Friday Roundup: B-R scores 22 unanswered in 4th quarter as MacDonell’s go-ahead score, Mitchell’s pick-6 pace Homecoming win over Red Jacket; GV/Belfast boys rebound at home over Lions
By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
BOLIVAR — Homecoming weekend. It is perhaps one of the most exciting times to take place at the beginning of the school year.
Friday night, it hit Bolivar-Richburg in full stride.
The Wolverines have had some exciting contests in years past on Homecoming Eve under the lights. The most prominent one of them all came nearly seven years ago, when an incredible fourth quarter comeback against their archrival Cuba-Rushford locked up a 21-20 victory in the game’s final minutes to determine major positioning in the Sectional race at that point in time.
Tasked with a challenge presented by Red Jacket in this year’s Homecoming matchup, the aim was to leave last week’s heartbreaking defeat to the hands of Caledonia-Mumford/Byron-Bergen in the rearview mirror in the biggest of ways possible.
In order to do it, they would have to engage in an old school, old-fashioned, wire-to-wire battle until the very end.
After Red Jacket finished off a scoring drive that elapsed from the middle of the third quarter into the beginning stages of the fourth, the deficit that Bolivar-Richburg had now faced was 10 — the largest of the game for either side. The Wolverines were not prepared to let another game slip away from their grasp.
Head coach Steve Smith said something to his team that reverberated throughout the course of time — It was a game they had to fight for.
And fight they did.
Since what was the final Red Jacket score of the game, the Wolverines went on a rampage by scoring from every facet of the game — special teams, offense, defense, you name it. The three big scores allowed them to cash in on 22 unanswered points, with the last two coming in the last 27 seconds of regulation, taking the lead away from their opposition with a goal-line stand before cementing it permanently on defense to send the packed Bolivar-Richburg crowd into a frenzy to end the night, as they proclaimed Homecoming victory with a 36-24 comeback win.
Before an unbelievable comeback was mounted by the Wolverines (3-2), both teams would trade scoreless barbs across the opening quarter while the hosts were in the midst of an even more unbelievable second drive that would occupy most of the time across the first and into the beginning stages of the second quarter, where they finished off a 96-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown from Caden Allen to break the ice in style.
Red Jacket would find their way into the end zone themselves just past the halfway mark with an answer from their own rush attack, as Micah Harshfield waltzed into the end zone on a bounce to the outside from 31 yards out to tie the game at eight each side.
Bolivar-Richburg’s defense would come alive towards the tail end of the frame, picking up a big stop on Red Jacket to force a punt, garnering possession at their own 40-yard line with 2:40 left to go. After a holding call forced the Wolverines backwards, they would reverse course and go back down the field on the very next play with Allen’s arm, connecting with Kingston Loucks in stride on a cross across field for 70 yards straight to the house to grab a 14-8 lead.
A lead they would continue to hold going into the break, as the defense kept Red Jacket at a complete standstill in their last two drives of the first half.
But the second half however, the visitors would march straight down the field on an opening possession that quickly opened the rest of the field ahead after a series of runs and a big defensive pass interference call against the Wolverines, as they finish off the drive with a 22-yard scamper from Harshfield to reclaim their first lead of the game.
Red Jacket’s next opportunity to strike came at the tail end of the third quarter when Matt Allen intercepted Caden Allen right at the line of scrimmage on the very first play of the ensuing drive to take back over on offense going into the fourth.
On the same possession, the visitors in white and red capitalized on a humongous 4th-and-8 call with some trickery, set up by a flea flicker back to Harshfield and down the field to a streaking Aldric Smith-Fee for 27 yards to branch out the advantage to 24-14.
But for the Wolverines, it was not the end of their story quite yet.
On the kickoff immediately following what would be Red Jacket’s last score of the game, Bolivar-Richburg would close the gap once again with some assistance on special teams. Deep to receive the kick was Trey Buchholz, who dug up the loose ball in front of him on the 20-yard line.
With it, he made several moves up the field, weaving outside and then back in and up the field where he went on to escape the opposition all the way for an 80-yard house call to cut the deficit to four.
An attempt to respond to the Buchholz score by Red Jacket was foiled by several penalties and a fumble to force them past midfield after having originally reached the red zone, giving the ball back to the Wolverines in the process whilst keeping all the momentum they had built on special teams.
From the 7:05 mark all the way down to 27 seconds left, the hosts in black worked endlessly all the way down field where they would cap off another long drive with a clutch score from Tavyn MacDonell, reaching the end zone from five yards out to give them the 28-24 lead.
It would leave time on the clock for Red Jacket in what would be their last drive of the game. But instead, it would last all of 10 seconds, as Harshfield threw it directly into the arms of Zach Mitchell, who raced straight back into the end zone for the 43-yard pick-6 to further cement the Homecoming victory for the home crowd in rebounding and resilient fashion.
Bolivar-Richburg recorded 233 total yards on offense, with Caden Allen’s 137 all-purpose yard performance paving the way towards Homecoming Offensive MVP honors.
On defense, that nomination was given to MacDonell, who provided even bigger damage aside from his go-ahead score in the waning seconds, recording a team-high 10.5 tackles to go with a sack.
Furthering the team’s cause on defense was Mitchell, who had 5.5 tackles to go with his interception, while Loucks and Allen each had 3.5 tackles.
The Wolverines now enter their bye week away from action, as they now spend time off to begin preparations for their next battle right back at Dunsmore-Latimer Field two weeks from now, welcoming the Holley Hawks to town on Senior Night in a 7 p.m. kickoff, October 13.
Red Jacket 0 8 8 8 – 24
Bolivar-Richburg 0 14 0 22 – 36
B-R – Caden Allen 4-yard run, 2-pts good (8-0 B-R)
RJ – Micah Harshfield 32-yard run, 2-pts good (8-8)
B-R – Kingston Loucks 70-yard pass from Caden Allen, 2-pts failed (14-8 B-R)
RJ – Micah Harshfield 22-yard run, 2-pts good (16-14 RJ)
RJ – Aldric Smith-Fee 27-yard pass from Micah Harshfield, 2-pts good (24-14 RJ)
B-R – Trey Buchholz 80-yard kickoff return, 2-pts failed (24-20 RJ)
B-R – Tavyn MacDonell 5-yard run, 2-pts good (26-24 B-R)
B-R – Zach Mitchell 43-yard interception return, 2-pts good (36-24 B-R)
Total Yards: RJ 233, B-R 233.
Passing: RJ 27, B-R 109.
Rushing: RJ 206, B-R 124.
First Downs: RJ 12, B-R 14.
Turnovers: RJ 1, B-R 1.
Penalties: RJ 11-94, B-R 7-84.
Punts: RJ 5, B-R 3.
T.O.P: RJ 31:39, B-R 23:12.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 4, Wellsville 2
BELFAST — It was just on Tuesday when the Lions of Wellsville came away with an enormous victory over Genesee Valley/Belfast on their home turf in shutout fashion. Now, the opportunity to perform a season-sweep was on the horizon to close out the week on Friday at the Rich Sullivan Athletic Complex in Belfast.
But this time around, Genesee Valley/Belfast came prepared behind Evan Turybury’s guidance, as the junior unleashed his fury on offense with a hat-trick performance, one of the goals coming bright and early against Wellsville to set the tone right away in what was a rebounding 4-2 victory to get back into the win column.
“I thought we responded well after they really took it to us Tuesday night,” GV/Belfast coach Mark Sullivan said. “We scored two minutes into the game, and the guys played with a lot more energy tonight. Evan played really well tonight, and we needed a game like that from him. Their keeper (Gavin Haggerty) made some excellent saves as well to keep them in it.”
All three of Turybury’s markers came in breakaway fashion, as the Genesee Valley/Belfast (6-4) offense was able to build a 2-1 lead over Wellsville at the break. Wyatt Weaver would score the final tally for the hosts, as he connected with the back of the net off a pass from Sean Mahon.
Both Wellsville (2-9) markers were scored by Aiden Cowburn on special teams, as he scored a penalty kick in each half to keep the Lions within distance of the hosts in black and white. In all, Genesee Valley/Belfast outshot the Lions by a 14-6 total count, with Kyle McCumiskey garnering the win with four saves.
Gavin Haggerty made 10 saves for the Lions on the opposite end of the field.
Both teams are back on the pitch Monday night, as Genesee Valley/Belfast heads back out on the road for a 5 p.m. visit to Bolivar-Richburg, while Wellsville hops on the bus again for a 6 p.m. ride to Keshequa.
Wellsville 3, Genesee Valley/Belfast 0
BELMONT — A dominant start to their night was something that the Wellsville Lady Lions never looked back on in their latest trip over the road on Friday, as they visited Genesee Valley/Belfast and returned home victorious in sweeping fashion, collecting the 25-13, 25-9, 25-15 victory.
A well-balanced offensive effort charged up a stellar, rebounding performance for the Lady Lions (5-2), with Natalie Adams setting the stage with her seven kills and five aces from the service line. Lindsay Stuck was not far behind, posting five kills and five aces of her own, while Makenna Dunbar capitalized on four kills and two aces in her return to action.
In addition, Morgaen Howe totaled four kills, one ace and one dig, while setter Maddy Parks was busy all around the floor making everything happen for the offense, handing out 20 assists to go with three blocks at the net.
Genesee Valley/Belfast (2-9) was paced by Liliana Porter-Long, who scored five digs on defense to pair with four kills and three blocks. Madison McKenzie chipped in with three kills, three digs and two more aces from the back line.
“It’s been a long week. Four games in the last five days with plenty of ups and downs, plus having to face Bolivar-Richburg and Wellsville back-to-back. We played very strong a lot of the time, but gave up large chunks of points from Wellsville’s tough serving,” said GV/Belfast coach Darren Bradt. “We really respond to those good teams, because they make us step up and when we make a play, we know we earned it. Overall, I think we ended on a good note.”
The action for both squads continues after the weekend, with Wellsville returning home to host Senior Night with a 7:30 p.m. first serve against Fillmore on Wednesday, while Genesee Valley/Belfast heads over the road for a 7:30 p.m. visit to Canisteo-Greenwood on Monday.
Wellsville vs Midlakes at Naples was rained out.