Football: Sebeka holds off late B-E push to win playoff game 24-22
Brandon-Evansville trailed by double-digits in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's Section 4 9-man playoff game against Sebeka on Tuesday and cut its deficit to two with 8:03 left in the game. Sebeka held on to win 24-22 and ended B-E's season. B-E head coach Dan Johnson is proud of the grit he's seen from the team.
BRANDON - After a goal-line stand on defense late in Tuesday’s Section 4, 9-man football playoff game, the fourth-seeded Brandon-Evansville Chargers had the ball, trailing to the fifth-seeded Sebeka Trojans 24-22 with 1:58 left in the game and 99 yards ahead of them.
The Chargers got the ball moving a bit, but Sebeka senior Hank Tellers made an interception to regain possession with 1:12 left. Sebeka milked the clock and held on to beat B-E 24-22 and advance to the semifinals on Saturday against top-seeded Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (9-0).
“We loaded the box and wanted to force them to pass it,” Sebeka co-head coach Bryson Vasey said. “They did pass it a few times and beat us a few times. But overall, we bent but didn’t break. Brandon-Evansville is a physical football team.”
Tuesday’s win for Sebeka (4-5) avenged a 38-0 regular season loss to B-E (4-5) on Sept. 16.
In the win, Sebeka forced multiple turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown by junior Jasper Hosey, who also rushed for two touchdowns and caught one.
“Jasper is a kid who wasn't even eligible to begin the season, and we didn't even think he'd be playing football for us,” Vasey said. “He's just done everything we've asked him to do. He's battled through injury. He's stepped up as a leader. He took the game over, and that kid deserves every ounce of praise he gets. He’s just a hell of a kid.”
The Trojans came into the game having lost five out of their last six, and those five losses came by an average of 38.8 points.
Hosey got the scoring started for the Trojans with a 60-yard rushing touchdown on the game's first offensive play. Hosey was also on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Hank Tellers at the beginning of the second quarter.
Sebeka scored 12 in the third quarter, but B-E responded in the fourth quarter by cutting its deficit back down to one possession with a touchdown from sophomore Micah Fuller to junior Stephen Hamilton with 8:03 left in the game.
“It’s been our MO this season to be gritty, persistent and tough,” B-E head coach Dan Johnson said. “Throughout the season, we've dealt with stuff, off the field, on the field things, and I think this epitomized who we are. We might’ve come up short, but we were trying to overcome five turnovers and three end-zone trips without anything to show for it. We just kept fighting and fighting and fighting. That goal-line stand down there really gave us a good chance at the end. It's something I know we can build on down the road.”
Fuller threw three touchdowns in the loss, two of which senior Ryland Yeats caught.
“He’s become more confident in what we’re trying to do,” Johnson said of Fuller. “I was watching our film from week three when we played Sebeka and his reads were off quite a bit and he was not very confident in his reads. He became more decisive with his reads in our option game and he became more decisive in our passing game. He grew as the season went on.”
Tuesday’s playoff game was the final game for B-E seniors Kayla Bitzan-Anderson, Brady Perleberg, Aaron Gillespie and Yeats.
Johnson said that these seniors helped establish grit in the program.
“Ryland Yeats became a very good running back for us; he is a tough runner and you don't become a tough runner unless you've got some grit,” Johnson said. “Aaron Gillespie has been a guy that has had to play a lot of snaps for us. He’s battling some shoulder issues, but he keeps getting up; he keeps battling and keeps fighting. You don't do that unless you have grit.”
Johnson said Bitzan-Anderson showed grit in practice, and Perleberg did so by stepping into a bigger role than expected in his first football season since middle school.
“Kayla Bitzan-Anderson came to practice every day and gave us a lot of good looks, and she gave us a lot of effort,” Johnson said. “She never looked to get out of doing anything in practice. She was always one of the first people to step to the front of the line; that’s grit.
“Brady Perleberg hadn’t played football since seventh grade, and we didn't anticipate he would play a lot of minutes for us. But with some injuries and some guys decided not to come out and play football this year, he got thrust into a role that was much more than we expected. It takes a tough and gritty kid to come out and do that.”
Moving into the offseason, Johnson is confident that the program will continue to grow.
“I know we've got a good core group of kids coming back, and we've got a big freshman class, so hopefully they stick with it,” he said. “They'll definitely contribute to our football program next year as sophomores, and we made some strides this year with what we wanted to do offensively and defensively. We became more aggressive as the season went on, so we hope that carries over.”
Johnson said that the freshman particularly stepped up as receivers when called on.
“We suffered some injuries in our wide receiver and secondary group,” he said. “The injuries and guys not coming out hurt us this year. We had to really piece together what we had left and asked ninth-graders to play expanded roles. It's never easy playing ninth-graders on a varsity field. Those guys did their best, and we're very grateful for that.”
Sebeka - 6 6 12 0 - 24
B-E - 0 14 0 8 - 22
Jasper Hosey 60-yard run, 2-pt conversion NO GOOD, 11:44 (Sebeka 6-0)
Hank Tellers 26-yard pass to Japser Hosey, 2-pt conversion NO GOOD; 11:48 (Sebeka 12-0); Micah Fuller 45-yard pass to Ryland Yeats, 2-pt conversion GOOD (run by Yeats); 2:20 (Sebeka 12-8); Micah Fuller 10-yard pass to Ryland Yeats, 2-pt conversion NO GOOD; 0:22 (B-E 14-12)
Jasper Hosey 61-yard run, 2-pt conversion NO GOOD, 10:08 (Sebeka 18-14); Jasper Hosey 26-yard interception return for a touchdown, 2-pt conversion NO GOOD, 7:53 (Sebeka 24-14)
Micah Fuller 12-yard pass to Stephen Hamilton, 2-pt conversion GOOD (run by Yeats), 8:03 (Sebeka 24-22)