GREEN: Football may be a team sport, but it’s always nice to have a game-changing player at running back and defensive back.
Ellet senior Marquise Bridges is that type of player for coach Joe Yost, and Friday night host Green had its hands full trying to contain him.
Bridges scored five touchdowns and had 324 yards of total offense to power the undefeated Orangemen to a 48-34 victory at Green Memorial Stadium.
“Going into this game we were the underdog,” Bridges said. “I know our team prepared for this game all week and Coach coached us up. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Bridges, a University of Akron recruit, used his speed and strength to rush for 262 yards and four touchdowns on 30 carries.
“Marquise made statements in the [Beacon Journal] football preview in August about how he felt he needed to lead the team and that he wanted to encourage people,” Yost said. “He has done that every week. I know he gets real tired, but he knows that he is the beast and we are going to feed the beast when we need to.
“He very rarely fumbles. He hits hole fast. He is good for 5 to 6 yards on a steady diet, and it allows us to eat up clock and keep the ball.”
In addition to Bridges, Yost was also pleased with his offensive linemen — seniors Lucas Renick, Steve Cody, Cade Brodie and juniors Caleb Minard and James Garlock.
Ellet (6-0) jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 11:13 to go in the first quarter after two offensive plays. Senior Matt Cody sprinted 42 yards and Bridges burst up the middle for a 28-yard touchdown. Senior Jaret Jones followed with his first of six extra-point kicks.
The Orangemen needed four plays on their next possession to extend the lead to 14-0 with 6:48 remaining in the first quarter. Senior Garrett Haverstick capped the drive by connecting with Bridges for a 62-yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs (2-4) cut the deficit to 14-6 with 4:48 left in the first quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass by senior Bobby Staudt to junior Nick Chapman.
Ellet took a 20-6 lead when Bridges ran 25 yards for a touchdown with 3:15 left in the first quarter. But Green made it 20-20 at halftime on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Jeremy McAleese, a 19-yard touchdown pass from Staudt to junior Devin Limerick and two extra point kicks by junior Thiago Nardi.
Ellet responded on its opening possession of the second half to take a 27-20 lead on three plays — Haverstick rushed for nine yards, Matt Cody rushed for 52 yards and Bridges crossed the goal line from five yards out at 9:45 in the third quarter.
Bridges added a 63-yard touchdown run at 6:57 and senior Marquis Smith returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown at 1:34. Ellet senior Cameron Brake broke loose for a 44-yard touchdown with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter to make it 48-27.
McAleese totaled two rushing touchdowns, 83 rushing yards, one receiving score and 29 receiving yards. Staudt had 236 passing yards and Limerick had 113 receiving yards.
Brake, Smith, Steve Cody, seniors Andre Brown, Skyler Decatur, Ryan Jarvis and Anthony Mancuso and junior J’Michael Loll led Ellet’s defense.
“I think it was a great effort by our defense and our offense, and our coaching staff really worked hard to prepare the kids for this game,” Yost said.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.