Hop's Heresy: Wanner was the real key
WANNER ATTACKS â€” South Adams quarterback Dustin Wanner (left) turns around Bellmont's Ryan Mendez on this tackle during Friday's contest at Bob Worthman Stadium. Wanner had 10.5 tackles, including some touchdown-saving stops, and he ran in the winning touchdown from 21 yards out in the 13-10 South Adams victory Friday night. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)
First and foremost, congratulations go to South Adams and quarterback Dustin Wanner for hanging around long enough to put together the game-winning drive in less than 50 seconds Friday night in their 13-10 upset of the much bigger and stronger Bellmont Braves.
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The way they earned that win was just hanging in there despite getting outgained 271-98 in rushing yards and netting only six first downs prior to that final drive.
Bellmont just did not score, and they definitely could not satisfy this officiating crew, which started their 14-flag strangulation of Bellmont with three straight yellow hankies on the first BHS possession.
Okay, the Braves were a little over-pumped, looking at some familiar faces across the way and wanting to beat a rival at home, and they definitely moved a few times. Some of those flags look to be anticipation flags.
Even South Adams coach Jason Arnold felt there were too many flags. "In Bellmont's offense, you can see the guards pull and the wingbacks move quickly. That's what they try to do. Whatever ... we'll take it. The officials didn't decide the game," said Arnold.
Still, 21 flags in a high school football game? There were barely any in the Adams Central-Union County game. If a guy jumps the gun, one has to call that. If it looks like it's about the same instant as the center snap, that one shouldn't be called.
Though Bellmont drudged up and down the field, and overcame penalties for two scoring drives, the main player in this drama was Dustin Wanner. Sure, he bolted free for the winning touchdown run late in the game, but that's not it. Time after time, Wanner was the last man standing as he tackled Bellmont's break-away backs, Brad Busse and Ryan Mendez. Wanner save at least three touchdowns with one-on-one downfield, full speed stops. I'm sure of it because I have it on a disc.
Despite the fact that Bellmont completely throttled the South Adams offense, except for about two plays, somehow South Adams had the confidence to drive the ball late in the game to win it.
"Our guys thought we could run a four-play touchdown drive," said Arnold, when asked about that very fact. "I don't care what we did the rest of the game. We made those plays when we had to."
"I'm not going to blame the refs," said a stand-up BHS coach Larry Getts, who has to be working on ways to get his team to finish drives and get into the end zone. "Look at the scoreboard. They were the better team."
The Braves did a lot of things right, including that drive setting up Chase Ellsworth's 27-yard fieldgoal. The wrong thing was keeping South Adams in the game by driving up and down the field without scoring. Of course, it took a holding call on a touchdown run to stop Bellmont early in the second half in what would have been a game-clinching drive.
It's a tough loss. They just have to bounce back. For South Adams, it's great win that maybe can boost them into a solid record this season.