Lions crowned king of NSC with win over Glenn
BREMEN — The Bremen High football team reached down deep into their bag of tricks Friday night.
Too bad Nate Leeper didn’t get a chance to see how well one of them turned out.
Before getting buried by a host of John Glenn defenders, the senior quarterback managed to get the football into the hands of Ethan Pike, who then avoided his own fair share of players to go 66 yards for what proved to the game-winning touchdown, lifting Bremen to a 35-31 win over the Falcons in a wild and crazy Northern State Conference affair at Don Bunge Field.
Faced with second down and 7 early in the final quarter, the senior signal caller Leeper pitched the ball to one of the guys in the backfield, who in turn gave the ball back to him. That’s all Leeper remembers about the game-winning toss to Pike.
“I honestly didn’t see the play,” Leeper recalled. “I thought maybe the ball got intercepted or knocked down, but Pike ended up making a heck of play there. Once he got the ball, I knew there was no he was going to come down or be stopped. That’s the type of players we are. We aren’t going to give up or be denied.”
In a contest which featured more than 750 yards of offense, the Lions (9-0, 7-0 NSC) turned to their defense to preserve their first outright NSC title since 1995 when Sean Knepper batted down a fourth-down pass attempt deep in Bremen territory with just over five minutes remaining.
Behind the running of senior Braxston Miller, Bremen managed to hold on to the ball the rest of the way to clinch its first unbeaten regular season since 1990.
The 5-foot-11, 198-pound Miller accounted for 31 yards on the final drive and finished with 233 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
Although the Falcons (7-2, 5-2 NSC) came up on the short end, it wasn’t because of a lack of effort from senior Josh Anderson, who ended up with 29 carries for 240 yards and five touchdowns.
“What a great high school football game that was,” said Bremen coach Bob Holmes. “It was unfortunate one of us had to lose tonight. That was a great effort by John Glenn and Coach (Justin) Bogunia.
“What a great job Braxston Miller did for us there at the end. He really picked us up and made the big plays when we needed them. All of our kids, though, rose to the occasion and got the job done for us tonight.”
After Miller scored on a 50-yard romp to cut what was a 24-13 Glenn lead down to three points, the Lions pulled out all the stops by attempting an onside kick with less than 90 seconds remaining in the first half.
The ball bounced off the chest of Glenn’s Charles Dreessen and was recovered by Knepper at midfield.
Bremen eventually got the ball down to the Glenn 10 with 4.9 seconds left when Leeper took matters into his hands and found his way into the end zone.
“I wasn’t going to be denied,” Leeper said. “I just took off and headed for the end zone.”
Glenn coach Justin Bogunia believed this was one of the turning points of the contest.
“I could see giving them the one score, but not two,” Bogunia said. “The bottom line is they made some big plays at the end, and we didn’t.”
Andrew Kenney had a blocked punt in the third quarter leading to Anderson’s fifth score from 4 yards out. The 5-11, 195-pound Anderson opened the game by racing 71 yards on the first play from scrimmage.
“Our kids fought hard tonight but came up short,” Bogunia said. “We’ll see tomorrow (Saturday) how we bounce back.”
Leeper finished 4-of-5 passing for 102 yards with Pike having two catches for 77 yards.
“That kick right before halftime was planned to be a squibb kick, but it worked out for us,” said Holmes. “What a change of events that was for us. We were fortunate to have the ball bounce our way tonight.
“I couldn’t be more prouder of our team and the way we battled through adversity tonight. We made some adjustments defensively which really helped us come out on top tonight.”
• BREMEN 35, GLENN 31
Score by quarters
Glenn: 12 12 7 0 — 31
Bremen: 13 15 0 7 — 35
G — Josh Anderson 71 run (kick blocked)
B — Braxston Miller 3 run (Lucas Schlarb kick)
G — Anderson 3 run (run failed)
B — Miller 28 run (run failed)
G — Anderson 8 run (pass failed)
G — Anderson 38 run (run failed)
B — Miller 50 run (Ethan Pike pass from Nate Leeper)
B — Leeper 10 run (Schlarb kick)
G — Anderson 4 run (Charles Dreessen kick)
B — Pike 66 pass from Leeper (Schlarb kick)
First downs: 17 19
Rushing yards : 330 314
Passing yards: 15 102
Passing: 1-5-0 4-5-0
Punting: 0 3-19
Fumbles lost: 1-0 0
Penalties: 1-5 3-33