But in the third quarter, the Blazers couldn’t ignore the 6-foot-6, 250-pound opposing quarterback on the field.
Brunswick’s Ian Fisher took over in a marathon third period, running for three touchdowns and throwing for another as the Railroaders broke the game open on the way to a 50-25 victory over the Blazers on Thursday night.
The Railroaders’ offense in that quarter essentially was Fisher. They ran 22 plays from scrimmage — 11 on the ground, 11 through the air. Fisher carried all 11 times for 108 yards and completed 8 of 11 passes for 141 yards.
“Our game plan was to stop the pass,” Bathgate said. “We knew we would be vulnerable to the run. And when they realized we couldn’t bring him down …”
Fisher finished with 253 yards passing and two touchdowns, along with 190 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Despite those efforts, the Blazers (3-3) made it a game. They intercepted Fisher four times and recovered three fumbles and kept bouncing back when they were seemingly knocked to the canvas.
They lost running back Stephen Smith to an injury in the second quarter. Ryan Aaron came out of the game briefly after taking a hit to the head in the third quarter.
“If we had five more players,” Bathgate pondered. “The lack of depth hurt tonight. But we kept on coming. We had nothing to be ashamed of here tonight.”
The Railroaders (4-2) ran their no-huddle offense very efficiently in the first quarter, marching down the field on their first two possessions to quickly take a 14-0 lead.
Clear Spring’s defense awakened in the second quarter, however. Aaron picked off Fisher’s first pass of the quarter and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown.
Then the Blazers forced a fumble by Fisher as Chris Miller sacked him from the blind side, sending the ball flying loose and into the hands of Ben Cornwell.
But Clear Spring was unable to capitalize on that turnover, or the fumble recovery on Brunswick’s next drive. The Railroaders shook up their offense on their next possession, moving Fisher to end and inserting Joe Conrad at quarterback. Conrad connected with Fisher on an 18-yard scoring play that put Brunswick ahead, 22-7.
Fisher was picked off by Tylar Habel later in the quarter, and this time Clear Spring made it count. Quarterback Adam Mellott completed three straight passes to Aaron, who shook off would-be tacklers on the first and third catches to move the ball to the Brunswick 1.
Mellott finished it off with a sneak to make it 22-13 at the half.
“We’re sitting at 22-13 at halftime, better than a lot of teams have done with them this year,” Bathgate said. “Then came the third quarter.”
Mellott finished 13 for 25 passing for 138 yards. Jesse Gentry had 76 yards rushing, including a nifty 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Gentry also returned a kickoff 67 yards for a touchdown and had an interception. Sam Elwood also had an interception for the Blazers.
Brunswick 50, Clear Spring 25