COLLINS — It featured a spastic scoring pace, a crazy fourth quarter and the most combined points in a game involving a MedinaCounty team since 1923.
Even better, the game turned on a pair of defensive plays by the new guy.
Black River outgunned Western Reserve by an eye-popping 72-57 final score in a season-opening contest that would make the most avid video gamer jealous.
But Allan Benson stole the game for the Pirates from his safety position.
With the Pirates (1-0) clinging to a 52-51 lead and 8:41 left to play, the junior, playing in his first football game, made his first big play of the game.
Jack Klingshirn (18 carries, 155 yards, TD) tried to fight for yards up the middle into the teeth of the Black River defense, but the ball popped free and bounced right into the hands of Benson.
“I was just looking for the tackle,” Benson said. “I was getting ready to break down and the ball just came right to me. I went after it and pick it up. I was hoping I didn’t drop it.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound defensive back picked the ball up off the hop and scampered toward the right pylon and found paydirt to push the Pirates’ lead to 58-51. The run for two failed.
“We knew Allan was going to be a hell of an addition when he came to play,” Black River coach Al Young said. “Kid’s a smart kid, a great student. He’s a tremendous athlete and a great basketball player for us. We were looking for him to come out for us and play. That’s what happens when you get good athletes to come out for the football team. They make plays.”
Not that the play clinched things for the Pirates just yet, because on the ensuing kickoff, Darrin Fannin brought the Roughriders (0-1) right back into the game with an 81-yard return to the house. The run for two also failed, leaving Black River up 58-57 with 8:33 to play.
The Pirates had an answer. Driving 51 yards in seven plays — after a failed onside kick attempt by Western Reserve — and converting a fourth-and-5 from the Riders 6 on a scoring pass from Vernon Beard to Colin Filak, the margin jumped to 66-57 with 5:11 left.
“Our offense persevered tonight,” Young said. “Every time something went wrong, we came back. We were able to keep doing things that allowed us to keep the momentum or take it back away from them.”
The way the game was going, a nine-point deficit certainly wasn’t going to be too much for Western Reserve to overcome.
“Offensively, if you score 57 points you ought to win the game,” Western Reserve coach Mike Stoll said. “Turnovers hurt us and we talked about that coming in. We turned it over four times and they didn’t turn it over at all. We were moving the football but we didn’t stop them all night.”
Behind Dakota Stump (20 carries, 267 yards, 6-for-17 passing, 147 yards, 5 total TDs), the Roughriders drove down the field and faced a big fourth-down conversion attempt at the Black River 34.
Logan Norton tipped Stump’s fourth-down throw and the ball once again found Benson’s hands.
“I was just taught wherever the eyes go, he’s going to go,” Benson said. “I saw the ball in the air and went after it.”
Beard (5 carries, 38 yards, 4-for-9 passing, 118 yards, 2 total TDs) capped the Pirates’ ensuing possession with a 45-yard keeper around left end to finally give his team a comfortable margin with 1:54 to play.
The offensive stats are a thing for the record books. The Pirates had three backs go over the century mark, with David Bell (23 carries, 174, 2 TDs) leading the way. Filak (14-130, 2) and Dalton Toth (16-114, 3) helped Black River amass 456 yards on the ground.
Behind Stump, the Roughriders had a pretty spectacular night on the ground themselves with 422 rushing yards. Klingshirn also eclipsed the century mark with 155 yards on 18 totes.
The fourth quarter saw 54 combined points scored and Western Reserve commit three costly turnovers.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.
Black River 72, Western Reserve 57
BLACK RIVER 8 22 8 34 — 72
WESTERN RESERVE 8 23 6 20 — 57
B — Dalton Toth 5 run (Vernon Beard run), 4:23.
W — Dakota Stump 15 run (Stump run), 0:47.
B — David Bell 49 run (Toth run), 11:50.
W — Stump 41 run (Jack Klingshire run), 11:35.
B – Toth 20 run (run failed), 6:08.
W — Colton Puder 67 pass from Stump (Jarrett Hreha kick), 5:37.
B — Bell 11 run (Bell run), 1:54.
W — David Martin 26 pass from Stump (Klingshire run), 0:27.
W — Stump 45 run (run failed), 5:38.
B — Toth 8 run (Colin Filak run), 0:43.
W — Stump 66 run (pass failed), 11:41.
B — Filak 45 run (run failed), 10:53.
W — Klingshire 5 run (Logan Croft pass from Stump), 9:15.
B — Filak 61 run (Beard run), 8:59.
B — Allan Benson 15 fumble return (run failed), 8:48.
W — Darrin Fannin 81 kickoff return (run failed), 8:33.
B — Filak 6 pass from Beard (Beard run), 5:11.
B — Beard 45 run (run failed), 1:54.