REDBANK — One week after the tough loss to rival Punxsy, the Brookville Raiders (1-1) bounced back to claim a 22-13 victory over the Redbank Valley Bulldogs (0-2) Friday night.
After an early first quarter touchdown, the Raiders' defense held strong and allowed only one more touchdown the rest of the contest.
"They really adjusted on the fly. Their short passing game was dangerous, but we had a little bit of pressure and we flew to the ball; and we did a lot better job after the first series or two," said Raiders head coach Chris Dworek.
After some adjustments in the week leading up to the game, Dworek, along with some help from assistant coach Sean Weaver, was able to formulate a defense that contained the Redbank offense.
"This was the most simple defensive game-plan I can remember in a long time, so they did what we thought, but we had built-in adjustments to it; coach (Sean) Weaver did a great job getting things ready and teaching it to the guys," said Dworek.
The game started with Brookville receiving the ball first. After a run back to the 25-yard line, the Raider offense was set to turn the season around.
The Raiders struggled a little at first, but were able to get the offense in sync after the first quarter.
On the first play, senior quarterback Cameron Yard scrambled for an 8-yard gain. The next play, junior running back Zach Vroman took the ball three yards farther for the first down.
Three plays later, Vroman ran 5 yards and grabbed another first down.
The Raiders struggled the next three plays, which forced Nathan Bonfardine to punt the ball away.
The Bulldogs completed a first down on their initial offensive attack, then another on a carry by fullback Brandon Bailey.
Nine plays later, Redbank had clawed its way to the 5-yard line.
On 3rd and goal, Bulldog quarterback Jake Dougherty took the ball into the end zone to light up the scoreboard for the first time Friday night. Kicker Zane Watson then booted the ball through the uprights to put Redbank up 7-0.
With the first quarter winding down, the Brookville offense was ready to turn the game around.
After a 24-yard return, Vroman trotted for 9 yards on the first play. Yard then took it another four for the first down conversion to end the first quarter.
Yard, Vroman, and Brodie Zacherl then took turns running the ball through the Redbank defensive line.
Ten plays and 34 yards later, Brookville was at the 3-yard line on a first and goal. The Raiders wasted no more time, and Yard completed an impressive 3-yard touchdown pass, while getting tripped, to Vroman to give the Raiders six points. Yard then kicked the ball through the goal posts to tie the game at 7s.
Redbank got the ball back on the kickoff and only made it to the 17-yard line. However, the Bulldogs were awarded another 5 yards on a Brookville encroachment call.
The Bulldogs got a first down on a carry by Bailey, then one by Kaven Hornberger.
The Brookville defense held strong and forced Redbank to punt three plays later.
The Raiders received the ball at the 28-yard line. Vroman rushed for 6, then Yard took it for 20 to give the Raiders a new set of downs. Yard tried to scramble for first over the next two plays but was held up by the Redbank defensive line.
On third and eight, Yard completed a 5-yard pass to Bobby McGranor.
Dworek then summoned the punting unit; and Bonfardine put the ball at the 5-yard line with the first half winding down.
The Redbank offense made a valiant effort, but could not tally the scoreboard again in the first half.
Redbank had the ball again to start the second half but could not capitalize on the opportunity. After three plays, the Bulldogs were forced to punt the ball back to the Raiders.
Brookville started from the 36-yard line and Zacherl scampered for 12 yards on the first play.
The next play, Yard kept the ball and pushed it three yards farther.
On second down, Yard handed the ball to Vroman, and he broke free for a 45-yard dash that put his team at the 4-yard line.
On the very next play, Vroman carried the ball the remaining 4 yards to give Brookville the lead.
Vroman did everything except sell hot dogs during Friday night's game, as he took the snap in the 2-point conversion and completed a pass to Damien Payne to push the Raiders lead to 15-7.
"He's (Vroman) solid, he's a tough kid and a tough gamer. He's matured so much from last year and is turning into a great younger leader," said Dworek.
Vroman rushed for 122 yards on 16 carries with a 4-yard touchdown run and a 3-yard touchdown reception to complement a top-notch effort on the defensive line.
Redbank received the ball with 8:51 left in the third quarter and got the ball to the 47-yard line, but was pushed back 5 yards after a penalty.
Nine plays later, the Bulldogs had the ball on at the Redbank 30-yard line and were facing fourth and two.
Bailey took the handoff from Dougherty but was stuffed by the Brookville defensive line, and the Bulldogs were forced to give up the ball from a turnover on downs.
The Brookville offense got a little sloppy on the next drive and gave the ball back on a fumble.
Redbank capitalized on the turnover and four plays later, Dougherty ran the ball in again for the score.
In an attempt to tie the score at 15s, Dougherty attempted a throw to Ty Haines on the 2-point conversion, but was not so fortunate. Brookville still had a 15-13 lead.
Brookville then received the kick and started its offensive drive from the 35-yard line. On the first play, Zacherl bounced around for a 13-yard gain and a new set of downs.
By night's end, Zacherl rushed for 49 yards on 12 carries.
Yard then earned the Raiders another new set of downs on his 12-yard scamper.
Zacherl then took the ball again, but was wrapped up by Bailey for a 2-yard loss.
Zacherl quickly made up for the play and took the ball 11 yards on second down.
On third and one, Yard took the ball himself and earned a new set of downs.
At the Raider 25-yard line, Brookville decided to mix things up on first down when Yard found receiver Braiden Smith open on his route down the right side of the field for the touchdown. Yard then completed the PAT to extend the Raiders' lead to 22-13.
Redbank received the ball on the kickoff and moved the ball to the 23-yard line.
Dougherty and Bailey took turns running the ball until a second and five when Bailey was met by Vroman, who stripped the ball and recovered the fumble for Brookville.
One play later, Brookville gave the ball back to Redbank when Yard fumbled the ball when he was stripped while on the run.
Redbank had the ball and nearly gave it right back to Brookville when Dougherty's pass was nearly picked off by cornerback Smith. Dougherty tried another pass on second down to no avail. Bailey tried to run on downs three and four but was held up by the Brookville "D" for a turnover on downs.
When the Raiders had the ball again, Zacherl ran for no gain the first time, and five the second. Vroman then took his turn rushing, but only moved the ball up a yard. On fourth and four, Bonfardine was set up in punt formation and ran the ball instead but came up short for the turnover on downs.
With 3:08 left on the clock, Redbank had one last shot at igniting a comeback. Bailey rushed for the first two downs, gaining two on the first only to lose two on the second. On third and 10, Dougherty scrambled looking for an open receiver until he was sacked by defensive linemen Justin Snyder. On fourth and 17, Dougherty tried to find Isiah Unger deep on the left, but overthrew him.
Brookville had possession with under a minute left, and Dougherty kneeled the ball twice to seal the 22-13 victory for the Raiders.
Dworek was proud of his team for staying tough and earning its first win of the season.
"They're growing up fast and it started last week. That maturity is starting to be very powerful," said Dworek. "You get punched in the mouth and you have to respond to that... We responded physically and were able to answer that, and that's the confidence in the guys."