Football: Bremen outlasts Oak Forest 19-12
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media October 4, 2013 10:50PM
Bremen's Tyler Banovich checks one more time for any Oak Forest defenders before scoring on a long run. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2013 6:29AM
All summer, the Bremen coaching staff preached creating turnovers and playing whistle to whistle all summer.
Consider the message received.
Bremen’s defense had four takeaways, two of which led to touchdown drives, as the Braves downed host Oak Forest 19-12 to take sole possession of first place in the South Suburban Blue. Bremen improved to 5-1, 4-0 while Oak Forest dipped to 4-2, 2-1.
“We try to tell our kids not to get too high or too low for any opponent, but we know this is a special game for us,” Bremen coach Dan Stell said. “We told the guys to respect their program, but at the same time to take care of business.”
After throwing an interception on his team’s first drive, Bremen’s Tyler Banovich opened the scoring with the game’s most explosive play, a 69-yard keeper up the gut for a 7-0 lead.
Minutes later, Bremen’s Louis Johnson recovered a fumble and ran to the Oak Forest 4-yard line. D’arious Tolbert rushed into the end zone on the next play for a 13-0 advantage.
Johnson was all over the field. He added two catches for 32 yards and batted down a 2-point conversion attempt from Oak Forest quarterback Connor Rago after the Bengals drew to within 19-12 on Rago’s 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“It was huge. It’s a feeling I can’t even explain,” Johnson said of the fumble return. “This is a great win for our program.”
Rago started in place of Nick Ciufia, who suffered an ACL injury in the Bengals’ Week 5 win over Hillcrest. Rago attempted just nine passes as Oak Forest relied on its ground game.
Rago, the wide receiver-turned-quarterback, rushed for 133 yards on 24 carries. Fullback Matt Berry added 112 yards and a touchdown on 27 totes.
“Ciufia is an incredible talent and it changes everything, but I thought the guys filling in did a really great job,” Oak Forest coach Brian McDonough said. “We’ve just go to hold onto the ball.”
Jacob Forgue and Dijon Holmes also had fumble recoveries for the Braves. Mack Holder had in an interception.
Oak Forest earned one last chance to tie, driving to the red zone after starting at its own 15, but Rago’s pass to the end zone went long for a turnover on downs.
In a frightening moment, Bremen’s Chris Volson was injured on a play late in the game. He stayed on the field several minutes before being carted off the field.
“We did it for Chris,” Johnson said. “This is all for Chris Volson. Everybody counted us out but we knew what we could do.”