by Riley Hicks
For the second year in a row, the Bennett’s Mill Broncos are county middle school football champions after a 12-0 win over the Flat Rock Eagles.
An undefeated season was on the line going into the game for the Broncos, and the Flat Rock Eagles wanted to spoil their dream season and get revenge for last year’s loss. Last season, the Broncos captured their first-ever football title in the school’s history.
The eight graders embarked on 2017 with the goal to secure one more championship before they continue their journey at the high school level and they were on a path of domination all season. Earlier this year, the Eagles held a fourth quarter lead against the Broncos, but let it slip away. It was the only true test the Broncos had all season as the beat all their other opponents by a wide margin.
When the final buzzer sounded Wednesday night, the Broncos emerged victorious by a score of 12-0, taking home championship number two and a second undefeated season.
“We just knew we had to play hard and tough,” Bennett’s Mill head coach Jody Travis said. “They are a good team, and, after we were losing the first game to them, we basically decided we needed to shut them out.”
Through the first quarter, both teams’ defenses kept each other out of the end zone. It was not until the middle of the second quarter that someone crossed the goal line to put up the first points of the game. Kaleb Cost busted loose a 40-yard run to make the lead 6-0, a score that remained going into the half.
For the Bronco defense, the game plan was to shut down one key player, Travis said. That planned was successful as they kept the Eagles out of the end zone. The defense was led by Cost, Jeremiah McCrae, and Joseph Justus.
Like the first half, both defenses remained stout. The second touchdown came with just under two minutes left in the game. Instead of it being the tying score the Eagles needed, it was the game-clinching touchdown for the Broncos coming on another long run, this time from Mike Graham for 50 yards to end the game at 12-0.
“We had a lot of opportunities to put the game (out of reach) earlier, but we did not capitalize,” Travis said. “Our guys, even through all the adversity, stayed focus and continued to play hard.”
The team is full of winners on and off the field.
“I really strived to get the kids to buy into hard work and be better as a person, not just as football players,” Travis said. “I have a lot of good kids, a lot of good talent, but they work hard and are great kids.”