By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
Both Bolivar-Richburg and Wellsville were coming off week one victories that each saw them provide a heroic fourth quarter comeback over the road.
With both squads on a collision course towards their meeting in the Lion’s Den the following week, the Wolverines used two big touchdowns from Tavyn MacDonell to propel ahead of Frewsburg, while the Lions scored 22 unanswered points after previously falling behind the eight-ball by a 26-6 count to C.G. Finney/Northstar.
It was safe to say that the rivals, separated by just a short 15 minute trip over the summit, were ready to battle it out Friday night.
In that battle, one constant would remain evident — Tavyn MacDonell could not be stopped.
In front of a packed crowd for Wellsville’s home opener, the Bolivar-Richburg junior carried over all the momentum he helped build in the team’s fourth quarter from last week and used every bit of it in the team’s first four drives, scoring four consecutive touchdowns from short distance while the defense froze the Lions in their tracks each step of the way to unlock a massive 44-8 road victory on Friday to move to 2-0 on the season.
Bolivar-Richburg (2-0) took complete control right out of the gate after winning the coin toss, using a great kick return from Trey Buchholz to set up shop for the opening drive right near midfield. After a series of rushes by a committee consisting of Buchholz, MacDonell and Caden Allen in the backfield, the Wolverines were able to put the finishing touches on their first score from the goal line by MacDonell to claim an 8-0 lead after the first of four successful two-point tries.
The Wolverines defense would turn right around and hold Wellsville (1-1) near a complete standstill for much of the night, as the Lions recorded only eight first downs the entire night. With scores of three, four and eight yards for MacDonell helping extend the visitor’s lead to 30-0, momentum was gained by the hosts with a stellar Brennen Geffers connection to JJ Howard on the slant.
With 5:17 to go, Geffers took the snap and laid a perfectly-placed ball straight to the breadbasket of Howard on the slant in towards the Wolverines defense, where he had nothing but open field straight in front of him from the Wellsville 15-yard line. It went down as an 85-yard touchdown — the longest play from scrimmage by either team in the game, to get on the board and end the shutout pitched by the Wolverines.
Even though they allowed the big pass downfield, Bolivar-Richburg would shake it off on the very next drive through a series of rushes, as well as a 23-yard pass play from Allen to Trevor Pforter to enter the Wellsville red zone. With it, Allen took the snap from center and kept it himself for a five-yard touchdown.
The first half was finished off right at the buzzer on a seven-yard score from Allen to Maddox Davison after a turnover-on-downs by the Lions helped pin them deep, with the drive beginning at the Lions 5-yard line.
When it was all said and done, Bolivar-Richburg recorded 302 total yards on offense, the majority of which came from Allen, who had 13 carries for 120 yards and his score. MacDonell finished with 15 rushes himself for 84 yards and his four touchdowns. On defense, Zach Mitchell recorded 7.5 tackles to go with a sack, while Kingston Loucks had five tackles. MacDonell chipped in with 4.5 tackles.
The Lions were led by a strong passing performance under center from Geffers, who went 11-of-23 for 264 yards and his touchdown to Howard late in the second quarter. Howard finished as Wellsville’s leading receiver with four catches and 149 yards with the score. Trenton Green caught four passes for 68 yards.
Both teams are back on the gridiron Thursday night in a pair of 7 p.m. kick-offs on their respective home fields, with the Wolverines now beginning to prepare for their home opening battle with the Pembroke Dragons at Dunsmore-Latimer Field, while Wellsville looks to regroup and rebound with a visit in store from Allegany-Limestone.
Bolivar-Richburg 14 30 0 0 – 44
Wellsville 0 8 0 0 – 8
B-R – Tavyn MacDonell 1-yard run, 2-pts good (8-0 B-R).
B-R – Tavyn MacDonell 3-yard run, 2-pts failed (14-0 B-R).
B-R – Tavyn MacDonell 4-yard run, 2-pts good (22-0 B-R).
B-R – Tavyn MacDonell 8-yard run, 2-pts good (30-0 B-R).
WLSV – JJ Howard 85-yard pass from Brennen Geffers, 2-pts good (30-8 B-R).
B-R – Caden Allen 4-yard run, 2-pts good (38-8 B-R).
B-R – Maddox Davison 7-yard pass from Caden Allen, 2-pts failed (44-8 B-R).
Total Yards: B-R 302, WLSV 273.
Passing: B-R 60, WLSV 264.
Rushing: B-R 242, WLSV 9.
First Downs: B-R 22, WLSV 8.
Turnovers: B-R 1, WLSV 0.
Penalties: B-R 6-47, WLSV 10-52.
Punts: B-R 0-0, WLSV 1-27.
T.O.P: B-R 30:10, WLSV 17:50.