Thanks to a pair of long first half touchdown runs by Buckeye Trail senior quarterback Brock Davis, the visiting Warriors won the much-anticipated Pioneer Valley Conference match-up against the Shenandoah Zeps, 33-0, on Friday night.
Heath Dawson was on hand and has more.
SARAHSVILLE – Thanks to a pair of long first half touchdown runs by Buckeye Trail senior quarterback Brock Davis, the visiting Warriors won the much-anticipated Pioneer Valley Conference match-up against the Shenandoah Zeps, 33-0, on Friday night.
The game had all of the hoopla and hype anyone could ask for and fans of both the Warriors and Zeps showed up in droves. However, the contest had the wind sort of knocked out of its sails when Zep junior signal caller Cody Johnson went down with a rib injury with 8:22 reading on the clock after picking off a Davis offering in the first quarter.
From that point on, the Warriors were basically in charge of the game. Buckeye Trail head coach Randy Thompson praised his squad following the key PVC victory, one that makes Trail’s trip to Hannibal on Friday, Oct. 19 even that much more important.
“You can’t ask any more out of this team,” Thompson noted. “This was just a great team win. Sure, they lost their quarterback and made it a different game. We didn’t play our best game, but I think Shenandoah had something to do with that. Shenandoah played us very tough. This was as physical of a game as we’ve played all season long. I’m just proud of our kids and for our community.”
After Johnson’s interception, the Zeps set up shop at the Buckeye Trail 48. The Zeps moved the ball down to the 32, but the drive stalled as Trail forced a turnover on downs.
The Warriors (6-0, 3-0 PVC) were facing a third-and-11 situation from the 31, but Davis busted loose for a 69-yard touchdown on a delayed quarterback draw. The point-after kick failed, but Trail had a 6-0 edge with 3:05 on the clock.
Early in the second stanza, the Zeps (4-2, 1-1 PVC) appeared to be on their way to tallying the tying score. However, Shenandoah failed to move the chains on third and fourth downs as Billy Miley passes fell to the turf.
Taking over at its own 16, Buckeye Trail marched five plays in 84 yards for its second touchdown. A miraculous 48-yard reception by senior wideout Sam Bond-Zielinski on the third play moved the Warriors to the Zeps’ 34. Two plays later, Davis scampered 34 yards to paydirt at the 9:41 juncture. The two-point run was snuffed, but the Warriors led, 12-0.
Despite the loss of Johnson, Wilson thought his team was still in the ball game as his Zeps entered the lockers.
“Cody going down made it tough for us,” Wilson related. “They knew exactly what we were going to do with Cody going down. However, the kids never put their heads down and kept fighting. Our kids…no matter what the circumstances are…they are going to keep fighting.
“Our rhythm and timing was definitely off. Cody going down affected everyone. However, I told them when we came in at the half that we were only down 12-0. We were building on the fact that we were down because of two big plays. Big plays beat good teams and we continued to do that in the second half. Trail is a big play offense. They’re very similar to us when we are running on all eight cylinders,” Wilson added.
The Warriors basically put the game away with another big play with 4:23 showing on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Davis capped off a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a 40-yard touchdown jaunt. Bobby Beros booted the extra point for a 19-0 BT lead.
“We came out and kept our focus,” Thompson said when asked about halftime adjustments. “We did make some adjustments on offense and defense. We knew that we were up 12-0 and that was not a good lead. We just turned in a heck of a defensive effort tonight. We were able to shut down Joey Wheeler and that’s not an easy task.”
Davis then put the Warriors in prime position after he intercepted a Miley pass and returned it to the Trail 33. A 43-yard run by Bobby Beros on first down moved the chains to the SHS 24.
Following a 13-yard run by Bobby Beros moments later, Davis hooked up with senior wideout Timmy Nealey for a 13-yard score. Bobby tacked on the point-after for a 26-0 advantage at the 2:19 mark.
The Warriors added their final score of the night on a 46-yard punt return by Bond-Zielinski. Beros put the kick through the uprights with 3:51 left in the game for the 33-0 final.
Davis led Trail with 156 yards and three TDs on 13 carries. Davis had 72 yards passing and a touchdown toss. Bobby Beros had 76 yards on seven carries while Steve Beros had 27 yards on six carries. Bond-Zielinski had three catches for 58 yards and had five punt returns for 81 yards.
Wheeler had 53 yards on 24 carries and pulled in two receptions for 27 yards for the Zeps. Miley finished the game 6-of-22 for 47 yards.
Even though he watched his Zeps drop their second game, Wilson didn’t offer a negative word about his team.
“I’m still proud of our kids,” Wilson said. “We’ve got four games left and we’re going to regroup and head down to Monroe Central next Friday ready to play. We’re not out of the PVC race just yet because you never know what will happen.”
With the key PVC win under his belt, Thompson said it helped his squad, but also noted that there were still four weeks left in the regular season.
“Absolutely this helps us,” the BT mentor noted. “We’re one of three or four teams in the hunt. Luckily, we got through one of the tough ones tonight.”
NEXT–Both teams are on the road on Friday in PVC tilts, with Buckeye Trail traveling to Beverly to face Fort Frye and Shenandoah heading to Woodsfield to meet Monroe Central. Kickoff at both sites is 7:30 p.m.