Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bedford Rallies Past BG

Bedford's wins in their first 2 games came rather easy - their victory in week 3 over Bishop Guertin did not. BG tied it up 14-14 early in the 3rd quarter, and the Cardinals took a 22-21 lead late in the 3rd quarter.

Bedford stormed back though, scoring 3 touchdowns in a row - all on TD runs by junior RB Nick Leahy. Leahy tallied 113 rushing yards on the game and 3 TDs, plus he caught 2 passes for 61 yards and 1 TD. Leahy and fellow junior RB Sean Tierney (109 yards rushing plus 1 catch for 14 yards) both rushed for over 100 yards, while running behind a big offensive line that blocks well. As a result, the Bulldogs remain a perfect 3-0 on the season with a 43-22 win over rival Bishop Guertin.

"We have five seniors on the offensive line" said Bedford High first-year head coach Derek Stank, who served as the team's offensive line coach for the past 8 years. "They know our pass protection and they have good fundamentals. They work well together. After a drive they'll actually come over and tell me what's working and what's not."

The Bedford o-line is led by Gardner Gendron (6'4" 243 lbs.), who is one of the most highly recruited players in the state as well as Bobby Heald (5'11" 270 lbs.) and Willem Fargo (6'7" 254 lbs.). These guys were consistently able to open up holes for Leahy and Tierney to run through. Leahy and Tierney are both very tough runners, too. Leahy is explosive and speedy, a threat to go for a TD every time he touches the football. Tierney is the power back, only 5'6" but is 205 lbs. Tierney is a very strong kid, like a bowling ball out there. He is very elusive, broke tackles and also has good speed. With their strong o-line, 2 big play running backs, and a dual threat passing/rushing at QB in Connor Robert this is an explosive offense for the Bulldogs that will give teams fits all season. BG actually has a pretty good defense - Chase Hughes, TJ Hart, Joey Gaudey and Jackson Housman are some of the better defenders in the state. The fact that Bedford put 43 points on the board shows how good their offense is.

Bedford led 14-7 at halftime, but BG came out in the 2nd half fired up and ready to roll. The Cardinals had the ball first to begin the 3rd quarter. Senior QB JT Hiscoe was a man on a mission, leading his squad down field as they needed just 4 plays and 33 seconds to drive 70 yards en route to a touchdown. Hiscoe completed 3/3 passes on the drive, including a 26 yard pass to Dylan Fagan (6 catches for 77 yards) and a 20 yard TD pass to Nick Lorden (8 catches for 85 yards and 2 TDs). Housman (75 yards rushing, plus 3 catches for 65 yards) also ran for a 15 yard gain on the drive. The TD pass by Hiscoe was a great throw, putting it right on the money to Lorden in the back right corner of the end zone. Just like that it was tied up, 14-14 with 11:27 left in the 3rd quarter.

BG was now all fired up and had the momentum on their side. As all great teams do though in situations like these, Bedford answered right back. The Bulldogs needed just 4 minutes to march down the field and regain the lead. Tucker Lavigne broke off a 10 yard run. Then on a key 4th and 2 conversion attempt from the BG 31 yard line, Tierney delivered with a 3 yard pickup and 1st down. Then Robert (who is only a sophomore) showed that Hiscoe wasn't the only QB in this game with a strong arm, as Robert fired a 28 yard TD pass to Connor Collins. 21-14 Bulldogs, 7:22 left in the 3rd quarter.

The 3rd quarter excitement continued on the ensuing BG possession. The Cardinals were backed up deep in their own territory. Hiscoe was pressured by the Bedford d-line and was forced to get rid of the ball. His pass was picked off by junior d-lineman Caleb McDonald. Bedford gets the ball back, but they fumbled it. Hughes was right there to pick up the fumble, but the official was in his way, essentially blocking him away from the ball. With Hughes out of the picture, Bedford was able to recover the ball. If Hughes picks that ball up, he runs up the field and who knows how far he would have gone - maybe all the way for a TD. So Bedford retains possession, but BG keeps fighting on defense. Housman made a terrific leaping grab to intercept a pass thrown down field by Robert.

BG ball, still trailing 21-14. Housman continues to shine, breaking runs of 29 yards and 18 yards. Then Hiscoe faked the hand-off to Housman and kept it himself, running it in for the `18 yard touchdown. BG head coach Jeff Moore makes a gutsy call to go for 2, the conversion is good thanks to another completion by Hiscoe (25/47 for 290 yards and 2 TDs). The Cardinals take a 22-21 lead with 4:50 left in the 3rd quarter. We've got ourselves a great game here, folks!

It was all Bedford the rest of the way. The Bulldogs scored the game's final 3 touchdowns, all on runs by Leahy. Their next drive started off rocky, as BG LB Joseph LaValle made a nice tackle for a loss of 4. Tierney run for a 16 yard pickup. Robert connected with Leahy for an 11 yard completion - Justin Mello made a great block on the play. Then on 3rd and 3 from the BG 6 yard line, the Bulldogs ran a HB draw play, with Leahy diving in for the score. Leahy runs in the 2 point conversion, as Bedford goes back on top 29-22 with 1:24 left in the 3rd quarter.

Bedford kept the momentum on their side, as McDonald made a nice tackle on defense and the Cardinals were forced to punt. Bulldogs ball, looking to build on their lead. Housman made a hard hit on defense, was slow getting up and had to be helped off the field. He did return to the lineup in the 4th quarter. Tierney made a 23 yard run, followed by a screen pass from Robert to Tierney that went for 14 yards. Leahy capped the drive with a 3 yard TD run. 36-22 Bedford, with 11:03 left in the 4th quarter.

Bedford's defense continued to step up and make plays. Kyle Jalbert and Ethan Huffman teamed up for a sack of Hiscoe. Senior LB Daniel Flynn made a nice tackle. Then on 4th and 19 from their own 48 yard line, Ben Miller made a key tackle to end the drive and turn the football back over to the Bulldogs.

Bedford put the icing on the cake, with Leahy coasting in from 8 yards out for his fourth TD of the evening. Leahy had a 13 yard run earlier on drive. He also had a 45 yard TD run that was waved off due to a holding penalty. BG gets the ball back, Leahy intercepts a Hiscoe pass, and Bedford wins it 43-22.

After beginning the season with a blowout win over Central, BG has now dropped 2 games in a row. Bedford meanwhile has to be considered one of the favorites for a state title.

This game featured two first-year head coaches. Derek Stank takes over at Bedford for Kurt Hines. Hines was the only other head football coach in Bedford High's still young school history. He left to take a coaching position in California. BG head coach Jeff Moore replaces previous head coach Travis Cote.

Robert, in just his third game as a varsity starter, completed 9/13 passes for 173 yards and 3 TDs. He also rushed 11 times for 52 yards.

It was a great night for football and a good crowd was on hand. Bedford had the ball first, and junior Colby Smith ran for an 18 yard gain but then the Bulldogs were forced to punt. On BG's first drive Hiscoe came out firing. He hit senior TE Matt Theriault for an 11 yard pickup. But then the drive stalled, bringing up 4th and 12 on the Bedford 35 yard line. Hiscoe again found Theriault, who made the catch for 1st down yardage but the official ruled that he caught the ball out of bounds. A tough call for the Cardinals, and it results in a turnover on downs.

Bedford goes back to work, and Leahy breaks loose for an 11 yard run. Robert ran for 9 yards and the 1st down, but Housman delivered a bone-jarring hit on the play. Hughes made a nice tackle for a loss of 2 yards. Bedford was unable to convert on a 3rd and long attempt and was forced to punt.

BG ball, as Hiscoe throws a short pass to Housman, who turns it into a big gain of 48 yards up the left sideline. Housman is an explosive play maker on both sides of the football. Then it was 4th and 1 for BG on the Bedford 28 yard line. For most teams this is an automatic running situation, but Coach Moore made a gutsy call to throw it. Hiscoe's pass fell incomplete, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Bedford gets the ball back, and finally we got our first score of the contest. Robert hits Leahy on a screen pass. Tierney makes a great block, freeing up plenty of running room for Leahy, who sprints in 50 yards for the touchdown. 7-0 Bulldogs, 10:45 left in the 2nd quarter.

After another Cardinals' punt, Bedford gets the ball back and again scores a TD to make it 14-0. Tierney got the drive going with a 16 yard run, thanks to some good blocking up front. TJ Hart made a nice tackle for BG, but then Smith ran for a 10 yard gain on a crucial 3rd and 9 conversion. Tierney continued to show a good combination of size/strength and speed, with an 18 yard run. He's tough to bring down once he gets a head of steam going down field. Robert capped the drive, completing a 15 yard TD pass to Shahrukh Hussain. Hussain made a great effort after making the catch, spinning off 3 different tackles en route to the end zone.

Daniel Flynn made yet another nice tackle and again BG was forced to punt. Bedford ball, and another nice hit by Hart. Tierney runs for a 20 yard gain, but then Hughes and Gaudey make nice tackles for the Cardinals and the Bulldogs are forced to punt.

Finally BG is able to get on the board, as Hiscoe finds Lorden in the end zone for a 10 yard TD pass with just 18.3 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. The score was set up by a 14 yard pass to Housman, a 15 yard completion to Fagan and was also aided by a pass interference call on Bedford. Then Hiscoe connected with Lorden for 16 yards, then he again found Lorden for a 15 yard completion. The Cardinals began the drive way back on their own 14 yard line and there was only 1:30 left in the 1st half. A vry impressive drive indeed for Hiscoe and company.

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