yard run. From that point forward substitutes gained some valuable time for both squads.
Montpelier was able to capitalize on two opportunities in the second half. With 3:57 left in the third quarter sophomore Raymon Moreno took a pitch from Benner around the right edge and raced past the Bryan defense for a 23 yard touchdown. Caudill split the uprights cutting the deficit to 49-7.
The seemingly bright future for the Locos became evident again when with 3:01 remaining in the contest freshman Dallas Royer took the handoff from Hitzeman and blew past the entire Golden Bear defense for a 37 yard score. Caudill’s kick was true once again providing the final margin of 49-14.
Coming into the game Montpelier had been experiencing great success behind the running of seniors Benner and Mercer. However, on this occasion the Golden Bear defense minimized the effectiveness of the pair. Benner was held to just 61 yards, while Mercer was limited to only 46. Benner was able to complete 4-11 throws for 31 yards. Hitzeman, Moreno, and Royer all made positive contributions on the ground in the second half.
The Locomotives will attempt to get back on track in practice this week in preparation for their trip to Archbold on September 28th. The contest is Homecoming for the Bluestreaks with kickoff slated for 7:00 pm.