BREMEN — Braxston Miller was rock solid Friday night.
The 5-foot-11, 198-pound senior back rambled 20 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns, helping Bremen post a 21-8 victory over Plymouth in high school football action at a packed Don Bunge Field.
Miller scored on runs of nine and five yards as the Lions (1-0) ended a 14-game losing streak to Plymouth (0-1).
Senior quarterback Nate Leeper tossed for 88 yards and one score to lead Bremen to its first win over the Rockies since 1988.
Despite coming up with four turnovers and a blocked punt, Plymouth managed to find its way into the end zone just once. This ended a stretch of 18 straight opening-game wins for the Rockies.
"They were the better team tonight," Plymouth coach John Barron said of Bremen. "They're very well-coached. I've said that ever since (Bremen) Coach (Bob) Holmes took over. They've got a lot of experience. Their quarterback (Nate Leeper) plays with a lot of poise. They've got a lot of offense to defend for week one. No excuses, though. They played better than we did."
While the Bremen offense suffered its share of opening night jitters, the defense proved to be on the top of its game, allowing just 95 yards on the ground.
"We talked earlier about the importance of 18 seniors," Holmes said. "Boy, did their leadership and experience show tonight. I'm awful doggone proud of them. That's the first time we've beaten Plymouth in a long, long time. This was a great opportunity for our kids, and they rose to the occasion."
The Rockies struck first as a blocked punt by Ethan Sampson put the visitors in business at the Bremen 20 midway through the opening period.
Six plays later, quarterback Ike Kastner crossed the goal line from 6 yards out, followed by Sam Stevens' two-point conversion run.
Bremen finally got on track offensively late in the first half by going 72 yards on nine plays.
Leeper found tight end Mitch Huppert open for a 13-yard gain on the march, capped off by Miller's nine-yard scamper.
"What a great opportunity for us to have adversity this early in the season," Holmes said. "To turn the ball over as much as we did in the first half and still only be down just one point says a lot about these kids."
Leeper put his arm to good use in the third quarter to put the Lions on top.
He completed three passes for 52 yards on the 64-yard drive, including a 29-yard strike to Ben Hueni for the go-ahead score. Leeper then found Huppert open for the two-point play to give the Lions a seven-point cushion.
It looked like Plymouth would answer back as Kastner hooked up with David Lee for a 41-yard gain to the Bremen 34.
The drive ended at the Lions 15, though, as Darren Miller recovered a fumble.
Miller then capped off the scoring with 5-yard run with 3:11 left in regulation.
Stevens finished with 54 yards rushing before leaving with a leg injury.
Lee, Cole Mann, and John Ruff had fumble recoveries for Plymouth, while Jordan Knapp had an interception.
"The opportunities were there for us," Barron said. "We just didn't take advantage of them."
• BREMEN 21, PLYMOUTH 8
Plymouth 8 0 0 0-8
Bremen 0 7 8 6-21
P — Ike Kastner 6 run (Sam Stevens run)
B — Braxston Miller 9 run (Lucas Schlarb kick)
B — Ben Hueni 29 pass from Nate Leeper (Mitch Huppert pass from Leeper)
B — Miller 5 run (kick failed)
First downs 7 14
Rushing yards 95 185
Passing yards 108 88
Passing 5-9-0 7-12-1
Punting 5-31 3-19
Fumbles lost 1 3
Penalties 8-65 5-32
Records: Plymouth 0-1, Bremen 1-0