There were moments of brilliance mixed in with breakdowns for Bradwell Institute in Friday’s 34-24 loss to Winsdor Forest at Olvey Field.
The Tigers, who fell to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in Region 3-AAAAA, showed on their first possession of the night just how tough a season it has been. They advanced 60 yards in textbook fashion, only to stall after a holding call and a fourth-down carry by quarterback Myrese Cobb came up short and gave the Knights the ball at their own 31.
“Offensively, we moved the ball and controlled the ball running but, again, our biggest problem is mental mistakes and that has been our nemesis all year,” Tigers coach Jim Walsh said. “It just seems like it happens at the most inopportune times. That opening drive was as pretty as you can draw it up and then we get a holding call. You can’t do those kinds of things especially in a situation where every point is important. We need every point we can get. We have to play the opponent and not ourselves.”
Windsor Forest took over and quarterback Aaron Hughes handed the ball to Esai Morrison, who broke open a 39-yard run. Hughes later tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Eugene Irvin.
On the Tigers’ next possession, Cobb tossed a screen pass, which bounced off his receiver’s hand and into the arms of a Knight defender, putting Windsor Forest back on the field at the Tigers’ 32. Three plays and a BI offsides later, the Knights had their second touchdown of the night on a 2-yard run from Hughes.
Bradwell got on the board on their second possession with Greg Howard, Quonte Haggray and DeAnte Day helping the Tigers move the ball 78 yards to the Knights’ 2-yard line before Day scored to cut Windsor Forest’s lead to 14-6. Robert Miller’s point-after attempt went wide.
The Knights increased their lead to 20-6 on a 38-yard TD pass from Hughes to Mark James. Hughes scored again in the third quarter on a 1-yard run to put the Knights up 27-6. Bradwell cut the lead to 27-12 on a pass from Cobb to Day, but the extra point try never got off the ground when the snap failed.
In the fourth quarter the Tigers were flagged for a face mask, off-sides and holding, which led to the Knights earning a touchdown on a 6-yard run by Hughes.
“It’s been our problem but the thing we need to look at is that the kids are playing hard,” Walsh said about the penalties. “I’m proud of the way the kids are playing … and they want to win and I want a win for them more than anything.”
The effort is there, the coach said, taking up for a team that has had more downs than ups this fall.
“The only thing I care about is these guys that come out on this field and play for us because they are doing everything they possibly can to win games,” he said.
The Tigers made a comeback bid that started when Marsalis Jackson returned the ensuing kick-off 90 yards for a touchdown.
Bradwell came up short on a two-point conversion, but on their next possession the Tigers scored off a 7-yard run by Haggray and had a shot at pulling to within 8 points with time left to play.
Instead, trailing 34-24, the Tigers ran in a 8-point conversion, only to see it erased by a penalty.
The Knights stopped the second try at 8 points short of the goal line, then held on for the win.
“Everybody wants to win games, me more than anybody around. We are trying to do everything we can to remedy some of the problems but we haven’t gotten there yet. But I’m optimistic because I keep seeing good things every week. With the type of season we’ve had up to this point we have to find the positive, and our goal is to win the last three football games, period. End of story. End of sentence,” Walsh said.
The Tigers host Jenkins for homecoming Oct. 14.