By Michael Rich
It was a dark and stormy night. That’s the way all campfire stories start, and while Mother Nature provided the rain, Johnstown-Monroe provided the second-half storm.
Hayden Bullard and Cody Workman scored third-quarter touchdowns to turn back Buckeye Valley 13-3 on a chilly, rainy Friday night in Delaware.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t win that game,” Barons coach Matt Stephens. “We had our opportunities.”
The Barons stopped the Johnnies on the opening drive of the second half, but Johnstown’s Workman, the quarterback and punter, punted one over the head of Gabe Miller and it rolled down to the BV two-yard line, which went 63 yards in total.
“Their punter did a nice job and flipped the field on us a couple of times,” Stephens said.
Blayde McCully carried 22 yards on the first play to get them out of trouble, but the Barons were forced to punt. McCully finished with 24 yards on two carries.
“We had a killer holding call on us and we completed (the pass) for a first down (on the play),” Stephens said. “I think we had another penalty, too.”
Trent Coe received the punt on the 50 and returned it down the left sideline to the BV 30. A personal foul penalty took the Johnnies to the 20 and, three plays later, Bullard put it in the end zone from five yards out for the game’s first touchdown. Bullard had five carries for 17 yards.
Johnstown got the ball in favorable territory at its own 47 on the next possession and Workman went 53 yards on the first play to give the Johnnies some breathing room. Workman displayed an ability to evade would-be tacklers all night. He went 34 yards on third down at the end of the half on a scramble.
“They popped a couple, but it was an even battle,” Stephens said.
Workman led the Johnnies with 131 yards on the ground on 18 attempts. Andrew Sayer also had 18 carries, but was held to 33 yards.
Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was good defense, but the Barons offense didn’t put it together after the second drive of the game.
Ben Spaulding found Miller for 10 yards on the right sideline on the first play of the drive. Then Spaulding connected with Ben Kidwell on a screen pass that Kidwell took 20 yards to the Johnnies 10-yard line on third down.
Spaulding finished 10-for-20 for 94 yards and added 21 yards on the ground on three carries. Kidwell led the Barons in rushing and receiving with 30 yards on 13 runs and had 38 yards on three receptions.
After a couple of backward plays, Kidwell ran 14 yards down to the three-yard line on third down. The Barons were set to try for the touchdown, but a delay of game penalty sent them back to the eight. Sam Scharff connected on a 26-yard field goal for the only points of the first half.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Barons finally got going again. Sophomore Teren Wycoff picked up a fourth-down conversion for first and goal at the 10. The weather, however, played a factor as Scharff slipped on the field goal attempt and the ball went short.
“We thought about going for it there,” Stephens said. “But we thought, hey, let’s get our points here and then play defense. His plant foot just went out on him.”
Wycoff was in because Kidwell had been injured earlier in the drive. Injuries were a problem all night. Miller missed the second half with an injury and Spaulding was out most of the fourth quarter.
Buckeye Valley opens up MOAC action Friday night when it travels to Galion. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“All of our goals are still in front of us,” Stephens said. “(Galion) is going to be a tough one for us. We’ve got to bounce back.”
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.