The 2012 Bell Game took place Friday night at Chester Ray Stadium as the Marceline Tigers hosted the Brookfield Bulldogs. Both teams held pep rallies before school ended (see page two), and arrived at the school early for normal team warm-ups. Without the flashy entrances of past games, an air of respect showed before the contest.

The 2012 Bell Game took place Friday night at Chester Ray Stadium as the Marceline Tigers hosted the Brookfield Bulldogs.  Both teams held pep rallies before school ended (see page two), and arrived at the school early for normal team warm-ups.  Without the flashy entrances of past games, an air of respect showed before the contest.
Brookfield waited on the hill outside of Chester Ray Stadium and paid their silent respect while the assembled crowd from both towns showed their support for the Cupp family, who lost their son Zach right before the start of the season.  The Tigers held a ceremony at midfield in honor of Zach, and his number 40 jersey was retired.  All attendees, regardless of the color of their jerseys, took a moment and celebrated this young man’s life.  For more on this, see today’s front page.
Marceline won the opening toss, observed by Zach’s grandfather Joe, and deferred to the second half.  This led to Marceline kicking off, and Brookfield receiving.  With emotions high all around, the 2012 Bell Game was ready to officially begin.
Marceline pulled off an onside kick, and Kyle Bell recovered it at the Brookfield 41 to give Marceline the ball.  The Tigers swapped quarterbacks throughout the game, with both Dakota Lewis and Blake Linebaugh seeing time under center.
A pair of Bell runs, as well as a pass to Austin Moudy, earned the Tigers a fresh set of downs at the Brookfield 28.  Runs from Blake Belzer and Bell got the ball to the Dogs 20, but a sack by Matt Neeley  and an incomplete pass turned the ball over to Brookfield at their own 21.
A pair of unsuccessful runs by Ramzie Cooper and JJ Abongo, with Lewis getting the tackle for a loss on the latter, started the contest for Brookfield.  A penalty against Marceline moved the ball forward, but a short run by Collin Thudium wasn’t enough for the first down.  Dean Gall punted the ball to Blake Linebaugh, who returned it to the 50 yard line.
Zach McConkey stripped the football on the very next play, forcing a fumble which Abongo recovered at his own 48.
A pair of sacks from Levi Kelly and Moudy set the Dogs back on the first two plays, and a fumble on the second sack was recovered by Chase Hilsabeck at the Brookfield 43.
A pair of runs by Belzer and Lewis gained positive yards for the Tigers.  But a sack by Brent Sparks would force a three-and-out.  Lewis’ punt sailed into the end zone for a touchback.
Reed McBroom ran three-in-a-row for the Dogs, including an 11-yard dash, for Brookfield‘s first fresh set of downs of the game.  A pass to Thudium, and a 26-yard gain by McBroom got the Dogs to the Tigers 30 for another first down.  A 10-yard dash by Abongo earned another first down and took the Dogs to the Tigers red zone.  But, a pair of stops for a loss by Trey King and Lewis would eventually bring the opening quarter to a close, and give Marceline the football at their own 19.
End Q1 – Brookfield 0  Marceline 0
A pass to Belzer netted 15 yards for a Tigers first down. A sack by McConkey was negated by offsetting penalties.  A sack by Sparks, however, stood on the next play.  Marceline looked en route to a punt, but a beautiful fake caught the Dogs off-guard, and Belzer ran for 24 yards to the Brookfield 24 for a first down.  Offsetting personal fouls showed the emotions running high for both teams.  Marceline got into Brookfield’s red zone with a pass to Belzer down to the 13.  However, a big penalty against the Tigers, a pass deflection by McConkey, and a fourth down stuff by McBroom would turn the ball over to Brookfield at their own 27.
“It was really intense,” said McConkey of the game. “In the first half, we didn’t have our heads together.  They didn’t lay down for us.”
A short run from McBroom and a 15-yard gain by Abongo got a first down for Brookfield.  But a screen pass was stuffed by Tucker Dunham, and Kelly earned a sack.  But, a pass to the returning Marcus Lienhart earned a Bulldogs first down.  Still, a sack by Moudy, and a fumble recovered by Hilsabeck would turn the ball over to the Tigers, who took a knee to end the first half.
Halftime – Brookfield 0  Marceline 0
Marceline went three-and-out to start the second half.  Brookfield went three-and-out as well, but the snap sailed over the punter’s head, who was tackled by Anthony Steffes at the Dogs 29.
Marceline netted a first down after two runs by Bell. The Tigers moved the ball slowly next, and a fourth down stuff by Gall turned the ball over to Brookfield 13.
The Dogs came out for the next offensive series in a double-tight set, much like last week against Highland.  Runs by McBroom and Neeley earned one first down.  Two runs from Ramzie Cooper gained another.  Runs from McBroom and Thudium made it three in a row.  A short gain by Ramzie set him up for a 39-yard dash to the Tigers five yard line.  McBroom punched it in from there for the game’s first score.  The extra point was no good.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said the soft-spoken McBroom.  “I’ve dreamed of getting a touchdown in the Bell Game, and was born the year Brookfield won back the Bell.  The line did an amazing job tonight, and won the line of scrimmage for us.”
Q3 2:46  Brookfield 6  Marceline 0
Marceline went three-and-out on their next drive, with McBroom netting a tackle for a loss.  Thudium returned Lewis’ punt to the 50 yard line.  Ramzie took it from there in one play, straight to the house for the game’s second score.  The conversion run failed to fund the end zone.
Q3 1:13  Brookfield 12  Marceline 0
Hilsabeck returned Arturo Huerta’s kickoff to his own 32.  A pass to Brett McGlothlin and a run by Bell earned the Tigers a first down at the 43.  A pair of stuffs by Brycen Corf and Anthony Cupp set Marceline back, and brought the third quarter to a close.
End Q3 – Brookfield 12  Marceline 0
A 20-yard aerial strike from Lewis to Hilsabeck brought the home sideline back to life and gained a first down for Marceline.  A facemask call against Brookfield was offset with a Marceline penalty, in a call that did not settle too well with the home crowd.  Abongo picked off a pass on the next play, and returned it to the Tigers 40 yard line.
Runs by McBroom, Thudium, and Ramzie earned a first down at the Marceline 29.  Bell sacked Abongo for a short loss, but a 10-yard dash by Ramzie and a short run from McBroom got the Dogs a first down at the Tigers 18.  The drive would eventually culminate in a three-yard touchdown run by Thudium, and a conversion run by Ramzie.
“I couldn’t ask for a better senior Bell Game,” said Thudium.  “Winning 20-0, having a great assembly, and my Dad as the motivational speaker was great.”
Q4 6:21  Brookfield 20  Marceline 0
The Tigers drove a little on their next possession, with a run by Bell, a facemask call against Brookfield, and a pass to Hilsabeck.  But an interception by Lucas Noble at the Brookfield 20 yard line ended the drive.
Runs by McBroom and Ramzie earned a first down.  A stuff by Lewis and Jesse Linebaugh after that was negated by a 13-yard gain by Ramzie.  However, an eventual fumble was recovered by Hilsabeck at the his own 31.
A run by Bell, after a Brookfield penalty, moved the pigskin for the Tigers.  But another interception, this time by Anthony Cupp, ended the drive.  A kneel-down by the Dogs ended the game.
Final – Brookfield 20  Marceline 0
“It’s just amazing,” said Brookfield Captain Trent Hoover.  “We were slow in the first half, but it’s the Bell Game.  We knew they were going to fight us for every down.  We got it done in the second half, turned it on, and got the win.”
“Wqe didn’t come out very focused to start the game,” said Brookfield Head Coach Nile Thudium.  “Fortunately we came out focused in the second half.  I was concerned at halftime.  We found our knack in the second half, played some power football, and wore them down.  I was proud of the kids, but we have some work to do.”
“I thought it was an emotional and passionate football game on both sides,” said Marceline Head Coach Paul Thomas.  “The fans got their money’s worth.  We are going to look at film, and get better.  We took some steps in the right direction this week, our kids are playing hard and that’s where we want them.”