WEST SUNBURY — The Brookville Raiders' football team was able to outlast the Moniteau Warriors 19-14 Friday thanks to another strong performance from junior running backs Zach Vroman and Brodie Zacherl.
Vroman tallied 153 yards by night's end, and Zacherl rushed for 107, with an 11-yard TD run.
"Our run game is diverse enough with two running backs that can carry the ball. It is music to my ears when I hear (my) two running backs have 20 carries (each), that's a perfect game in my mind and that starts with the 'O' linemen and the coaches who are doing a good job of getting on them and tweaking things," said varsity coach Chris Dworek.
When the third quarter ended, Moniteau had the 14-13 edge over the Brookville Raiders. The entire Raider squad held up four fingers and all exclaimed "fourth", a signature for Brookville all season.
"It's an attitude and a tradition. When we condition we'll do eight sprints, and the final two are for the fourth quarter, so everybody gets fired up for the fourth quarter," said Dworek. "It's just an attitude thing, and I'm starting to think we should do them (sprints) for the first quarter and the second quarter," he joked. "It's a positive (attitude) and confidence thing now because we've been having success all year in the fourth quarter."
It's a tradition that proved great results Friday night. As the fourth quarter began, the Brookville Raiders stepped up their game. Moniteau was forced to punt on its initial drive in the final quarter.
The Raiders began their drive from their own 15-yard line. The first play Vroman trotted for five, then Zacherl scrambled for 11 to give the Raiders a new set of downs.
On first down, Vroman carried again for two yards. On second down, the Warriors were called for an offsides violation.
On second and three, the Brookville offensive line parted the Red Sea, and Vroman took the ball up the middle for a gain of 15.
Quarterback Cameron Yard kept the ball on the next possession and fought hard to pick up seven yards. Vroman took the hand off on second down but was stuffed by the Warrior line.
On third and three, Vroman took another handoff and did his best impression of a "Madden" player, juking and breaking tackles and taking the ball all the way to the 1-yard line.
On first and goal, Yard punched the ball in for the 1-yard score. Brookville had taken a 19-14 lead.
The Raiders went for the 2-point conversion and Vroman tried to pass to an open receiver but was picked off by a Moniteau defender.
For as good as the Raider offense was in the fourth quarter, the defense was just as strong.
Moniteau began its drive from its own 42-yard line. The Brookville defense caused a fumble on first down, but the Warriors recovered.
On second down, Warrior QB Denny Pry thought he had found an open receiver right before Braiden Smith snatched the pass, then used his athletic ability to run it to the Moniteau 28-yard line.
Zacherl carried for three downs in a row, totaling 12 yards and a new set of downs. Zacherl took another handoff at the 15-yard line and pushed forward two yards.
On second and eight, Vroman took the handoff, scrambled, then threw the ball, which resulted in an intentional grounding call.
The penalty yards ended up being too much for the Raider offense to overcome, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Warriors took over from their own 26-yard line. Cody Skiver rushed the first two possessions, grabbing a first down and pushing the ball to the Brookville 44-yard line.
Skiver took the handoff again on first down but was crushed by the Brookville "D" for a loss of two.
On second and twelve with 1:56 remaining, Skiver pitched to Dustin Geagan, who picked up seven yards. On third and five, Skiver took the ball again but was allowed only a yard.
On fourth down, Geagan pitched to Trevor Shaffer who picked up a first down and restored hope for the Warriors.
With a little over a minute left, Geagan ran again and picked up two yards. On second and eight with 1:04 remaining, the Warriors tried to air out the ball. Geagan tried to connect with Skiver on his route, but the Raider defense would not allow it.
On third and eight, Pry found Geagan open. Geagan was able to pick up five yards on the play.
On fourth and three with 51 seconds remaining and 27 yards to go, Geagan scrambled for one last time with the Raider defense bringing him down a couple yards short of the first down.
Brookville took over one last time with 45 seconds left on the clock. Yard kneeled the ball twice to run out the clock and assured the 19-14 Brookville victory.
Despite the final outcome, it was Moniteau who struck early in the contest.
The Warriors received the ball to start the game and on the second play of the first drive, Geagan ran 61 yards to put Moniteau up 6-0. Andrew Armagost attempted the PAT but could not connect.
Late in the first quarter, Brookville struck back. Armagost was set to punt the ball away for the Warriors but the ball was mis-snapped and it flew over his head, forcing him to jump on the ball for a loss of 10 yards, giving Brookville the ball at the opposing 27-yard line.
On the first play, the Moniteau "D" was flagged, putting the ball at the 9-yard line. Zacherl pushed the ball two yards on first down, then Yard took it the remaining seven for the score.
Yard booted the PAT and gave the Raiders the 7-6 lead.
Moniteau wasted little time striking back in the second quarter.
The Warriors were facing a fourth and seven scenario to open the quarter. Skiver gambled and ran from the opposing 29-yard line to the 15-yard line, awarding his squad a first down.
Geagan took the next carry eight yards and put the Warriors in the red zone. Geagan ran again on second and goal.
He scrambled to the 1-yard line but coughed the ball up, and his teammates saw the mistake and fell on the ball, giving Moniteau the unorthodox score. Geagan was successful on his run for the two-point conversion, putting the Warriors up 14-7.
The Raiders would not have revenge until the third quarter.
After a punt from Armagost, Brookville took over at its own 40-yard line.
Vroman and Zacherl alternated handoffs and took the ball 49 yards over the course of nine plays and some added yards from an offsides Moniteau violation.
The Raiders' were one yard out of the red zone on a new set of downs. Yard tried to connect with wide receiver Evan Matheny but was not so fortunate. On second down, Brookville went back to the running game, and Zacherl scampered 11 yards for the TD.
The Raiders' went for the tie with the PAT but due to an errant snap, they were not able to get a kick off, and Moniteau held onto a 14-13 lead by third quarter's end.
It was Brookville though, who had the last laugh, as it came back and scored in the fourth quarter to win the game 19-14, despite a sluggish start.
The Raiders once again overcame adversity to win and improve their record to 4-1.
"The power of being positive and the power of picking each other up when negative things happen, it's so easy to say it but then to actually do it and they're doing it. They're staying positive and picking each other up, they're chirping at halftime and saying we can do this. All that stuff is so important and other years kids have put their heads down, and you can't do that, it doesn't help anything," said Dworek. "You could see early that that's how these kids were, that's how they were in the locker room and the weight room, conditioning and all that stuff off the field. So it's easy for them to act like that on the field when they're doing it other places."