It was a surreal football season-opener last Friday night at Bearcat Memorial Stadium, as Hermann dominated the Montgomery County Wildcats in a 30-12 win. Light rain arrived just in time for pre-game festivities and didn’t let up throughout the duration of game. Switching from light rain to a soaking drizzle, the stadium surfaces were shiny with a thousand reflections in the dim, diffused light cast on to the field. With the home field advantage and perhaps the adrenalin pumping for the first game of the season, the Bearcats showed they came to play.
Hermann kicked off and on the Wildcats second set of downs, Hermann got a roughing the passer penalty. Montgomery County was not shy about passing the ball and this game plan continued the rest of the night. The Wildcats were stopped on the third set of downs and Hermann took over on their 23 yd. line.
On the first set of downs with the ball on the 31, Trent Anderson carried up the middle to the 41 yd. line with 5:14 left in the 1st Quarter. The next play Brennan Knipping broke through the line to get the ball down to the 20 yd. line. At 3rd down and six on the 16 yd. line, Knipping ran the ball down to the five yd. line for a 1st and 10.
On the next play, Chase McKague carried the ball into the end zone standing up for the first TD of the night, with 2:55 on the clock. Going for the two-point conversion, Anderson carried into the end zone, also standing up. They made it look easy, setting the scoreboard at 8-0 Bearcats.
The Bearcats kicked off and the Wildcats fumbled the wet ball but held on to it down on their 41. The Wildcats received a back in-motion penalty and threw an incomplete pass to punt on 4th down. The Bearcats took over and on 3rd and 16 on the 12 yard line, QB McKague threw cross-field, back to the left while running to the right with a reception to Carter Hemeyer, getting the ball up to the 34 as the 1st Q. ended.
At the start of the 2nd Q., with the ball on the 46, Trent Gleeson picked up 9 yards. This is where Hermann really started controlling the ball and therefore, the clock. Marching down the field with five first downs, McKague, on an option keeper ran down the left sideline before he was tackled on the two-yard line. Gleeson carried it over the goal line for the second TD. McKague carried the ball for the two-point conversion making the score 16-0 with 7:53 left on the clock.
After the kickoff, the Wildcats were faced with a three and 15 for the first down. Ethan Abercrombie, the Wildcat QB threw a quail that was received down to the 27 yd. line. Abercrombie threw a strike up the middle for a 1st down on the six-yard line. With 6:11 left on the clock, the Wildcats fumbled and Hermann recovered.
The next play, Gleeson takes a pitch out from QB McKague, up the left side but loses the ball trying to grab it and run and the Wildcats get it back on the nine-yard line. On the second down with nine to go for the score, QB Abercrombie keeps the ball and runs for the TD. The two-point conversion failed. The score stood at 16-6, Bearcats. After two 1st and 10’s, the Bearcats fought to get the ball to the 45, but had to punt with 2:20 on the clock. Neither team could convert their downs to points and the half ended.
The Bearcats received and started moving the ball from their 30 yd. line. Again controlling the ball, the offensive line blew big holes in the Wildcat defense to earn four 1st and 10s. Trent Anderson was effective finding daylight up the middle and McKague continued to run his option with precision. At 2nd down on the three-yard line, Anderson again takes it up the middle and scores the third TD of the night standing up. Anderson took the ball again for the two-point conversion on what looked like the previous play, up the middle, for the score. The score stood 24-6, Bearcats.
The Wildcats received the kickoff and got a second 1st and 10 on the 49. Abercrombie fired a strike down the left side for a TD. The two-point conversion was no good. The score stood at 24-12. Once again, the Bearcats went to work.
After four 1st downs, controlling four minutes on the clock, it was 3rd and 5 on the 17 yard line. QB McKague throws a strike to Carter Hemeyer, down the left side for the reception and TD. This time, the two-point conversion failed. The score stood at 30-12, Bearcats, with 2:11 left on the clock. The Wildcats racked up three 1st downs and had moved the ball down to the 33 when they got an offsides penalty right as the quarter ended.
With a third and 11 situation, QB Abercrombie threads the needle among three Bearcat defenders up the middle for a reception down on the 20-yard line. On the next play, the defense yells “Pass!” and Keegan Head came up from the secondary to intercept, stopping an important drive for the Wildcats. Again, the Bearcats went to work, racking up yardage and seven 1st downs by Gleeson, Anderson, Knipping and Holden Ash. But a holding penalty and a recovered fumble stalled the team at the 18 with 5:18 left on the clock. Both teams moved the ball, but not enough to put more points on the board. The scoreboard showed 30-12 at the end of the game.
“The kids came out and played well,” said Bearcat Head Coach Andy Emmons. “we took care of the football for the most part on a rainy night.”
Coach Emmons was proud of the way his offensive line played and felt his defense handled the Wildcats as well.
“The rain made it a little sloppy—we didn’t run all of the offensive plays we’d like [to have run], but at the same time, they threw the ball a lot,” he said. “So, it helped us more than anything else. It’s a good start.”
Hermann rushed for 384 yards on the ground and passed for 66 yards. Trent Anderson was the leading rusher for 112 yards. Brennan Knipping rushed for 89 yards, Chase McKague had 67 yards, Trent Gleeson had 59 yards and Holden Ash rushed for 56.
QB Chase McKague had five receptions from eight attempts and threw for one touchdown. He had one interception. Carter Hemeyer caught three passes for 42 yards, Keegan Head and Holden Ash each had a reception for 16 and 8 yds., respectively.
Defensively, Keegan Head had an interception and the Bearcats had 22 tackles with seven assists. Anderson and Knipping each had five tackles in the win.