MT. ORAB — The Miami Trace Panthers made the trip to Western Brown High School to take on the Broncos on a warm September Friday.
The Broncos proved virtually unstoppable as they posted a 63-21 win.
Turnovers hurt the Panthers as they lost three fumbles in the first quarter.
The Bronocs were able to take advantage and score following two of those and really never looked back.
“There is no question that the turnovers killed us,” Miami Trace head coach Jerry Williams said. “When you have a game plan to keep (Western Brown quarterback Drew Novak) off the field and we’re turning the ball over, it only gets him on the field. It certainly didn’t help matters, that’s for sure.
“We got ourselves out of our game plan,” Williams said. “(Novak) is going to be playing somewhere on Saturdays in two years. He’s one of the most talented quarterbacks I’ve ever faced as a coach. I applaud them. They do it to every team they play, for the most part.
“The best defense is your offense,” Williams said. “If you can’t keep your offense on the field, it’s going to be lights out and that’s what it was.”
The Panthers fumbled the ball on their first possession.
However, the Broncos fumbled the ball right back.
Miami Trace scored on an 8-yard run by junior Landen Cope.
Junior Zach Warnock converted the extra point kick to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 8:40 to play in the first quarter.
Western Brown then scored 35 unanswered points.
The Broncos turned the ball over again, after a completed pass, but the Panthers fumbled it back on their first play, setting up a score for Western Brown.
Broncos quarterback Drew Novak hit Isaiah Smith for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
The kick was good, tying the game 7-7 with 7:37 to play in the first quarter.
On their next possession, Miami Trace moved the ball from their own 27 to the Western Brown 23 before turning the ball over on downs.
This next series for Western Brown resulted in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Novak to Zack Chisman. The extra point gave the Broncos a 14-7 lead with 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Miami Trace then suffered its third turnover, giving the Broncos another short field situation.
Again, Western Brown capitalized with a screen pass good for 32 yards and a touchdown by Logan Campbell.
Evan Grimes made the kick to put the Broncos in front, 21-7 with 11:52 to play in the first half.
The bad luck streak continued for the Panthers.
Down at the Western Brown 30-yard line, the Panthers had their fourth fumble. This one was recovered by Miami Trace.
However, on the next play, the pass was intercepted for the fourth turnover of the half.
Western Brown had the ball at the Miami Trace 45-yard line.
Novak soon found Campbell again, this time on a 23-yard pass play. Grimes’ kick made it 28-7 with 7:54 to play in the half.
Miami Trace continued to show they could move the ball against Western Brown.
On this series, the Panthers started at their own 25 and moved it down to the Western Brown 26 before the drive stalled and the Broncos took over on downs.
Starting at their own 26-yard line, the Broncos advanced the ball inside the Miami Trace 10.
Chisman scored on a 6-yard run and Grimes made the extra point for a 35-7 lead with 2:07 left in the half.
Things took a positive turn for Miami Trace on the next series.
Quarterback Weston Melvin gave the ball to Jayden LeBeau who pitched it to senior Jadon Rowe who ran 65 yards for a touchdown.
Warnock’s kick set the score at 35-14 with 1:51 remaining in the half.
Unfortunately for Miami Trace, it didn’t take long for Western Brown to strike again.
Starting at their own 20, it took four plays for the Broncos to score on a Novak to Matt Frye pass play that covered 63 yards and with Grimes hitting the PAT, Western Brown held a 42-14 lead at the 1:15 mark.
The score remained the same at the half.
Western Brown had the ball to start the third quarter and began the series at their own 44-yard line.
This possession ended with a 1-yard pass from Novak to Matthew Osborne. The extra point kick made it 49-14 with 10:31 to play.
This set in motion the continuous clock.
That didn’t last long as Jayden LeBeau broke free for an 81-yard touchdown run.
With 9:14 to play in the third quarter, the Broncos were in front, 49-21.
The Panthers attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by Western Brown at the Broncos’ 48-yard line.
Western Brown moved the ball down to the Miami Trace 14-yard line.
They were backed up by a sack by Kylan Knapp and Cameron Morris.
The Broncos had the ball fourth down and 33 at the Miami Trace 37 when Novak found Chisman for a touchdown with 6:33 to play in the third quarter. The kick was true, giving Western Brown a 56-21 lead, which re-started the running clock after a shaken up Bronco player was assisted off the field.
The third quarter ended with Western Brown having the ball at the Miami Trace 6-yard line.
With 10:02 to play in the game, A.J. Graham scored for the Broncos on a 1-yard run. The kick put the score at 63-21.
With the win, Western Brown improves to 4-1 overall, 4-0 against Frontier Athletic Conference. The Broncos had already beaten Hillsboro, Jackson and Washington.
Miami Trace (3-2) has its Homecoming against Chillicothe next Friday.
The Cavaliers improved to 2-2 on the season with a 23-21 win over now 0-4 Logan.
“We don’t know a thing about Chillicothe right now,” Williams said. “We put so much time into this game. We have to rebound. We’ll find out what Chillicothe is all about. I want to see if (our) team can respond. That (will say) a lot about their character as a team.”
Elsewhere in the FAC, Hillsboro improved to 3-2 with a 51-13 win over now 2-2 Clermont Northeastern.
The McClain Tigers rolled over Shroder, 48-6 to improve to 4-0. Shroder is now 2-2.
Jackson improved to 3-2 on the season with a 21-20 overtime win against Wheelersburg. The Pirates are now 2-3.