NOKESVILLE — Warren County quarterback Bryce Post could only watch from the sidelines.
With the game hanging in the balance the junior had to sit out a play due to injury and Brentsville turned the one play into a game-sealing touchdown and a 47-35 victory over Warren County in Class 3 Northwestern District football action on Friday night.
With the Wildcats trailing 41-35, Post was a little shaken up after a 10-yard run to the Warren County 30-yard line. He had to come out of the game for a play and Warren County head coach moved senior Karenzo Hogue from wide receiver to quarterback. Hogue ran for six yards on the play with his offensive line helping push the pile forward. However, Brentsville senior Matthew Basala reached out and stripped the ball away from Hogue and went 36 yards for the touchdown with 2:32 left in the game.
“It was frustrating, especially seeing what happened,” Post said of the play. “(Hogue) was giving it all that he had. He was pushing guys. It was rough.”
Bush said it was just a good play from Brentsville and he had confidence in Hogue when Post went out.
“Obviously, it’s tough whenever a player of his caliber comes out of the game,” Bush said. “It’s tough but (Hogue) stepped in there. He’s a quarterback, also. He’s been playing wide receiver. But unfortunately, they made a great play. The ball didn’t roll our way.”
Post was back at quarterback for the next series, but the Wildcats were unable to move the ball and the drive ended with an interception in the final seconds.
Most of the game was an offensive shootout. Brentsville opened up an early 14-0 lead. The Tigers scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 61-yard run by junior quarterback Guy Hayes.
After a three-and-out on Warren County’s first possession, the Tigers struck again. Hayes capped off a seven-play, 73-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 edge with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats (2-5, 1-1 Class 3 Northwestern) struggled to get their running game going early in the game, so Bush decided to switch things up and used five wide receivers with no tailback for most of the remainder of the game and it paid off.
Post led the team on a 74-yard drive, connecting with junior wide receiver Logan DeHaven for a 47-yard touchdown pass with 5:43 left in the first quarter. DeHaven caught the ball at the 35 and made a few defenders miss and ran it in from there.
“Coming into the game we wanted to establish a run game, but their defensive game plan obviously shot that down quick,” Bush said. “We switched up our game plan real quick and tried to spread them out a little bit and it started working. And I think the receivers and the offensive line did a great job. We did everything we could, we just didn’t come out on top.”
Warren County’s defense stepped up big on the next possession. Warren County senior linebacker Patrick Coffron recovered a fumble by Hayes at the Brentsville 45 with 2:49 left in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats went 45 yards on nine plays with Post connecting with Kohl Baugher for a 26-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-2 play to tie the game at 14 with 10:03 left in the first half.
Warren County kept the momentum going as Coffron fumbled pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff. The Wildcats went 41 yards on 10 plays with Post taking it in from the 1 for a 21-14 lead with 5:42 left in the opening half.
Brentsville (4-3, 2-0 Class 3 Northwestern) came right back with back-to-back touchdowns to close out the half. The Tigers went 53 yards in eight plays with a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back Brady Hoad to cut the deficit to 21-20 with 3:12 remaining.
After forcing a Warren County punt, which went only 10 yards, the Tigers scored on a four-play, 18-yard drive. Hayes scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to give Brentsville a 28-21 halftime lead.
The Wildcats used eight plays to go 65 yards to tie the game in the third quarter. Post connected from 32 yards out with DeHaven, who stretched to make a nice catch and then reached the ball out again at the end zone for the score before going down with an injury. DeHaven did return later in the game.
“I saw he was open,” Post said of the play. “I trust my receivers. ...We executed our little signal and it felt great knowing that we were on the same page like we always are.”
The Tigers came right back with a five-play, 75-yard drive. Hayes connected with Brentsville senior wide receiver Kevin Peterson for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 2:59 left in the third quarter.
Baugher returned the ensuing kickoff to the Brentsville 22. Two plays later, Post scrambled around to avoid pressure and then rifled a pass to a wide-open Isaiah Frame at the back of the end zone to tie the game at 35 with 1:57 left in the third quarter.
“I just had to do a scramble drill, we practice it, so I guess it pays off,” Post said. “‘Try to keep your eyes down field’ that’s what they tell the quarterback. So I saw Isaiah (Frame) back there. And so I gave him the ball and he made the catch.”
The Tigers went 54 yards on seven plays to take the lead for good. Facing a fourth-and-5 from the Warren County 11, Hayes found senior wide receiver Yuri Smaltz in the back of the end zone for a 41-35 lead with 10:39 left.
Both teams failed to convert on fourth down on the next two possessions, setting up the Tigers’ big defensive play that sealed the win.
“I think offensively we played awesome,” Bush said. “Defensively, we allowed them to make a few plays. But I think we stepped up at the end. We competed for four quarters. Brentsville made a few more plays than we did at the end of the game.”
Post ran for 93 yards and threw for 203 yards on 15-of-31 passing and either ran or threw for all five scores. DeHaven caught three passes for 86 yards, and had two touchdowns. Brentsville outgained Warren County 374-314.
Bush said he was proud of the way his team competed throughout the game.
“Usually it seemed like in the previous few games we would play hard a quarter, lay off a quarter, play hard a quarter or whatever,” Bush said. “But I think we put all four quarters together and we fought. And you could tell these kids are drained. It was a hard-nosed battle. And I’m very proud of our guys.”