Two lost touchdowns costly for Western Reserve
Blue Devils drop season opener to visiting Southeast
By Greg Gulas
Michael Bolevich ran for 134 yards and a touchdown, threw for 62 more yards and a score and accounted for 196 of his team’s 270 total yards to lead the Southeast Pirates to a 17-15 win over Western Reserve in the season opener for both schools.
The loss broke a two-game, season-opening win streak for the Blue Devils (0-1) while the Pirates (1-0) entered the game having lost five of their past six openers.
“We worked really hard during the off-season, spending a lot of time on getting bigger and stronger and it paid off today,” Bolevich said. “Our motto is that we are not going to ever give up.
“We held the ball for over six minutes on our opening drive, scored for a 7-0 lead and that kind of set the tone of the game for us. Our bread and butter is to pound the ball and that is what we relied on tonight.”
The Pirates held the ball for 6:32 on their opening drive, going 73 yards in 14 plays and capped it off with a Bolevich to Tristan Knoch 27-yard scoring strike to lead 7-0.
What took the Pirates almost seven minutes to accomplish, the Blue Devils accomplished in 66 seconds when quarterback Nick Cavoulas found Todd Henning from 48 yards on their second play from scrimmage to knot the game at 7-7.
Henning also had a 102-yard interception for a touchdown called back in the fourth quarter, a sprint which would have given the Devils the lead.
“I knew that they would come back with a pass play, saw their quarterback [Bolevich] look my way and after he threw it, I was able to pick it off and go all the way,” Henning said. “Unfortunately, it was called back so we’ll just watch the film and learn from it.
“It’s upsetting the way we lost because we had our chances and didn’t capitalize. It’s only week No. 1, there are nine more games to go so we can’t dwell on this.”
Western Reserve running back Jimmy Mayberry’s 4-yard TD at 10:36 of the second period for a 13-7 lead, making it 15-7 when he added the two-point conversion.
“In the opening half we gave up one big play and in the second half, didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Mayberry said. “We had some unnecessary penalties so the goal is to now fix the little things and just get better heading into the second week of the season.”
Bolevich’s 87-yard touchdown run on a third-and-21 at 9:25 of the second period pulled the Pirates to within a point at 15-14.
After the two teams exchanged possessions, the Pirates took possession with 5:56 left in the opening half, drove 77 yards in 15 plays and chewed up all by four seconds on the clock, capping the drive with a 31-yard field goal by Jonny Wise for a 17-15 lead heading to intermission.
It would mark the end of scoring for both teams.
Southeast held a 15:53-8:07 time of possession advantage in the opening half, running 13 more plays than the Devils while outgaining them by 85 yards.
Time of possession was almost equal after intermission.
“We had two touchdowns called back and had our chances, but credit Southeast,” Western Reserve head coach Andy Hake said. “We treat every game like it’s a playoff game and we’ll learn from this.
“We have a really nice team and I’m really proud of the effort that they put forth. It didn’t work out tonight, but we’ll bounce back and learn from this.”
Bolevich led all runners with 134 yards on 21 carries while Kaleb Wright added 74 yards on 18 carries.
Mayberry led the Devils with 65 yards on 13 carries.
Henning caught four passes for 55 yards to lead all receivers.