The Stafford Indians offense can be quite explosive without giving any advance warning, or it can grind it out with the best of them.
Both traits were displayed in the fourth quarter as the Indians defeated Brooke Point 13–7 Friday night at Dr. Lloyd A. Busch Memorial Stadium.
Besides posting its first Commonwealth District victory, Stafford enjoyed a festive night as the halftime show featured the ring-awarding ceremony for last spring’s Class 5 state championship baseball team. A majority of said players, along with their coaches and wives, in attendance.
“If I have the effort, I want to do everything I can to get the first down, make the stop [on defense]. If I can help the team, I want to be there,” said senior Hayden Mesimer, a standout at linebacker and also a key contributor during the Indians’ final drive of the game. “We want to keep the momentum going, no matter what we do.”
The Indians (2–5, 1–2) clung to a 7–0 lead through three quarters before both teams exhibited a winner-take-all attitude during a thrilling fourth quarter. Facing a fourth and 28 from the Indians’ 34, the Black–Hawks’ Noah Sanders threw a perfect strike to Christian Taylor between several defenders for the tying touchdown.
And the Indians answered right back. After an unsuccessful onside kick, Stafford quarterback Jack Koetter handed off to Kiori Edwards on first down and the junior scant back did the rest, racing down the home sidelines for a 50-yard TD.
“I told the O-line, ‘This next play we have to score and they will put their heads right back down,’ “ Koetter said. “All I saw was Kiori was gone and I stuck my arms in the air and shot my arrow as I saw him score. He’s so fast and agile. Once he’s past the linebackers, he’s very dangerous.”
The excitement was far from over, though. The Indians’ PAT attempt was blocked, leaving the score 13–7 with 10:13 remaining. The Black–Hawks (1–6, 0–3) managed a pair of first downs, then elected to punt in an effort to put the Indians in a deep hole, succeeding as their punt was down at the 3-yard-line. Brooke Point banked on its defense holding once more to give the offense a shot at a go-ahead score.
Edwards, Mesimer and Koetter took turns advancing the pigskin, picking up five first downs and eating up the remaining 7:18 left in the game. Edwards finished with a game-high 69 yards on six carries, while Koetter completed 4-of-9 passes for 62 yards, including a 43-yard TD strike in the first quarter to Jordan Williams.
Brooke Point benefited from strong efforts by Sanders and change-of-pace back A.J. Maxwell, who finished with 55 yards on 10 carries. Sanders, a sophomore, had one of his best games of the season, passing for 175 yards and showing flashes of his running skill.
“Effort and enthusiasm,” Black–Hawks’ coach Dwight Hazelwood responded concerning positives for his club. “Tonight was the night we thought Noah could release what he does [well].”
Both teams are on the road next Friday. Stafford will visit Riverbend while Brooke Point travels to North Stafford.
Staff—Jordan Williams 43-yard pass from Jack Koetter(Blake Childress kick).
Brooke Pt—Christian Taylor 34-yard pass from Noah Sanders(Peter Rolando kick).
Staff—Kiori Edwards(kick failed).
RUSHING: Brooke Point— AJ MAxwell 10-55; Peter Rolando 12-37; Noah Sanders 14-33; Michael Riley 1-5; Christian Taylor 1-2. Stafford— Kiori Edwards 6-69, Td; Devin Lardge 6-43; Jack Koetter 15-39; Hayden Mesimer 5-38; Peyton Woodson 2-6; Vincent Mcgovern 1-3; Brian Glemm-Horton 2-1; team 1-( -2).
PASSING: Brooke Point— Sanders 8-15-0, 173 yards, Td. Stafford— Koetter 4-9-0, 62 yards, Td.
RECEIVING: Brooke Point— Adam Rodgers 2-38; Ryan Murphy 1-62; Taylor 1-34, Td; Maxwell 1-30; Avante Nation 1-9; Ian Hill 1-3; Bryce Graf 1-(-1). Stafford— Jordan Williams 2-49, Td; Nathan Sullivan 1-9; Edwards 1-4.