‘Flyin’ Bryan’ rushes for 350 yards, 5 TDs
Mother Nature provided the lightning for Friday night’s football opener at Art Sanders Field at West Washington. North Harrison sophomore running back Bryan Schroeder provided the thunder.
With threatening weather looming and lightning flashing off in the southwestern sky, Schroeder stole the 2005 debut with a school-record 350 yards rushing, five touchdowns and a PAT run. If that weren’t enough, he also threw a pass of 31 yards that nearly went for another touchdown.
‘He’s a hoss. He’s good, and everyone saw that tonight. He’s running for a lot more power than he used to run, too. He used to be just fast,’ North coach Jason Mullis said. ‘The line was just opening huge holes for him. He was getting to the secondary without even being touched, and when that happens, it’s pretty much over. The line did a heck of a job.’
Mullis made sure to praise his starting O-line of seniors Brandon Heilig and Zac Sullivan, juniors Troy Mayfield and (tight end) Wes Kirk, and sophomores Stanley Robertson and Andrew Kitchell, who all helped North power to a 44-22 victory against the host Senators.
It’s only the second time since 1995 that North has won its opener. West Washington was the victim then, too, 28-16 in 2001.
Schroeder’s rushing effort eclipsed the former yardage mark of 306 yards on 36 carries, set by Gary Fessel.
The Cougars wasted no time jumping on the Senators, scoring on their first play from scrimmage.
Isaac Davis took a handoff from Michael Dean, bounced up the middle and broke free for a 75-yard jaunt to the end zone. Dustin Robertson added the two-point kick for a 7-0 lead.
After forcing a turnover on downs, North struck again on its third offensive play of the game. This time, Schroeder dashed 62 yards. Robertson’s pooch set the first quarter score at 14-0.
The Senators took advantage of a North mistake and punched one in at the 3:41 mark of the second period. Senior Michael Gettlefinger dove in from one yard out and junior quarterback Ricky Lincks connected with classmate Landon Hembree to trim the visiting lead to 14-8.
After a nice runback on the kickoff by Zach Anderson, North’s Davis had a 33-yard run. Three plays later, Schroeder broke a couple of tackles and sprinted to the end zone. He tacked on a two-point run to push the advantage back to 22-8.
Just before the half, the Cougars tacked on three more points as Robertson blasted a kick through the uprights from 29 yards out.
North led, 25-8.
The visitors ‘ namely Schroeder ‘ did their most damage in the third period.
The sophomore had his number called just three times, but he took advantage of them by scoring on all three plays. He scored from 63, 60 and 80 yards (he had 203 yards rushing in the third quarter alone) to give North an insurmountable 44-8 lead.
The rest of the game was academic.
With 8:38 left, Jared Lincks hauled in a 21-yard pass from Ricky Lincks, setting the final score.
North gained 10 first downs, rushed for 509 yards, threw for 42, and had four fumbles, losing three. The Cougars were penalized seven times for 72 yards.
The last two statistics were countered by the swift strikes.
‘We can score quick. Tonight we tried to show that we had other people besides Bryan. Isaac Davis had over 100 yards on two carries, and a touchdown. We wanted to show we’re not just Schroeder. We’ve got other weapons. Brendon (Zellers) is probably our second-best back, and he didn’t get a chance to show what he could do,’ Mullis said.
Zellers twisted an ankle in the first half and was out for the night. Mullis used freshman Josh Cheathan in Zellers’ spot on defense.
‘He sprained it pretty good,’ said Mullis. ‘I think he’ll be okay for next week. We just didn’t want to take any chances with him. He’s a tough kid.’
Defensively for the Cougars, Ryan Doss had one interception and five tackles, Davis had 17 tackles, Andrew Johnson 15, and Zellers had nine take-downs before his injury.
North held West Washington to 203 yards total offense (100 rushing, 103 passing). The hosts, led by Josh Allen’s 92 yards rushing, gained 14 first downs and were hit for three penalties for 15 yards.
North Harrison opens its home slate Friday night against No. 6-ranked (Class 1A) Perry Central.