With 50 seconds remaining and his team trailing by one point at Bellefontaine, Shawnee High School junior quarterback Drew Mitch knew exactly who was getting the football.
“We had to work as a team to get to the ball to our best player,” Mitch said. “We were going to run a play to him and let him work his magic.”
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Mitch found Robie Glass on a crossing route and the senior took the ball to the house for an 78-yard touchdown, lifting the Braves to a 36-29 victory over the Chieftains in a Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division thriller on Friday night at AcuSport Stadium.
Mitch threw for 130 yards and a touchdown, while Glass caught two passes for 103 yards and a TD. Matt Guyer, Max Guyer, Jaden Hall and Luke Myers all had touchdowns for the Braves (5-1, 1-0).
“It was back-and-forth, back-and-forth and it looked like we were in control, but I knew,” said Braves coach Rick Meeks. “I’ve been in this long enough to know nothing can be easy. … Robie was able to make a Robie Glass play and be an X-factor.”
It wasn’t the first time Mitch and Glass performed late-game heroics for the Braves. Last season, Mitch connected with Glass on a 46-yard TD pass to give Shawnee a 40-35 victory over Northwestern.
“I knew there was still time on the clock,” Glass said. “I knew my teammates needed me when it mattered most. I was out there at wide receiver and they weren’t looking at me, so we took advantage of it.”
A 20-yard field goal by Nate Hecker and a 64-yard TD run by Garrett Gross gave Bellefontaine a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Braves pulled to within three points when Max Guyer recovered a bad punt snap in the Chieftains end zone.
“They came out and smacked us in the first half,” Meeks said. “They were more physical than we were up front in the first half. We struggled. I didn’t even want to look at the halftime stats because I knew they were terrible. It’s a good thing we got the special teams play and got a break on that. We were lucky to go into halftime 10-7, we knew that and we told the kids that. In the second half, we come alive.”
The Braves moved Mitch to quarterback and put Glass at wide receiver, which opened up running lanes for the rest of their weapons, including Mitch. He led the Braves with 68 yards rushing on nine carries, most of which came in the second half.
“He gives us a different dimension,” Meeks said. “He gave us a spark.”
A 5-yard TD run by Guyer and an 18-yard pass from Glass to Myers gave the Braves a 21-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We put Robie outside and they double-teamed him all night,” Mitch said. “It left it wide open for outside runs. The line blocked really well for me. It was a great win.”
The Chieftains pulled to within five points when Grant Smith hit Ethan Moore on a 37-yard TD pass with 8:42 remaining.
On its next possession, Shawnee converted a 4th-and-18 from Bellefontaine’s 36 on a 27-yard heave from Mitch to Glass to keep the drive alive. One play later, the Braves took a 28-16 lead with 2:53 remaining on a 9-yard TD run by Jaden Hall.
The Chieftains answered quickly, scoring on a 15-yard TD pass from Smith to Moore to pull within five points at 29-23. Bellefontaine then recovered an onside kick and scored a few plays later on a 6-yard run by Gross to make it 29-28.
After the Braves (5-1, 1-0 CBC Kenton Trail) took the lead, the Chieftains (4-2, 0-1) drove the ball deep into Shawnee territory, but Smith’s pass on first-and-goal from the 6 sailed wide as time expired.
“I’m proud of our kids because they could’ve quit,” Meeks said. “It could’ve been easy to quit playing. They didn’t, we had a shot and made it happen.”
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