Dragons top Manchester 28-6 –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Once again, the coveted hardware was on the line at Freedom Field as the junior high football squads from West Union and Manchester battled it out in the 2017 Adams County People’s Defender Bowl, for bragging rights and for the title of “Defender Bowl Champions”. The Defender Bowl trophy has gone to the Dragons for the last three seasons and the West Union boys were looking to make it four in a row on Saturday, Sept. 16.
On a glorious day for football, a nice crowd gathered at Freedom Field for the 2017 battle, and when all was said and done, it was the Dragons making it a four-peat as they used a stifling defense and a powerful ground game to top the Greyhounds by a final score of 28-6. The Dragons got touchdown runs from Chris Schulz, Brady Egnor, Daniel Fernandez, and Charlie Reed on their way to claiming their first victory of the season and the first of the head coaching career of Dave Gallowitz, who took over the West Union junior high team this season.
“The first win feels fantastic, especially for our kids,” said Gallowitz after the victory. “They worked hard and deserved it with only 15 kids and winning the Defender Bowl again is great for West Union football.”
Good fortune began early for the Dragons on Saturday as their defense forced a fumble on Manchester’s first possession which was scooped up by the Dragons’ Bobby Gallowitz and returned to the Greyhound 46. Six plays later, the home team was on the board as Schulz took a handoff and raced 22 yards around the right end for the game’s first touchdown. Fernandez ran in the two-point try to made it 8-0 with 2:49 left in the opening quarter.
The next Manchester possession carried over into the early part of the second period and turned out to be the only Greyhound scoring drive of the day. Taking over at their own 35, the Hounds rode the legs of quarterback Rylan Bailey, who broke off runs of 21, 25, and 12 yards to put his team in scoring position. With 6:48 to go in the first half, Bailey took it in from 12 yards away for the score, the two-point conversion failed but the Hounds now trailed just 8-6, but that wouldn’t stay that way for long.
The West Union offense came back on the field and went to work, calling seven consecutive running plays that included a 17-yard jaunt by Schulz and a 34-yard scamper by Fernandez. The 65-yard drive culminated with Egnor running around left end from eight yards out for the score that put the Dragons up 14-6.
There was still plenty of action left in the first half as the West Union defense stepped up again, this time with Gallowitz stripping the ball from Bailey and the fumble was recovered by West Union’s Tristan King. A 30-yard completion from Gallowitz to Reed set the Dragons up with a first and goal but the Greyhound “D” put together a nice goal-line stand to keep West Union out of the end zone and keep the margin at one possession headed into halftime.
The Dragons quickly added to their lead on the first offensive snap of the third quarter. Fernandez took the handoff and broke numerous tackles on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run. Gallowitz ran untouched into the end zone for the two-point conversion and West Union had extended the lead to 22-6.
The first Manchester possession of the second half resulted in a four-play turnover on downs and the West Union offense came back on the field and again found pay dirt.
On a second down play, the Dragons caught a break when a fumble by Walen Queen was scooped up by teammate Fernandez who advanced it 16 more yards. A 17-yard run by Fernandez gave West Union a first and goal and two plays later, Reed took it across from a yard out to extend the lead to 28-6 with 1:14 left in the third stanza.
That Reed score turned out to be the last one on the day as the Hounds fumbled a snap on their next possession and the loose ball was covered by West Union’s Nick Weaver. The Dragons took over and kept it on the ground and ran out the rest of the time remaining on the clock until the horn sounded on their 28-6 victory, crowning them as 2017 Defender Bowl champions.
The win was the first after three losses for the Dragons while the loss dropped the Greyhounds to 0-3 on the season.
0 6 0 0 –6
8 6 14 0 –28
WUJH- Schulz 22-yd. run (Fernandez run)
MJH- Bailey 12-yd. run (conversion failed)
WUJH- Egnor 8-yd. run (conversion failed)
WUJH- Fernandez 65-yd. run (Gallowitz run)
WUJH- Reed 1-yd. run (conversion failed)