Bruins block Bulldogs

Published 10:14 pm Monday, October 3, 2011

King’s Fork quarterback Matt Hommell is brought down by a Western Branch defender during Monday night’s game at King’s Fork. Western Branch held the Bulldogs most of the night for a 12-7 district win. King’s Fork goes on to face Lakeland Friday night.

Western Branch’s defense stopped King’s Fork three times in the fourth quarter, including once with the Bulldogs advancing inside the Bruin 10-yard line, to preserve a 12-7 Southeastern District win at King’s Fork in the second straight week of Monday night football in Suffolk.

Friday night’s date between the Bruins and Bulldogs came to a halt following the opening kickoff, without a play run from scrimmage.

Monday’s resumption picked up with the Bruins starting their opening possession on their 47.

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The Bruins seemed to have their game plan ready from the start. Western Branch moved to inside the KF 10 in four snaps. On a running play from the KF 7, T.C. Livingston knocked the ball free from the Bruin back and Charles Clark fell on the fumble.

The Bruins set up in Bulldog territory with their second possession and moved the ball again until the Bulldog defense came through.

KF’s offense couldn’t give its defense a break, though. The first Bulldog possession went three plays and punt. The second KF possession lasted two plays before quarterback Matt Hommell was hit in the backfield and fumbled for a Bruin recovery on the KF 39.

On 4th-and-5 from the KF 10, Bruin tailback Josh Marriner rushed through the line without much resistance and into the end zone.

Late in the second quarter, a 19-yard run by Hommell followed by 17 yards on a pitch to Devonte Everett gave the Bulldogs their best drive of the half.

The Bulldogs thought they had a touchdown, a 36-yard run by Clark on a pitch and run down the right sideline, only for a flag against KF to bring the play back. An intentional grounding penalty and a sack wound up meaning another Bulldog punt.

Flags still got in the way a couple times on KF’s first chance with the ball in the second half, but the Bulldogs marched down the field anyway.

Facing a 3rd-and-13 play, Curtis Rouse took a handoff going around the left side and fought hard to gain 12 yards, down to the Bruin 27.

Now close enough to run a play and 4th-and-four feet, Hommell kept the ball going through the line and got four feet plus a half-inch, with the measurement allowing KF to keep the ball by less than a chain link.

Third-and-long meant another Bulldog rush, this time with fullback Danny Gromkoski charging through a hole in the line, with a fullback dive catching most of the Bruins by surprise, for a 22-yard touchdown run. Austin Wall’s extra point was good for a 7-6 KF lead.

The Bruins matched KF’s 12-play drive with a 14-play, 71-yard drive. More importantly, the Bruins regained the lead with a 15-yard touchdown pass, making it 12-7 Bruins with 10:40 left in the game.

KF’s ensuing possession went nowhere, backwards in fact, until a wild fake punt was KF’s best gain of the game.

Needing 18 yards for the first down, Hommell, KF’s punter as well as quarterback, fielded a bouncing snap, and now about 35 yards from the first-down marker, fired a pass through the hands of his intended receiver only for the ball to deflect to Garrison Coates. Coates raced down for a 44-yard gain, to the Bruin 16.

The momentum and drive stalled. On 4th-and-4 at the 10, Clark got an option pitch going around the right side, took a big collision with a Bruin near the marker and was ruled a yard short.

KF had two more possessions in the final four minutes of the game but not another good chance to score.

Gromkoski led KF’s rushing with nine carries for 64 yards. Hommell was 2-for-7 passing for 56 yards.

King’s Fork (1-4, 1-3) now faces a short week of rest and preparation before taking on 4-1 Lakeland on Friday night at Cavalier Park.