Since its season-opening loss, the Brandon-Evansville football team has strung together three straight wins, with the latest coming at home over Ortonville 22-6. On Friday night, the Chargers showed how their youthful roster is growing game-by-game and just how good their defense can be.
“It was a lot of our younger guys stepping up tonight,” senior Kobe Reiland said. “We had two seniors go down in Cade Carlson and Kyle Schaffran go down at halftime. It was huge for some of these guys to step up and make some big plays for us.”
Before Schaffran left the game with an injury, he kept Ortonville (2-2) off the scoreboard in its second drive of the game. The Trojans had their way on offense before Deaven Boots’ pass was picked off by Schaffran in the end zone.
Both teams struggled to find the end zone until late in the first half. Ortonville struck first on a 12-yard swing pass from Boots to Daunte Petters with 3:33 left. The drive was set up after a special-team miscue. A low snap on a punt attempt caused Reiland to drop to his knees to grab the ball on the B-E 35-yard line. Ortonville scored a few plays later.
Reiland led the offense down the field on the Charger’s next possession before punching in a two-yard touchdown with 47 seconds left in the half. Tyler Bitzan’s two-point conversion gave B-E an 8-6 lead.
“Kobe is a level-headed kid. Nothing rattles him,” head coach Tim Pattrin said. “He learns from his mistakes, and he is not our normal punter. That was an odd situation. He knew it right when he did it and moved on. He’s been throwing the ball better and better as the year has gone on. He’s been leading the offense and has played well on defense too. He’s really reliable. Every year you look for a senior or two to step up their game, and he’s taken his game to another level.”
Ortonville started the second half by driving to the B-E four-yard line before a goal-to-go stop kept them out of the end zone. B-E’s defense was spectacular all night as it limited the number of explosive plays from Ortonville’s offense.
“We kind of just got together and told ourselves that we need to get stops,” Reiland said. “That was one of those plays where we knew we could change the game if we didn’t let them score. We wanted to come out here and win our homecoming game, so we gave it everything we had on defense and made some really good plays.”
After Carlson exited the game, Bitzan began to take most of the carries in the Chargers' backfield. He broke off several runs that set up B-E in the red zone before Reiland found a diving Xavier Grussing on a five-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-6 lead.
B-E’s defense came up big yet again on Ortonville’s next possession to give the offense a chance to put the game on ice. On a fourth-and-two play from the Trojan 35-yard line, Bitzan scampered for eight yards to keep the drive alive. He later broke free for a 24-yard touchdown to put away Ortonville for good.
“He’s always run the ball hard,” Pattrin said. “John Roers really stepped up as his fullback. Aaron Gillespie stepped up as a pulling guard when we threw in a few wrinkles. When Cade went down, we had to move away from the game plan. Those guys stepped up and created some huge holes for Tyler to run through.”
The Chargers are now 3-1 on the season and are growing in experience every week.
“We need to get rid of the little mistakes,” Reiland said. “We had some penalties. I also threw an interception on the first drive that shouldn’t have happened. I think getting experience in these types of games is huge for us. We kind of did it all today, but we can do it better. Getting that goal-line stop and holding onto this win builds a lot of confidence.”
B-E will look to continue its physicality next week as it gears up for Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (1-3).
“It was fun tonight, and I’m really proud of these guys," Pattrin said. “They’re embracing the physical but help-you-back-up nature that we run. Last week in that game against North Central, we’d knock them down and help them back up. They’d knock us down and help us back up. It’s really good to see the guys handle the situations in a game and the challenges they face and still come out with a win.”
ORTONVILLE 0 6 0 0 - 6
BRANDON-EVANSVILLE 0 8 0 14 - 22
SCORING- SECOND QUARTER- Ortonville- Deaven Boots touchdown pass to Daunte Petters. Two-point conversion no good. 3:33; B-E- Kobe Reiland two-yard touchdown run. Cade Carlson two-point conversion good. 0:47; FOURTH QUARTER- B-E- Reiland four-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Grussling. Two-point conversion no good. 6:21; B-E- Tyler Bitzan 24-yard touchdown run. Titus Fuller two-point catch. 1:55