Austin Snell shows a classic stiffarm to Bark River-Harris tacklers as he returns a punt 69 yards for a touchdown during the second quarter of Forest Park’s win Aug. 30.
HARRIS—Bark River-Harris won the early stages of its game against Forest Park here Aug. 30. The Broncos played well on defense, capitalized on a Trojan turnover and led 6-0 as the first quarter ended.
But the rules say you have to play four quarters, and the Trojans dominated the last three, scoring 39 points on their way to a 39-6 nonconference victory in their season opener.
Forest Park lost the ball on downs early and then gave up a fumble—both in the Broncos end—in the first quarter. BRH recovered, and a 26-yard sweep by Alex Mathias and an 18-yard Jorden Sodergren pass got them to the 3, where Sodergren scored on a sneak. Broncos, 6-0!
Two plays after the kickoff, the teams changed ends, and so did momentum. On the first play of the second quarter, Trojans QB Jeff Johnson broke through the middle on a sneak, into the clear and dashed away for a 43-yard TD. Tied, 6-6.
A short Bronco punt set up FP at the BRH 32, and four pitches to Austin Snell led to another Johnson TD on a three-yard keeper. 12-6. The Trojan defense quickly forced a punt: Snell caught it at the Trojan 31 and dashed back 69 yards for another score. A two-point pass to Lee Graff put FP up 20-6 at halftime.
FP stung the Broncos right away in the second half. On the first play, Snell took a pitch around the right side for 56 yards and a score. 27-6. Bark River came back with two first downs and faced 3rd and 8 at the Trojan 33—but as a Bronco back was held up by Trojan tacklers, Graff stole the ball and ran it back 67 yards for a TD. 33-6.
The Trojans’ one long drive of the night led to their final points. Johnson’s passes to Connor Kezerle (17 yards) and Raymond Tomasik (24 yards) set up Snell’s 3-yard TD run, which made it 39-8 early in the fourth quarter.
For the night, FP only had a 7-6 lead in first downs but a big 276-112 margin in total yards.
After the game, Coach Bill Santilli didn’t seem concerned about the early struggles, which he attributed to first game jitters.
“In the second quarter we settled in, the offensive line figured out how to block. Jeff Johnson springing the quarterback sneaks up the middle, Austin Snell with the punt return for the touchdown.
“Then you can step back and breathe a sigh of relief. Now we can work on some things without the pressure of playing catch-up.
“We blocked better, we tackled better, we executed better. And our playmakers made plays on both sides of the ball.”
FP team: 276 yards (36-235 rushing, 2-5-41 passing). BRH team: 112 yards (36-92 rushing, 3-9-20 passing). First downs: FP 7, BRH 6.
Rushing: Austin Snell, 18-124; Jeff Johnson, 5-78. Receiving: Raymond Tomasik, 1-25.
All-purpose yards: 152 (Snell, 69-yard punt return; Lee Graff, 67-yard strip and return).
Defense (tackles-assists): Adam Hilberg, 8-2; Daniel Nocerini, 7-1; Lee Graff, 6-1; Tomasik, 3-5. Sack: Johnson.
• The Trojans make their home debut on Sept. 6 when they host Norway. The Knights lost to Northern Elite 40-22 in their season opener.
Trojans 0 20 13 6 -- 39
Broncos 6 0 0 0 -- 6