Tiger football falls just short on the road

Rush City loses 23-15 to Bombers

As Rush City’s head football coach Paul Kirby put it, the Tigers played a backyard ball game on Friday night at Braham, falling 23-15 to the undefeated host team.

On Braham’s first drive of the game, the Bombers earned their only traditional score off a corner fade from the Tiger’s 10-yard line, followed by the extra point to go up 7-0.

Braham earned its second touchdown despite their sophomore quarterback John Larson being forced to scramble out of the pocket to the left side. Larson chucked a 53-yard touchdown pass while avoiding two pins.

“If it had been any other two players in the conference, I’m not sure that play would have been made,” Kirby said.

Heading into halftime, Rush City’s misfortune continued when the snap to Braham’s punter, also Larson, went over his head, only to have Larson convert the mishap into a 66-yard touchdown.

Rush City’s luck turned around in the third quarter when senior quarterback Brandon Koehnle connected with junior Cole Anderson on a bootleg pass for a 63-yard touchdown to put the Tigers on the board. Senior Nick Schmidt put the extra point through the uprights.

Another fumbled punt by Braham put Rush City on the opposing 30-yard line, where the Bombers then committed a face mask penalty to move the Tigers to the 15-yard line. Three plays later, senior Danny Myers scored on a 5-yard touchdown run.

On the extra point, Rush City turned a mishandled snap on the extra point into a two-point conversion with Koehnle finding sophomore Ben Wolf in the middle of the end zone.

Braham completed their scoring at 23 in the fourth quarter off a safety following a defensive stop by Rush City on the Tiger’s 1-yard line.

With just minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Rush City regained possession after forcing a three-and-out on the opposing team, who committed a number of penalties to give Rush City good field position.

But the Tigers wouldn’t convert, and left its offense stagnant with three minutes to go when a fourth-and-long pass fell just short of a first down.

Kirby said assistant coach Mike O’Donnell summed it up best.

“Coach O’Donnell reminded the boys that it’s no secret we can play football, and we’ve played decent football these last couple of games,” Kirby said. “We’ve got a good stretch of home games coming up and a lot of season left.”

Koehnle threw for 77 yards with a touchdown pass in the matchup against the Bombers while senior Dan Johnson, who played three years on the offensive line, rushed for 50 yards in 11 carries.

On the defensive end, Isaiah Johnson led with 2 1/2 sacks and 3 1/2 tackles for a loss.

Though the Tigers now sit at 0-3, Kirby said he is pleased with the team’s performance against Braham, who is now 3-0.

“There is no reason to be down on anybody,” Kirby said. “I think we opened a lot of eyes and surprised a lot of people on both sides. I’m happy with our attitude and with our effort.”

Rush City hosts East Central at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.

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