BOURBON — Bremen football head coach Bob Holmes downgraded his victorious squad’s emotional response from “happy” to “content” Friday night.
Considering the Lions’ three turnovers inside the Triton 10 and a fourth just outside the Triton 20 as well as a fourth-quarter roughing-the-kicker penalty, “content” sounds just about right for the Lions’ 7-0 Northern State Conference win at Triton.
“We’re happy to get out of here with a win,” Holmes said. “We played a sloppy game, but we exited with a ‘W.’ I shouldn’t say we’re happy, we’re content.”
With its offense struggling to hang on to the pigskin during an on-again, off-again rain event, Bremen’s defense ceded just 83 total yards, and created four turnovers in a game where the two teams combined for more turnovers — eight — than points — seven.
In fact, the game’s lone score — a 15-yard strike from Bremen junior quarterback Kai Slough to 6-foot-4 senior Ethan Pike with 1:09 left in the first half — was set up by Bobby Cornett’s key interception just two plays after the Trojans recorded their initial first down of the game.
“Our defense has been doing a nice job all year,” Holmes said. “Defense is not the issue. Our offense and special teams have to play better; those are the two areas where we have to improve. Our defensive stats speak for themselves. We’ve got to find a way to stay on the field on the offensive side so the defense can get off the field and rest.”
Cornett’s interception at the Triton 20 gave the Lions a short field that they quickly used to their advantage with time winding down before halftime.
“That was a crucial turnover, and I put that on me,” Triton head coach Rodney Younis said. “I’m generally a conservative coach in that situation, but we tried to get aggressive. I told (quarterback) Bryson (Mosier) that interception was my fault, not his.”
Triton threatened twice in the second half, the final time following a Bremen roughing-the-kicker penalty past the halfway point of the fourth frame. Six snaps later, facing a fourth-and-4 situation from the Bremen 35, Mosier slung a short pass to running back Cody Shively on the outside, but Bremen’s Ryan Zellmer wrestled Shively down after a 1-yard gain.
“We had the right blocking scheme drawn up, but we didn’t block it,” Younis said. “Cody’s our go-to guy and we thought we could get him on the edge and he could go one on one. We got him there, but we missed a block.”
Late in the third quarter, Triton, behind Shively, progressed to the Bremen 25, but Pike recovered a mishandled snap to terminate the threat.
Defensive back Beau Beeson also recovered a fumble for the Lions, and Jacob Bennitt picked off Mosier just two plays after Mosier recovered a Bremen loose ball.
For the Trojans, defensive back Charlie Steinman intercepted a pair of tipped passes deep in Triton territory in the first half, and Trevor Kanarr covered up a Bremen fumble on the Triton 5 in the second stanza.
“Our defense boned up all game,” Younis said. “Our defense was put in situations and those guys did the job.
“Turnovers killed us,” he said. “We talked before the game about taking care of the ball, especially with the wet conditions. Bottom line we were a little out of synch offensively.”
Junior running back Eric Knepper led the Lions with 121 yards rushing in 27 tries, but Bremen struggled otherwise.
“We’ve got to make plays,” Holmes said. “These young men have to accept the challenge, step up and make plays, plain and simple.”
Bremen hosts Culver next Friday, while Triton heads to John Glenn.
• BREMEN 7
Score by quarters
Bremen: 0 7 0 0 — 7
Triton: 0 0 0 0 — 0
B — Ethan Pike 15 pass from Kai Slough (Lucas Schlarb kick), 1:09.
Rushing: 41 carries for 140 yards (Eric Knepper 27-121, Kevin Heckaman 7-23, Slough 7-(minus)4).
Passing: Slough 7-17-2, 82 yards
Receiving: Ryan Zellmer 4-57, Pike 2-25, Knepper 1-10.
Tackles: Cornett 7
First downs: 13
Rushing: 29 carries for 66 yards (Cody Shively 13-60, Bryson Mosier 13-13, Cordale Keyser 1-2, Josey Farmwald 1-(minus)2, DJ Riffle 1-(minus)7).
Passing: Mosier 6-13-2, 17 yards
Receiving: Grant Stichter 2-8, Shively 2-6, Cain Thorne 1-5, Riffle 1-(minus)2.
Tackles: Shively 11
First downs: 6
Records: Bremen 2-2 (1-1 NSC), Triton 0-4 (0-2 NSC).