WALTON — Bremen’s football team lived by the pass interference sword and died by the pass interference sword Friday night.
Three pass interference flags played key roles in two Bremen fourth-quarter scoring drives to force overtime, but an offensive pass interference stymied the Lions’ double-overtime possession and Class 2A No. 7 Lewis Cass went on to win 34-28 in two extra sessions in a Class 2A Sectional 26 opener.
Following the crucial offensive pass interference, visiting Bremen’s double-overtime drive ended with a 40-yard field-goal attempt that stayed on line but was just short.
On the next play, Lewis Cass junior Gabe Welch dragged multiple Bremen defenders into the end zone for the game-winning 10-yard run to end an epic struggle between two storied programs.
“It was an outstanding effort by our guys,” Bremen head coach Bob Holmes said. “It says a lot about our four seniors and our team that lost 18 seniors from last year to be able to take the No. 7 team in the state to double overtime. We left it all out on the field; we have nothing to hang our heads about. I couldn’t be any prouder of these guys.”
Unfortunately for the Lions, senior two-way stalwart Reid Zellmer missed the overtime periods after collapsing on the field as the team captains prepared to meet for the overtime coin toss. Zellmer, who rushed for 81 yards and notched a team-high eight tackles, left under his own power, but officials barred his return.
“It was ruled a concussion,” Holmes said of Zellmer’s injury. “Reid got dizzy. The officials said it was the concussion rule and wouldn’t let him back on the field. His health is obviously the most important thing.
“I think everyone stepped up,” he added. “We’ve faced injuries and adversity all year and we pushed it to a second overtime. We’re prepared for adversity.”
Even without Zellmer the Lions still found the end zone in the first overtime. Bremen junior quarterback Kai Slough answered his counterpart Sheldon Slusser’s 2-yard overtime touchdown run with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Zellmer, and with Lucas Schlarb’s fourth extra point of the night, tied the score at 28-28.
Slough finished a strong night 8-for-15 passing for 88 yards and three touchdowns. He hit senior Ethan Pike with a 20-yarder to knot the game at 7-all early in the second quarter, and buoyed by a fourth-down pass interference, nailed Bobby Cornett for a 10-yard scoring strike for a 21-14 score with 11:11 left in regulation.
Bremen, which trailed 21-7 at halftime after yielding scores during all three of the Kings’ first-half possessions, pulled even with senior Dillon Mullen’s 4-yard touchdown run up the middle with 3:56 left in the fourth frame.
“We made a lot of adjustments at halftime,” Holmes said. “We gave up 21 points in the first half and didn’t let them score again in the second half until we lined up from the 10-yard line. It was a tremendous effort. We took the momentum in the second half and used the momentum. We maintained our focus, especially on defense.”
Slusser led Lewis Cass’ run-dominated offense with 93 yards on 17 carries and a pair of touchdowns and made his only completion count with a 19-yard scoring connection with Drew Shepherd. Welch added 71 yards in 12 tries and scored twice.
I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Cass,” Holmes said. “They’re a good team and very well coached.”
Bremen finishes up 6-4 and bids farewell to starters Reid Zellmer, Pike, Mullen, and Cornett.
• LEWIS CASS 34, BREMEN 28 2OT
Score by quarters
Bremen: 0 7 0 14 7 0 -- 28
Lewis Cass: 7 14 0 0 7 6 -- 34
LC – Gabe Welch 24 run (Marcus Hedrick kick) 1:22.
B – Ethan Pike 20 pass from Kai Slough (Lucas Schlarb kick), 11:54.
LC – Sheldon Slusser 29 run (Hedrick kick), 8:04.
LC – Drew Shepherd 19 pass from Slusser (Hedrick kick), 1:38
B – Bobby Cornett 10 pass from Slough (Schlarb kick), 11:11.
B – Dillon Mullen 4 run (Schlarb kick), 3:56.
LC – Slusser 2 run (Hedrick kick)
B – Ryan Zellmer 7 pass from Slough (Schlarb kick)
LC – Welch 10 run
Rushing: 44 carries for 147 yards (Zellmer 25-81, Mullen 11-51, Slough 3-8, Jon Stoller 2-4, Ryan Zellmer 1-4, Eric Knepper 2-(minus)1)
Passing: Slough 8-15, 88 yards
Receiving: Pike 4-48, Re. Zellmer 2-23, Bobby Cornett 1-10, Ry. Zellmer 1-7
Tackles: Re. Zellmer 8
First downs: 13
Lewis Cass stats
Rushing: 49 carries for 263 yards (Slusser 17-98, Welch 12-71, Garrett Riley 4-31, Drew Shepherd 6-20, Blake Cain 5-16, Brendan McGehee 2-13, Jake Wilburn 2-9, Payton Young 1-5)
Passing: Slusser 1-3, 19 yards
Receiving: Shepherd 1-19
Tackles: Young 9
First downs: 13
Records: Bremen 6-4 (final), Lewis Cass 9-1