Houston Van Roekel, 55, celebrates with coach Cal Smith and his teammates after the Braves come-from-behind victory at BGM on Friday, Sept. 9. BGM jumped out to an early lead and was up 50-22 in the third quarter before the Braves defense turned on the afterburners and the offense took charge, scoring four touchdowns in the late going to win the game, 54-50 to improve to 3-1 on the season. The Braves return home on Sept. 16 for a Homecoming game against Melcher-Dallas at Badger-Gabriel Field. Game time is 7 p.m.
By J.O. Parker
When the Montezuma bus rolled into Brooklyn on Friday, Sept. 9, the BGM Bears had one thing on their minds – beat the Braves in an 8-man matchup between the two neighboring schools.
The Bears last beat the Braves in 2015, and they were hungry for a victory. And it was looking that way, too!
The Bears took control of the game early, moving the football downfield and scoring back-to-back touchdowns and a third score in the first period while Montezuma squeezed out one touchdown, giving the Bears the early 22-8 lead after one period.
And it was more of the same in the second period. While Montezuma scored twice more, the Bears reeled off three more scores to go up 44-22 at the half.
In the second half, the game took a turn and it wasn’t in BGM’s favor. Even though the Bears had a strong lead late in the third period, the Montezuma defense was slowly taking control of the game as both schools added a score each. At the end of three periods, the Bears were still in control at 50-30.
It was Montezuma’s game from there on out as they reeled off four scores, taking the 54-50 lead with just more than a minute left in the game and BGM didn’t have an answer.
“It truly was a tale of two halves,” said Montezuma Coach John Beck. “In the first half, we were playing hard but the ball just did not bounce our way.”
Beck said turnovers on offense and missed tackles on defense also played a role in the early Montezuma deficit.
“We were able to get a few stops in the first half defensively and we had a big interception by Eli Bustamante with 17 seconds left in the half, setting the ball up around the 40-yard line,” added Coach Beck. “We ran a sweep to the outside, took a timeout and the next play Owen Cook hit Masin Shearer for the long touchdown. That seemed to help get momentum on our side.”
In the second half, the Braves got the ball and marched down the field. A bad snap led to a turn over. BGM then went down and scored and the Braves were down, 22-50, “but the boys never gave up,” Coach Beck said.
“That is what I am so proud of, they just had the grit and perseverance to battle back,” added Coach Beck. “We were able to chip away at that score for the rest of the game. Our defense was huge for us in the second half. We were able to control the line of scrimmage for much of the third and fourth quarters. Kennen Roadcap, Tod Gieger, Marty Knox, and Landon Morrison did a great job handling a big line. We made some changes up front and moved Geiger inside to handle their big center and let the other guys use their speed on the outside to rally to the ball. Most of the time, Geiger was taking on multiple blockers on the inside and that allowed for our other guys to rally to the ball. Our linebackers and secondary continue to improve.”
“We were in a lot of good spots and were able to make some good plays on the ball,” Coach Beck went on to say. “Carter Michalek was a tackling machine and Bustamante made some big plays on the ball! The defense played lights out for the second half and that is what won us this game.”
“I am obviously disappointed with how we lost that game…we played at such a high level for all but three plays in the first half and then played like we were behind in the second half when we were still up 20,” BGM Coach Jerod Burns said. “Credit to Montezuma for making the plays when they had to and getting the win.”
BGM senior quarterback Jacob Maurer scored six touchdowns in the game, going 17/27 for 202 yards in the passing department while rolling off 265 yards on 36 attempts on the ground for three of the scores. BGM’s Dominic Coleman finished the game with 85 receiving yards on 4 plays, scoring one touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, Montezuma’s Owen Cook went 14/30 in the passing department and five touchdowns while adding another score on the ground. Brett Plants finished the night with 98 yards on the ground on 14 carries and Garrett Watts finished the game with 4 touchdowns on six receptions and 172 yards.
The Bears recovered three Montezuma fumbles and an interception while the Braves recovered one BGM fumble. The Bears had 234 passing yards to 270 by the Braves. BGM finished with 235 rushing yards to Montezuma’s 150 rushing yards.
The Montezuma defense finished the game with 50.5 tackles to the Bears 39.5. Montezuma’s Carter Michalek led all tacklers with 11.5 while BGM’s Tate Martin finished the game with 8 tackles for a loss.