Bradwell Institute put up a valiant fight in the second half of their home football game against Warren County Friday night.
The Tiger team trailed by 24 points at the start of the third quarter and Warren County looked ready to score again.
But something shifted. The Tiger defense went to work causing turnovers. The Tiger offense started clicking. But an untimely fumble with less than a minute remaining in the game ended the Tigers’ chance of tying the game or nabbing a win.
The Bradwell boys fell 24-16.
The Tigers ran into trouble early on a muff kick return that let Screaming Devil Timothy Seals pick up the ball and run it back for 65 yards and a touchdown. Warren County converted for two and were up 8-0.
The Devils were on the board again after the offense drove down field setting up a one-yard TD run by Devil Jarvis Collins. The Warren team again went for two and converted.
In the second quarter of play the Devils capitalized on a Tiger fumble and, once again, converted for two taking a 24-0 lead into half-time.
The Tiger defense decided enough was enough shutting down the Devils’ offense throughout the second half of action. They pressured the quarterback had four tackles for loss of yard in the second half and forced a critical fumble.
Tiger Christian Evans had a series of runs where he appeared to be unstoppable. That culminated with a 34 yard touchdown run by Evans late in the third quarter for the Bradwell boys. They showed the Devils they could get the job done as well by converting for two points.
In the fourth quarter the home team defense continued to push hard. Forcing the punt the offense went to work but were soon in penalty trouble with back-to-back calls. On third and 39 Tiger quarterback Quin McMassey was looking for a receiver downfield. Seeing an opening in the middle he darted forward, pushed through two tackles and ran 50 yards to the goal line.
The Tigers converted for two and trailed 24-16.
Time was starting to become a factor and the Screaming Devils knew they had the clock on their side. But this is when the Tiger defense forced that big fumble and recovered the ball.
This would be the chance for the Tiger offense to march downfield, score and tie the game by converting for two.
But penalties plagued the offense during this last drive. And it’s also when turnover reared its ugly head. McMassey was on the Devils’ 35 when he got hit hard and dropped the ball. The Tigers recovered but it forced fourth and long. On the next play McMassey found a receiver and went to make the pass but was hit before his arm was in forward motion. That fumble was recovered by the Devils who ate up the 40 seconds remaining and took the win.
In all the Tigers had four fumbles and 11 penalties that cost them 90 yards.
But the tenacity if the no-quit Tigers was apparent.
McMassey was 4-of-9 for 46 passing yards and he rushed for 56 yards on 10 carries plus converted a two-point extra point. Sophomore Keron
Mason rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries. Evans had 45 yards on 4 carries and Imari Hurte had 13 yards on 6 carries. Hurte had two receptions for 19 yards and O’Brien Nobles had two for 27 yards.
Leading the defense were Joshua Ingram and Willie Milner.
The Tigers will host Tattnall County Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Battle Creek Warriors are 2-1 and are coming off a 48-7 win against Beach High.