Friday night at the Little Rose Bowl, the 2018 West Branch Football season kicked off as the Bears took on long-time rival, West Liberty. The Weather forecast pushed the game up to an abnormal 6:00pm start time, but the Friday Night Feel was still electric.
Both teams came into the 2018 season-opener trying to get back on the winning track after each having taken an early exit from the playoffs a mere 10 months ago. West Branch picked up right where it left off with a stout defensive that didn't allow West Liberty many first downs and no points until the fourth quarter. The Bears finished off the Comets by winning 32-6.
The scoring began with a short, five-yard run from running back, Tanner Lukavsky. The touchdown was capped off by a Beau Cornwell PAT. On West Liberty's next possession, the Bears sacked the Comets deep into their own territory. They got some field position relief, but it came in the form of a safety, courtesy of a tackle in the endzone by sophomore Jeff Bowie. A West Branch lead of 9-0 is where the first quarter ended.
Mid-way through the second quarter, on a deep Bear drive, Beau Cornwell found a wide open Brady Lukavsky over the middle for an 18 yard touchdown to put the Bears up 15-0. That catch was Lukavsky's first varsity touchdown of his career. That ended up being the only score of the second quarter as teams traded possessions.
After a great halftime performance by the West Branch Marching Band, the Bears took their second drive the distance thanks to a 54 yard connection between Cornwell and senior Brett Schiele that ended up at the one yard line. Cornwell would punch it in on a QB sneak from there to put the Bears up 22-0. Also in the third quarter, Brad Hunger, playing in his first game with the Bears, picked off a Comet pass to set up the Bears for a field goal. A score of 25-0 is where things stood after three quarters of play.
In the fourth, Tanner Lukavksy broke loose for the first time on the night, scoring from 64 yards out to put the nail in the coffin with 3:35 remaining. The Bears would kneel to run out the clock and preserve the 32-6 victory.
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Courtesy of the West Branch Times.
Beau Cornwell: 14/20, 155 yards, 1 TD
Tanner Lukavsky: 14 carries for 113 yards, 2 TD
Brett Schiele: 4 receptions for 70 yards
Brady Lukavsky: 3 receptions for 48 yards, 1 TD
Zach Thompson: 2 receptions for 16 yards
Tanner Lukavsky: 6 tackles, 1.5 sack, 2.5 tackles for loss
Jeff Bowie: 4 tackles, 1.5 sack, 2.5 tackles for loss
John Hatifled: 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss
Cameron Howsare: 4 tackles, 1 sack
Brad Hunger: 2.5 tackles, 1 INT