September 25, 2015

The Beavercreek Beavers came alive in the 4th quarter to score twice in the final seven minutes and then withstand a scoring threat by the Hartley Hawks in the final seconds to escape Columbus with a 28-24 win and move to 4-1 on the season.  Beavercreek had a chance to take an early lead, but missed a 35-yard FG attempt.  Hartley then scored a touchdown that was called back when a Hartley player blocked a Beavercreek player in the back as the Hartley running back was racing to the endzone.  The penalty cost Hartley a touchdown and they ended up settling for a FG and a 3-0 lead — that penalty may have cost Hartley the game.

Hartley stretched their lead to 17-0 as the Beavercreek defense had no answer for the quick stable of Hawks’ running backs and could not contain the outside run game, giving up two touchdowns in the second quarter.  But Beavercreek was able to put a scoring drive together to end the first half and cut the lead to 17-7 at the break.

The Beavers received to start the second half and put another scoring drive together to cut the Hartley lead to 17-14.  But the Hawks came right back and scored to stretch the lead again to two scores at 24-14.  The Hawks had the ball and the lead with 8:00 left in the 4th quarter and things were looking bleak for the Beavers, but the Beavers knocked the Hartley QB out of the game and came up with a big stop to get the ball back.  Following a nice punt return by Julian Linkhart, the Beavers marched down the field and scored to make it 24-21.  The Beavers’ defense again came up big on the next Hartley drive and with the Hawks facing 4th and 2 at their own 42 the Beavers stuffed a fake punt to take over in Hartley territory only down 3.  Creek drove the ball down and following some nice outside runs by Justin Terrell (9 carries for 74 yards) and inside yards by Tim Bradshaw, and the Beavers had it first and goal from the five with under a minute to play.  The Beavers kept trying to pound it up the middle and on second and goal it appeared that Bradshaw scored the go ahead touchdown, but the referees marked him down at the one.  Beavercreek was stopped on 3 and goal from the one, setting up a fourth and goal with under twenty seconds to play.  Following an offsides call against Hartley, Beavercreek again lined up for a fourth and goal from inside the Hartley one yard line.  Hunter Maloney powered his way into the endzone for the score on the QB sneak, although it took some time for the referees to signal touchdown.

With Beavercreek leading 28-24, the squib kickoff bounced off a Hartley player and was almost recovered by Beavercreek before going out of bounds, but Hartley took over close to midfield.  After the referees added another 4 seconds to the clock, Hartley threw a long pass that was caught at the 12 yard line and the Hawks were within striking distance with 2.8 seconds left.  On what many thought was the final play of the game, the Hartley QB threw a fade to the left corner of the endzone, under throwing his receiver but Hartley was bailed out by a controversial pass interference call, giving the Hawks another shot from the Beavercreek 6-yard line with no time left on the clock.  Hartley ran a jet sweep, a play that had gashed the Beavercreek defense all night, but this time the Beavers swarmed the ball carrier, stopping him short of the goal line and securing the win for the Beavers.

The Beavers were fortunate to come out on top, as the Hawks held a distinct yardage advantage, outgaining the Beavers on the ground 337-235.  But in the battle of feature backs, Tim Bradshaw came up big with 153 yards and three scores and the Beavercreek defense was able to hold Hartley star running back Quri Hickman to only 47 yards on the night.  Hickman, who had a team-high 7 touchdowns coming into the game, did not score against the Creek D.  On defense, Jack Knipper again anchored the Beavercreek defense as he tallied a team-high 11 tackles.

At 4-1, Beavercreek has its best start since 2009 and begins the GWOC Central schedule next week.  The Beavers return home next week for Homecoming to face the Northmont Thunderbolts.  Kickoff is at 7:00 PM.  Go Beavers!