Running quarterbacks are all the rage, but Hartley’s Jared Brandewie isn’t about to draw any comparisons to Braxton Miller, Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III. Still, somebody had to keep the speedy Marion-Franklin defense at bay, and last night the 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior got the call.
Brandewie rushed for a career-high 110 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns, and Hartley bounced back from a rare loss with a 28-14 victory over injury-riddled Marion-Franklin at Jack Ryan Field.
“I don’t really think of myself as a runner, but that element is always part of our game plan and tonight was my night,” said Brandewie, a third-year starter better known for handing off the ball to three all-Ohio running backs. “I struggled a little throwing last week, and Coach decided we were going to put five in the hole and go right at them and run power.
“We were getting good blocking up front, and the coaches obviously found something that worked and stayed with it.”
The Hawks lined up in tight formations and pounded at the Red Devils, who were missing five defensive starters because of injury or suspension. The leader of Marion-Franklin’s defense, linebacker Allijahwon Tarvin, was in a wheelchair because of a broken ankle.
Sam Mackowiak had 109 yards on 20 carries for the Hawks (2-1), who were smarting from a 41-16 loss at home to Coldwater the previous week. A Division IV state semifinalist a year ago, Hartley hadn’t lost a regular-season game since 2010.
“A lot of people said we quit last week,” Hartley all-Ohio defensive lineman Kalil Morris said. “ Our haters are our motivators and playing the underdog role for the first time, we felt we had a lot to prove.”
Brandewie added, “Losing last week was probably a good thing for us in the long run. It was a wake-up call. It showed us that we’re not invincible.”
Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said before the game that his team, which graduated a talented backfield duo in Ja’Wuan Woodley and Marcellus Calhoun, needed to redefine itself. It did so with an old-school approach on offense.
“Against these guys, who are so powerful and fast, we couldn’t afford to spread the field and try to play that kind of game,” Burchfield said. “We had to use a lot of backs and tight ends and shorten the game. I told the guys to just keep picking up four or five yards and keep the clock moving.
“With all the big stats we’ve put up in recent years, people sort of had this image of us as being fast and explosive. It’s a misnomer that we can’t get into a street-fight-type of game. We proved that tonight.”
Marion-Franklin, a Division II regional finalist last season, recovered an onside kick and scored with 7:48 left to make it 21-14.
On Hartley’s next series, the Red Devils (2-1) bailed out the Hawks with an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty after a stop on third down near midfield. Later, another 15-yard penalty on third down led to a 4-yard touchdown run for Brandewie.
“They did a lot of stuff we didn’t see on film,” Red Devils coach Brian Haffele said. “ Brandewie, his running wasn’t such a big surprise. They went to an unbalanced line every time he ran, and we just couldn’t stop him.
“Hartley’s a well-coached team, and they showed us we have to get a lot better.”