It was the essence of old school. Football 101. Smashmouth City. Another Bruney blueprint.
Besides all that, the 106th edition of Bellaire-Martins Ferry was a certified mismatch from the proverbial get-go. Do I detect a pattern, here?
Unfortunately out of eligibility, the Reds' Jose Davis could do little more than look on in frustration as the Purple produced a one-hour, 57-minute masterpiece on a chilly, damp Saturday afternoon at Nelson Field. Perhaps, their bus was double-parked?
In a fierce, head-to-head battle in the trenches, Ferry exhibited superior size and strength. Final numbers didn't lie.
Could Bellaire have executed with greater efficiency on a dry field? Most likely. The bottom line, though, ruled the day for Riders' senior tackle Elliot Albert and his cohorts.
"About three or four series (into the game), we knew were controlling the line," a mud-caked Albert smiled outside a keyed-up Purple lockerroom.
One of Saturday's beneficiaries was Ferry senior back Donte "C.J." Williams whose 19-yard third quarter touchdown run was of the surreal variety.
Williams, a 142-pound keg of dynamite, broke one tackle, then another, and another before surging into the house and sending Ferry fans into a frenzy. Film at 11.
Williams and running mate Tyrel Simmons took turns applying the hammer. The two combined for 46 carries and 275 yards.
"The line came up big today, did they not?" was the question posed to Williams. "Yes, sir, they did," he politely responded. "Has to be a byproduct of great practices and hard work, huh?" "Yes sir, it is," he affirmed.
Bellaire had few answers, if any, in the Reds' day-long inability to get untracked.
A dejected Davis provided the most telling postgame quote: "It is what it is," he grimaced. "No excuses," Davis added, "just facts. Our numbers are down and they're not getting any bigger. Which makes it extremely difficult for us to compete at a high level."
Losing to your most bitter rival which Bellaire has now achieved five straight seasons, has a tendency to bring out the doom and gloom in the post game mortem.
Davis and his dedicated staff, however, must be saluted for staying the course and recording five wins this season against some tall odds.
Bruney and the Riders, meanwhile, are back in the postseason and eyeing a potential week 11 home game depending on how final numbers shake out.
"We lost to two teams (Ridgewood, Indian Creek) both of whom are also in the playoffs," Bruney advised. "Our kids deserve to play on. They've been a great group to work with. Hopefully, we have a few more wins left in us."
BRUNEY singled out quarterback Jonathan Carlier and fullback Trent Neavin for 'unsung' performances.
"Jonathan understands his role and executes it very well," Bruney noted. "He's a great young man to have in our system." Carlier scored on a pair of short runs Saturday...
Ditto for the Purple's 5-11, 242-pound fullback. "Trent does so much of the dirty work," Bruney related. "He's a very valuable part of our team."
FERRY'S Albert and Bellaire linebacker Anthony Vinka were recipients of the game's Sportsmanship Award, presented by the respective school's boosters clubs....
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org