Friday night’s final football score in Brandenburg may be a little deceiving.
DuPont Manual came away with a 48-21 win, but Meade County made the game closer than the 27-point final margin shows.
“We gave ourselves some chances to come back and try to get the win,” said Meade County senior Ethan Kaiser, who was a spark for the Green Wave on both sides of the ball. “We just couldn’t capitalize on some of the opportunities we had out there.”
The first opportunity came right before halftime with the Crimsons leading 17-7.
Branson Stull intercepted a pass from Manual quarterback Elijah Creech to set the Green Wave up at the 34-yard line.
Meade drove inside the 5-yard line and appeared to have scored on a run by Kaiser off left tackle. But he was ruled down at the 1-yard line.
“I felt I got in, but they called me down,” Kaiser said. “But we still had a good chance to score.”
The Crimson, buoyed by an illegal procedure penalty, held and the Green Wave missed a 27-yard field go.
“That took a little wind out of our sails,” said Meade County coach Larry Mofield. “It’s a different game if we can go into halftime trailing 17-14.”
The second missed opportunity came early in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 34-14 with 11:57 remaining, Meade County mounted a spirited rally.
Led by quarterback Bennett Hobbs, the Green Wave responded with a quick four-play scoring drive.
With the ball at the Meade County 26-yard line, Hobbs hooked up with Conner Cole for a 17-yard strike to the 43.
On the next play, Hobbs spotted a wide open Ethan Brandon for a 57-yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit to 34-21 on the 29-second drive.
On the play, Hobbs scrambled left and darted up field, releasing the ball just before he came to the line of scrimmage. There was no defender within 15 yards of Brandon.
The only thing left was to make the catch, which Brandon did with precision, hauling in the pass at the 20-yard line and racing untouched.
With the momentum, the Meade County defense followed with an even bigger play.
On third down, the Green Wave secondary managed to tip a pass from Creech into the hands of defensive back Braden Mofield.
With 9:53 remaining and having new life, Meade County was ready to pounce, moving the ball to the Manual 22-yard line. But the opportunity to make the game a one-score affair fell short with four straight incomplete passes.
From there, the Crimson slammed the door with two scoring drives.
“The kids played their butts off,” Mofield said. “I was pleased with the way we matched them physically. Manual is a very good football team. A top 5 football team in our class. We gave them a good, tough game.”