EAST LIVERPOOL, OH- Looking at the preview of the Beaver Local LaBrae matchup to start the 2019 high school season, most people would assume LaBrae would win. After all, LaBrae returns 11 starters from a team that won 10 games & advanced to the second round of the state playoffs last year while Beaver Local went 4-6 last season & has only 5 seniors on its roster.
But as famous sports broadcaster, Chris Berman would say ‘that’s why play the games.’
Thanks to exceptional special teams & 90 yards in penalties by LaBrae, the Beavers were able to upset the Vikings 21-14 Friday Night at Beaver Local High School.
LaBrae got the ball first & drove to the Beavers 22 before turning the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass on 4th down. The Beavers would drive to the LaBrae 17 thanks to a 15-yard face mask penalty & a 30-yard pass from QB Ethan Lewis to WR Logan Krulik. Junior Chase Flati came on to kick a 34-yard field goal & the Beavers took a 3-0 first-quarter lead. This would be the only points scored by either team in the opening frame.
Early in the second quarter, LaBrae would have to punt from its own end zone. The punt was partially blocked & the Beavers would get the ball at the LaBrae 23. The Beavers would only need 2 plays to score as Lewis ran to the 1-yard line & the next play running back Jacob Kane would score from a yard out to make the score 10-0. Midway through the second quarter, LaBrae would need just 1 play to finally score. On a first & 10 from its own 43, the Viking attempted double reverse. Timmon Cayson fumbled the handoff but quickly recovered as he outran the entire Beaver Local defense as he raced 57 yards for the touchdown on his only touch of the night to make the score 10-7. On the ensuing kickoff, Caleb White returned the kickoff 62 yards from the Beaver Local 10 to the LaBrae 28. The Beavers would drive to the Vikings 2 before calling on Chase Flati to kick a 19-yard field goal, his second of the game, to take a 13-7 halftime lead.
The Vikings would take their only lead of the game midway through the third quarter. The Vikings started this drive on the 50-yard line thanks to a 5-yard punt by Flati. The Vikings would drive to the Beavers 29 before Devin Carter scored on a 29-yard touchdown run, giving LaBrae a 14-13 lead. Carter would finish the night with 62 yards on 7 carries. The Beavers would retake the lead on its next possession with a big 36-yard pass from Lewis to WR James Monte, which would be Monte’s only reception of the game. On a 3rd & goal from the 6, Ethan Lewis would find the front corner of the end zone to give the Beavers the lead. Tanner Johnson, who would lead all rushers with 91 yards on 18 carries, was successful on the 2 point conversion to make the score 21-14.
LaBrae had 2 chances to tie the game in the 4th quarter; the first was midway through the 4th. Devin Carter fumbled & the ball recovered by senior Nick Wukotich. The Beavers would drive to the LaBrae 7 before attempting a field goal. But the attempt was blocked & the Vikings would recover at the 30. LaBrae would drive to the Beaver Local 30 with less than a minute left when Viking QB Dominic Harris was picked off by Wyatt Loy with 18 seconds left, preserving the victory.
LaBrae is now 0-1 and will play Garrettsville Garfield next Friday. Dominic Harris was 10-20 for 76 with an interception & had 67 rushing yards on 8 carries.
Beaver Local is now 1-0 and will host Akron Kenmore Garfield next Friday. Ethan Lewis was 7-12 for 92 yards & 28 yards on 2 carries with a rushing touchdown.
*Story Contributed by Jason Hannum