TEMPERANCE – Pay no attention to the final score.
This game was much closer to what the scoreboard showed after the final horn.
Monroe had a big scare in Bedford on Friday night before the Mules took control late in the fourth quarter and celebrated their comeback with a 28-14 win over the Trojans.
Coach John Phillips’ favorite Bedford team dominated the game statistically, but made too many errors in the first half and Monroe took advantage.
The game was tied at the end of each of the first three quarters.
Tyler Boerst’s 27-yard touchdown run broke a 14-14 tie and gave Bedford the lead for a full minute in the fourth quarter.
Monroe won the ball back with four minutes left and had a great chance to level the game for a third time. Ryan Sieler threw a 91-yard field goal pass to Aidan Brodie, but officials ruled the receiver was out of bounds near midfield.
The Trojans then headed to Bedford’s 39-yard line, but senior defensive end Thomas Huss forced a fumble, Luke Davis recovered and Hunter Poignon put the game on the ice with a 9-yard run, his second touchdown of the night.
Huss had a big night defensively with three sacks, but no play was bigger than his forced fumble.
“I dived for the ball and just kicked it,” Huss said.
He wasn’t surprised at how close the match was, saying: “It’s a rivalry. Both teams are having their best game of the year.
Bedford improves to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference Red Division. Monroe slipped to 2-3 and 2-4.
The injury-depleted Trojans should have been in shock after back-to-back shutout losses to undefeated SEC teams.
“Our kids fought hard and fought very well,” Monroe freshman coach Dave Mifsud said. “We made some very good games. We just couldn’t pull it off in the end. We are really close. He (Brodie) stepped an inch out of bounds on his run. Their number 2 was a hell of a player.
He was referring to Bedford senior running back Trey Brueggemann, who ran for 254 yards on 24 carries, including a 64-yard run in the second quarter.
Mifsud liked his defensive unit’s play, mentioning Makhi Hyden, Brayden Richard, Nathan Venier and Roman Beck.
After a scoreless first quarter, Bedford scored the first on Poignon’s 1-yard dive. But the Mules were given a personal foul after the touchdown, giving Monroe a short field after kickoff.
The Trojans ran for 52 yards and tied the game 7-7 on Logan Loveland’s 4-yard run.
It took just two plays for Bedford to regain the lead on Brueggemann’s 64-yard touchdown down the middle line. This time the Mules were given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the TD.
They had to kick off their 25, Loveland returned the 44-yard kick to the Mule 28 and Sieler found Brodie with a touchdown pass to stop the game 14-14 at halftime.
The Mules also saw two drives end in Monroe territory after coughing up fumbles. Michael Burns and Hayden Wood retrieved for Trojans.
“We made too many mistakes,” Bedford coach John Phillips said. “Our game plan in the second half was to clean things up. We struggled to finish this year. There are a lot of distractions this week (with the reunion). We have only been to this pitch two days this week due to all the events going on. The other days we had to use our soccer field.
The Mules rushed for 301 yards and were 326 yards to Monroe’s 117.
Phillips said Huss’ play was instrumental in shutting down the Trojans.
Bedford replaced second-year starting quarterback Lucas Gerber with rookie Brody Leonhard midway through the third quarter.
“We just wanted to see if a change would inspire the team,” Phillips said.
Monroe quarterback Sieler was rocked by heavy pressure in the second quarter. Substitute Aiden Newton came in for a play and completed a 17-yard pass to Gandara.
B-Hunter Punch 1 run (Jack Decker Kick)
M-Logan Loveland Race 4 (Nicholas Lieto Kick)
B-Trey Brueggemann 64 run (Decker kick)
M-Aidan Brodie 29 Ryan Sieler pass (Lieto kick)
B-Tyler Boerst 27 run (Decker kick)
B-Punch 9 run (Decker kick)
Dash: Trey Brueggemann, B, 24-254; Dinato Gandara, M, 12-71; Tyler Boerst, B, 7-64.
Who passed: Ryan Sieler, M, 6-12-49; Aiden Newton, M, 1-1-17; Lucas Gerber, B, 3-3-14; Brody Leonhard, B, 1-1-11.
Receive: Aidan Brodie, M, 4-77; Dinato Gandara, M, ages 1-17; Trey Brueggemann, B, 1-11.