HARROD – Taking over a football program can be a work in progress.
After Friday’s season-opener between Bath and host Allen East, both first-year coaches – Bath’s Bryant Miller and Allen East’s Wes Schroeder – took plenty from their respective team’s performances.
Coming into Friday’s matchup, the last time Allen East defeated Bath was the 2007 campaign. The annual backyard rivalry had a four-year hiatus from 2013 to 2016.
Allen East broke the string Friday night. The Mustangs got up early and held off Bath for a 21-14 nonleague victory at Bill Goodwin Field.
Allen East’s offense rolled up 341 total yards (150 rushing, 191 passing), while its defensive unit held Bath to 196 yards of offense (140 rushing, 56 passing).
“We didn’t spend a lot of time on wins and losses,” Schroeder said about the preseason. “Our kids just knew that we haven’t beaten Bath since 2007. It’s no secret – there’s a little rivalry here. I didn’t have to sell it to them. They wanted it on their own. I just knew we had to do some good things to make it happen. We’re trying to create something here, and we only have five seniors. Our kids really wanted this.”
The game did not start off on a positive note for Bath.
Bath fumbled on its opening possession. Allen East took full advantage of the opportunity and mounted a six-play, 48-yard scoring drive, capped off with a 13-yard touchdown run by Jacob Treglia (13 rushes, 67 yards) to give the Mustangs the early 6-0 lead.
The Mustangs scored on their second possession as well.
Allen East traveled 51 yards in seven plays on its second possession. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Clum (8 of 16 passing, 191 yards, two touchdowns) found Cole Fletcher (four catches, 130 yards, two TDs) in the back part of the end zone for a 17-yard scoring strike. With the point after by Bradden Crumrine, the Mustangs led 13-0.
Allen East hung onto its 13-0 advantage until the end of the first quarter. Bath struggled, recording just one first down in the first 12 minutes of action.
However, early in the second quarter, Bath mounted a 16-play, 79-yard scoring drive to cut the deficit to 13-7. Quarterback Lex Boedicker (3-of-12, 56 yards) found Caleb Buerger in the right corner of the end zone for a 26-yard TD pass.
Allen East managed to strike quickly before the end of the first half.
On the second play of the late second-quarter drive, Clum found Fletcher streaking down the sideline for a 63-yard TD pass. On the two-point conversion, Crumrine got the pitch from Clum, and then Crumrine found Clum open for the reception in the end zone, giving the Mustangs a 21-7 lead, which held up until the halftime break.
In the first half, Allen East reeled off 217 total offensive yards (59 rushing, 158 passing). Bath, on the other hand, managed just 122 yards of offense (96 rushing, 26 passing).
However, Bath made some adjustments at the break.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to 21-14 at the 3:09 mark of the third quarter, on a 3-yard TD run by Tre Johnson (29 rushes, 84 yards), capping off a 10-play, 45-yard scoring drive for Bath.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Miller said. “We were doing a really bad job, offensively. Their linebackers were flying to the ball. We were not getting off of our double teams; and those guys were running free and making tackles.”
Miller feels optimistic about his young squad.
“We made some plays in the second half, but we left some on the field – that in the future, we think we will make. We have a lot of young guys out there. For most of them, it was their first pressure game. We’re going to get better.”
Schroeder knew how important it was to start with this win, though.
“I felt like we had a good summer; and it shows. We practice that way all the time. They were in rhythm. We called a lot of trick plays. We knew we had to get this one, and we did. We’re happy as heck.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.