“He makes a huge difference. He’s been a great kid and he’s been a pleasure to coach the last 3 1/2 years,” Brookville coach Mike Hetrick said. “It doesn’t take a genius to call plays, just give it to Bailey and let him take care of business.”
In the first half alone, the teams combined for 600 yards of offense. They went into halftime tied at 28.
Already a high-scoring affair by the time the marching bands took the field, Hetrick had an intriguing take you might not expect to hear from a veteran coach after such an exciting first half.
“When it was 28-28 at halftime, I was exhausted,” Hetrick said. “I don’t know, you got to keep going, next play, and you try to help the kids have that mentality.”
Brookville’s defense made two crucial stops to start the second half, forcing Oakwood into two three-and-outs.
Then Hetrick’s offense took over, doing what it does best, scoring points and racking up yards.
“Our offense tonight,” Hetrick said, “was our best defense.”
On Brookville’s first possession of the third quarter, the Blue Devils marched 73 yards on 13 plays, splitting the carries between Wallen and fullback Justin Eyler.
Eyler finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run to put Brookville up 35-28, and the Blue Devils never gave up the lead.
Eyler had three second-half touchdowns, and four total. His tag-team partnership with Wallen, who scored three times, made it impossible for Oakwood to come up with any defensive stops.
“Justin had a heck of a game, and he was was keeping their inside linebackers honest and it opened up some things for Bailey, so it was more than a one-man show out there tonight.”
According to Oakwood coach Butch Snider, the Lumberjacks were without some starters, most notably senior linebacker Freeman Whitaker.
“When you don’t have that guy, and you lose your leader of the defense, that hurts,” Snider said. “When we needed to make stops we didn’t make stops tonight and there’s no excuse for that.”
Oakwood quarterback Brian Erbe, along with a stable of play-making receivers, kept Brookville from pulling away though.
The Southwestern Buckeye League’s leading passer showed the home crowd what an aerial assault looks like, connecting with Jake Sargent on a 90-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and with Brendan Talarczyk on a 70-yarder in the third. Erbe also rushed for two scores, meaning he played a hand in seven of the Lumberjack scores.
“He’s a great high school quarterback,” Hetrick said. “He throws to his spots — you see some college quarterbacks doing that kind of stuff.”
Brookville improved to 2-1 in Southwestern Buckeye League play (4-2 overall), while Oakwood dropped to 1-1 (3-3).
This game had a lot riding on it in terms of playoff implications.
The top eight teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. Brookville was ranked 10th in Division V, Region 20. Oakwood was tied for ninth in the latest Division IV, Region 16 ranking.