HAMLER — The mission was clear and simple for Patrick Henry on a comfortable, summer-like night.
The Patriots wanted to ruin the evening and an undefeated record for Northwest Ohio Athletic League rival Bryan before the Patriots home crowd.
PH did just that by routing Bryan 47-14 in a key NWOAL matchup last night.
Gabe Jones and Lucas Rosebrook accounted for six of the Patriots' seven touchdowns against a Golden Bears defense that gave up 556 total yards and simply had no answer for slowing down the Patriots' running game. PH gained 448 yards on the ground.
Rosebrook led the way with 194 yards rushing on 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 38, 79 and 6 yards. Jones added 64 yards rushing on 13 carries, including TD runs of 1, 7 and 33 yards.
Tobey Hernandez (6 carries for 46 yards) accounted for a 6-yard touchdown run in the most significant win of the season for the Patriots (5-2, 5-1 NWOAL).
"This was a game where we knew we were going to have to play good," PH coach Bill Inselmann said. "This tells me that we can be a good football team and we have to use this as a building stone."
The Patriots put together four scoring drives in the first half to take a 27-7 lead into halftime.
PH scored on its first three possessions as the Patriots' ballcarriers ran behind a tough run-blocking group of linemen led by junior Jake Carrizales and sophomore Colt Pettit.
"It's fun to call plays when you're winning the line of scrimmage," Inselmann said. "The credit goes to our offensive line and our blocking back. They dominated that line of scrimmage today."
PH took the opening possession and marched 65 yards on six plays with Rosebrook finishing off the drive with his first TD of the night. His 38-yard scamper gave PH an early 6-0 lead.
But Bryan responded with a quick strike of its own and actually took a 7-6 lead when Collin Bacon (11-22-175) connected with Austin Schimmoeller on a post route that turned into a 72-yard touchdown completion with 8:54 left in the first quarter.
However, the Bears' one-play scoring strike summed up their offensive efforts for most of the night as the Patriots ultimately made it a frustrating contest for the Bears (6-1, 4-1).
Bryan finished with 551 total yards (354 rushing, 197 passing), but had only two scoring drives to show for it.
"They're good and they're pretty young," Bryan coach Kevin Kline said, crediting the Patriots for a strong performance. "Bill (Inselmann) does a great job of preparing his kids and obviously they were the better team tonight."
PH didn't trail Bryan for long.
The Patriots regained the lead for good by taking its second possession and marching 82 yards on 15 plays with Jones capping the drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper with 36.3 seconds left in the opening quarter.
It became a 21-7 advantage for the Patriots early in the second quarter when Hernandez found the end zone by finishing off a four-play, 58-yard scoring drive with his 6-yard TD scamper.
The Patriots' fourth scoring drive came a little later in the half. A pass interference call against Bryan and a 35-yard completion from Jones to Kevin Kline set up the final play of the scoring drive – a 7-yard keeper by
Jones with 1:50 remaining before halftime.
A 39-yard field goal try by Bryan's Matt Chaney sailed wide left with under a minute to play in the half to end the Bears' last attempt at adding to their first-half scoring total.
The Patriots resumed dominating the game in the second half, outscoring the Bears 20-7 after halftime.
"This was huge because we wanted to show everybody that we still can contend," Rosebrook said.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @demmons.