MORROW– The talk of the town this past week, from Oxford to Morrow, was how will the Brave stop Brody Reder and the Panthers. The answer was they couldn’t. Little Miami’s senior quarterback threw 228 yards, while rushing for 153 yards on just seven attempts. Good for three scores on the ground and two in the air.
“He is a super dynamic guy, I can’t ask anything more from him,” said Panther’s head coach Caleb Jones of Reder. “He is surrounded by a lot of good players on offense. He makes them right a lot. We’re proud of him and the rest of the offense.”
Though Reder would end the game being responsible for five scores, he started it off with a turnover. While the Panthers were driving, Reder overthrew his target and it ended up in the hands of the Brave’s defensive back Tyler Teeters. That would be one of the last times that the Panthers would end their drive without getting in the end zone.
The very next time that Little Miami got the ball, Reder took two carries practically the length of the field– the first being for 54 yards and the second for a 33 yard tuddy.
Talawanda head coach Larry Cox knew coming into tonight’s game that they would need to limit the big plays, unfortunately for the Brave, they weren’t able to do that.
“They got us with big plays,” said Cox on the Panther’s offense. “That’s the one thing we haven’t been giving up. We just have to go back and look at the film and see what we have to do to fix it.”
Coach Jones knew coming into Friday’s game that if they executed they’d be hard to stop– that may have been an understatement. Each drive was like an artillery shell, shocking Talawanda’s defense.
As the first quarter closed, the Brave had Little Miami at third and 12 near mid-field. Reder dropped back to pass and found Reis Stocksdale wide open down the field for a 52 yard touchdown. In the third quarter, the exact same play, a wheel route to Stocksdale worked again for a 47 yard score.
Stocksdale caught four passes for 144 yards and two scores– not a bad showing on Homecoming.
“He is a shining star,” said Jones of Stocksdale. “He is a guy you have to look out for. He can go the distance, he can move, he can play.”
Though Reder and Stocksdale both had incredible games, the most jaw-dropping play came from Talawanda’s back Terrell Wills.
The 6-foot-3, 220 lb back got the Brave on the doorstep with a run that would make you reminisce of Marshawn Lynch in his prime. Wills took an inside handoff before shedding off one tackler and breaking it outside. He then scurried up the line, breaking off a pair of tacklers and spin moving out of another. He wasn’t tackled, but was instead pushed out at the one yard line, which set up and easy QB sneak TD for Adam Crank.
That touchdown made the game a one score contest, and set up a crucial series of events.
Down a score, and with three minutes to go before heading into the locker room, the Brave started a campaign up the field. Talawanda moved the chains three times, and snuck into Panther territory.
On 4th and 7, with the ball on Little Miami’s 42, the Brave opted to go for the lead and didn’t punt. Talawanda turned it over when a completed pass to Deondre Bothast-Revalee came up short of the chains.
38 seconds remained in the half, which was plenty of time for the Panthers.
“No one wants a touchdown scored on them right before half,” said Caleb Jones. “That’s why I came in the offensive huddle and said ‘let’s go guys, let’s put a dagger in it right here and cap off this half.”
It took three plays and 22 seconds for Little Miami to find the end zone, as Reder scampered 25 yards into the promised land.
That score truly was a dagger in the side of Talawanda and showcased how quickly Little Miami can find the end zone.
“Our offense is definitely quick-strike,” said the Panthers’ head coach. “They take care of business when we’re out there. Sometimes too much and too quick. I joke with our offensive coordinator about that, but it’s a good problem to have.”
Little Miami’s six scores were on an average of 31 yards.
After falling last week in a gut-wrenching overtime loss to Mt. Healthy, the Panthers were out on a mission.
“This week we had something to prove,” said Jones. “We had to step up and get our first win in the SWOC, and we took care of business. Talawanda is a great team, and they’re going to have success this year, good luck to everybody else.”
Though the score, and even the game itself didn’t always seem like it, Talawanda was in the game– they just shot themselves in the foot.
“Let me put it this way, there is dirt on everyone’s doorstep and we all have to do some cleaning,” said Cox on the Brave’s performance. “We were our own worst enemy… In these big games we can’t have self-inflicted wounds. It’s hard enough to beat them, let’s not beat ourselves first.”
Though Talawanda was able to move the ball for 379 yards, they were hindered by penalties. They suffered eight penalties for 90 yards.
“We’ll live to fight another day, and we’ll come back, try fixing it and get better for next week,” concluded Cox.
Talawanda falls for the first time this season, dropping to 4-1. Their next test will be another quick fire offense in Harrison (4-1).
Little Miami scored 22 straight points in the second half as they improve to 4-1. They play Northwest (1-4) next Friday.