With starting quarterback Brad Cagle leaving the game early, the Briar Cliff football team rallied together to pick up an impressive 26-14 win over (RV) Hastings Saturday at Memorial Field.
Cagle was impressive in the first quarter, completing 3-of-4 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown to go along with 11 rushing yards before exiting the game on the first drive of the second quarter.
Cole Hanafan filled in nicely for the Blue and Gold, finishing the game 9-of-17 throwing for 172 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
The defense for the Cliff showed up yet again, pitching a first half shutout for the third straight game. The Broncos managed just 76 yards in the first two quarters as Briar Cliff led at the break 20-0.
“I’m proud of our team and the effort,” BC head coach Dennis Wagner said.
The deficit at the break was nothing new for Hastings as the Broncos came in to the contest 2-0, despite trailing at the half in each previous contest. Hastings rallied to win after being down by double digits in each of the first two games and looked to spark another rally with a late touchdown in the third quarter and another score with 8:35 remaining in the game to cut the Charger lead to 20-14.
“Our defense spent too much time on the field today,” coach Wagner said. “We have to be more consistent on offense and not rely on big plays.”
It was a big play, however, that may have shut down any comeback hopes for the Broncos. The Chargers offense didn’t allow Hastings to take over the ball in a one possession game as on a third down play, Kwame Johnson caught a screen pass from Hanafan and raced 40 yards to put BC up by what wound up being the final score at 26-14.
For the game, Briar Cliff outgained Hastings in total yardage 392-276. The Broncos had the edge in first downs 19-15 and had a +2 in the turnover department. The biggest discrepency was in the run game as the Chargers dominated that category 166 yards to just 43 for the Broncos.
Noah Ylagan led all players with 96 rushing yards. Johnson was next best at 54 yards and a game-high 4.5 yards per carry. Tahj Willingham, the top running back for Hastings, was shut down throughout the day averaging less than two yards per carry, finishing with 35 rushing yards and one TD.
Khamren Davenport led the Chargers in receptions with four for 39 yards. Logann Freeman‘s two catches went for 76 yards and a touchdown, while Elijah Brown recorded the first two touchdowns of the day and finished with three catches and 53 yards with the two scores.
Briar Cliff defenders tallied 13 tackles for loss with three each from Javon Woods and Caleb Wilson. Omar Dyles‘ two tackles for loss both came via the sack. The leading tacklers for the Chargers were Markel Roby and Peyton Bailey with seven each.
Hastings dropped to 2-1 and 0-1 in GPAC play, while Briar Cliff moved to 3-0 for the first time in the history of BC football and will take a 1-0 GPAC mark across town to take on #2 Morningside next week at Elwood Olsen Stadium.