FRANKLIN FURNACE — You really can’t blame the Green Bobcats for being defensive about their undefeated record so far this football fall.
Symmes Valley found that out firsthand.
Although indeed the run-oriented Bobcats have put pinball-like offensive numbers up, Friday night’s Southern Ohio Conference Division I opener was all about Green’s defense —as Green gained its second shutout of the season, with a 21-0 blanking of the visiting Vikings.
Both blankings have came at home, in the brand-spanking new Green High School Stadium, as the Bobcats also shut out Fisher Catholic (40-0) in this season’s second week.
With the win, Green raised its perfect record to 6-0, assuring itself of only its third winning season since 1991 —with the other occurring just four years ago, when the Bobcats last qualified for the state playoffs.
Green is on pace to play postseason football for this year, as the young Vikings — the defending division champions —fell to 1-4 with the loss.
The Bobcats stymied the run-heavy Vikings to only 89 total yards — 49 of which were on the ground on 22 total carries.
Aleck Beckett attempted nine passes and completed four for 40 yards, but two turnovers — and not generating run production — indeed did the Vikings in.
Abe McBee punctuated a great night defensively for the team and himself, returning an interception 27 yards for a touchdown with five minutes remaining in the third period —as Quincy Merrill made it 21-0 with his extra-point kick.
“Our defense really set the tone. Holding them to under 100 yards and getting the shutout,” said Green coach Chad Coffman. “Abe McBee was incredible on defense again. He is having an all-state type of season.”
So too, offensively, is Nathaniel Brannigan running the ball.
He went over the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the season, this time carrying 26 times for 147 yards — and a 10-yard touchdown run with three minutes remaining in the opening half.
Landan Lodwick, who added 39 yards on 10 tries and caught the only pass completion for the Bobcats for two yards, landed the two-point conversion run to make it 14-0.
Those eight points proceeded a massive 13-play, 85-yard and seven-minute and 37-second scoring drive —their second such march of exactly 13 plays and at least 83 yards and six minutes and 55 seconds of possession time.
Only a full quarter earlier came their first —as Blake Smith capped it off with a 12-yard run at the two-and-a-half minute mark.
“In the first half, our offense had a very strong workman-like performance. The first two drives combined for 26 plays, 13 on each, and almost 170 yards. We dominated the time of possession and finished with touchdowns,” said Coffman.
Green only attempted three passes, as its 52 rushes for 267 yards were more than enough.
Smith (four carries for 18 yards), the quarterback McBee (five carries for 26 yards) and Trevor Sparks (seven carries for 37 yards) all aided both Brannigan and Lodwick toting the rock.
The undefeated Bobcats return to the road on Saturday night, and return to SOC I action, at 2-4 but talented Notre Dame (0-1 SOC I).
“Starting 6-0 is a great accomplishment for our boys. We have come a long way, but I don’t think we are ready to be done yet,” said Coffman. “We will need to have our best week of the year before we line up and play a very good and talented Notre Dame team Saturday night.”
* * *
Symmes Valley 0 0 0 0 —0
Green 6 8 7 0 — 21
G — Blake Smith, 12-yard run (kick failed), 2:32, 1st 6-0 G)
G — Nathaniel Brannigan, 10-yard run (Landan Lodwick run), 2:58, 2nd (14-0 G)
G — Abe McBee, 27-yard interception return (Quincy Merrill kick), 4:58, 3rd (21-0 G)
First downs NA NA
Scrimmage plays 31 54
Rushes-yards 22-49 52-267
Passing yards 40 2
Total yards 89 269
Cmp-Att-Int. 4-9-1 1-2-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties (No.-Yards) 3-30 2-20
Punts-Ave. NA NA
RUSHING — Symmes Valley: Levi Ross 8-33, Willie Jones 5-19, Josh Saunders 3-6, Ethan Shafer 2-2, Sam McCleese 1-(-1), Aleck Beckett 3-(-10); Green: Nathaniel Brannigan 26-147 TD, Landan Lodwick 10-39, Trevor Sparks 7-37, Abe McBee 5-26, Blake Smith 4-18 TD
PASSING — Symmes Valley: Aleck Beckett 4-9-1-40; Green: Abe McBee 1-1-0-2, Jonathan Knapp 0-1-0-0
RECEIVING —Symmes Valley: Josh Saunders 2-17, Caleb Ritchie 1-12, Sam McCleese 1-11; Green: Landan Lodwick 1-2
© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved