Pirates dominate early, hold on to win season opener over Roosters 25-20

Chris Bowie
cbowie@boonvilledailynews.com
Boonville senior running back Andrew Wiser runs down the sidelines for a 54 yard touchdown in the first half Friday night against Pleasant Hill in the season opener at Gene Reagan Field. Wiser finished the game with 16 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown in a 25-20 win over the Roosters.

Boonville seniors Charlie Bronakowski and Lane West may not remember the score 10 years from now, but they will definitely remember playing a game against the Pleasant Hill Roosters Friday night at Gene Reagan Field.

While the Pirates held on to beat the Roosters in a wild game 25-20, West said it was just a blessing to be able to play and happy about the win.

As for Bronakowski, he said he was just glad to come out and play a game that meant something. “I felt like we underestimated them at first and we thought we were going to come out and have a field day, but they were pretty good,”Bronakowski said. “We had a few ups and downs and it was a very windy road but it was still a good win.”

Both Bronakowski and West did their part to secure the win for Boonville. Bronakowski finished the game with three catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, which doubled his touchdown total from last year. As for West, the senior linebacker had several big hits and finished the game with nine tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.

Boonville finished the game with a total of eight first downs and had 84 yards rushing and 231 passing for a total of 315. As for Pleasant Hill, they finished the game with 15 first downs along with 64 yards rushing and 247 passing for a total of 311.

Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said this game was a mirror image of last year as the Pirates jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held on to win 14-9.

“It was up and down and we knew it was going to be like that,”Hough said. “A lof of the things we talked to the kids about took place tonight. Physically it’s hard to prepare for Week 1. Our kids obviously have worked their tails off not only football related but social distancing and all of the guidelines that we go through and here we are playing. We had a lot of kids come in and have to play tonight. We say steal reps for us but they didn’t really steal reps for us, they had to play football for us.”

Although Hough would have liked a little more separation in the final score, he said several players had some big plays tonight, mentioning Bronakowski and Jamesian McKee’s big catches and Andrew Wiser’s beautiful run down the sideline. He also complimented sophomore quarterback Colby Caton in his first varsity start at quarterback, saying that he will only get better.

With eight more games to go before the district playoffs, the Pirates definitely took a step in the right direction with so many new faces and so many old faces battling for 48 minutes.

The game was also a tale of two halves as Boonville dominated the first half and Pleasant Hill won the second.

The Pirates never trailed in the ballgame and led 18-7 at the break. Boonville also scored the game’s first 12 points, hitting paydirt on its opening possession on a six-play, 79 yard drive in under three minutes. The 40 yard pass from Caton to McKee was a career first for both players in that Caton threw his first touchdown and McKee caught his first varsity touchdown.

Caton finished the game 13 of 18 passing for 231 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while McKee had two catches for 71 yards and one score. Junior D.J. Wesolak also had a big night with four catches for 32 yards.

Boonville also came up big on special teams early on. After holding P. Hill to three and out, the Pirates caught a break when the P. Hill punter botched the kick at the Rooster 12. Then, on the very next play, Caton and Bronakowski hooked up in the corner of the end zone as Bronakowski out-jumped the P. Hill defender for a touchdown with 7:47 left to extend the lead to 12-0.

Bronakowski said everyone that covered him was like 5-10. “I knew that if we just threw the ball up in the air it was just a matter of me going up and getting it,” he said.

The Roosters also used that same game plan just on a smaller scale in junior receiver Dylan Dimarco, who was 5-10 at best. Nonetheless, Dimarco and senior quarterback Brock Koehler capped off a six play, 50 yard drive on a 15-yard pass on a great acrobatic catch in the end zone with 5:25 left in the opening quarter to cut the lead to six at 12-6.

Two turnovers later-one by each team-the Pirates came back and hit paydirt for a third time as Wiser took a pitch from Caton and scampered 54 yards for the score with 6:44 left in the half to make it 18-7.

Wiser finished the game with 16 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown.

The third quarter was a carbon copy of the first 12 minutes of the game as Boonville dominated early, hitting play on its first play from scrimmage on a 84 yard pass from Caton to Bronakowski to extend the lead to 25-7.

Bronakowski said that was the first time he ever did that. “I had a straight lane to the house,”Bronakowski said. “It felt pretty good.”

That turned out to be the Pirates last touchdown of the ballgame. As for Pleasant Hill, they had two scores in the fourth quarter-the first coming at the 12 minute mark on a 5-yard run by junior Zach Redwine. The touchdown capped off a eight play, 58 yard drive, which took two minutes and 21 seconds.

Pleasant Hill’s second touchdown in the quarter came with 36 seconds left on a 28-yard pass from Koehler to Dimarco to cut the lead to five at 25-20.

Of course there was also a few tense moments in the final 36 seconds as the Roosters recovered the onside kick but were penalized for being offside. Pleasant Hill also recovered an onside kick earlier in the quarter at the Boonville 49.

Hough said those things can’t happen, but for no film, no jamboree and a hot night the Pirates will probably show their biggest improvement from what would have been the jamboree to Week 1 or from Week 1 to Week 2.

“Pleasant Hill is a much improved,” Hough said. “Again, it was a team effort. At the end of the day 25-20 is not something Iam happy with, but at the end of the year we don’t say the score, we say 9-0.”

Hough said it was also a blessing to get the game in. He said every day is a blessing and that is what they preach to the kids. “We’re going to do the best we can to keep our kids safe and we’re going to continue to follow every guideline and have the same conversation of a Boonville Pirate win next week,” he said.

West said it best after walking off the field. “It’s just a blessing to play the game Ilove tonight,” he said. “I’m very proud of my teammates and how they performed. Of course there is always room for improvement, but we still got a “W” and that’s what matters.”

On the defensive side of the football for Boonville, senior linebacker Harper Stock led the team in tackles with 12. Evan Gonzalez finished the game with eight while Dawan Lomax added five tackles, one caused fumble and one fumble recovery, D.J. Wesolak with four tackles and two sacks, Saylor Marquez four tackles and one caused fumble, Peyton Hahn also with four tackles, Hunter Pethan, Spencer Steakley, Peyton Taylor and Nash Mckenzie each with three tackles, Jamesian McKee and Andrew Wiser with two tackles each, Colby Caton, Charlie Bronakowski, Matt Conrow, Dustyn Taylor and Gaige Offineer with one tackle apiece.

Taylor also had one sack while Steakley finished the game with one fumble recovery.

Redwine led the Roosters in both rushing and receiving yards with 11 carries for 54 yards and one touchdown and seven catches for 119 yards and one score. Koehler completed 18 of 38 passes for 247 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while Dimarco hauled in nine passes for 94 yards and one touchdown.