The Hilliard Bradley High School football team eked out a victory in its season opener, but coach Mike LoParo believes his squad will need a better effort in Week 2.
The Jaguars head north to Ashland University to play Stow-Munroe Falls on Friday, Aug. 31, and LoParo wants his team to limit the mistakes shown during a 34-28 overtime win over visiting Findlay on Aug. 24 to open the season.
"Maybe (having a tough opener) was a good thing," said LoParo, whose team has won 15 consecutive regular-season games. "We have had a lot of success over the past couple seasons and maybe our kids needed to see that you can't just roll the helmets out there and expect to win."
The Bulldogs, coached by former Pickerington North coach Tom Phillips, had a rough going in their opener against Mentor Lake Catholic on Aug. 24. They lost both their starting quarterback (Clayton Mosher) and running back (J.R. Atkinson) in a 31-7 loss. Mosher suffered an ankle injury and was on crutches after the game, while Atkinson's injury was unspecified.
Despite those injuries, Stow-Munroe Falls outgained Lake Catholic 349-240 in total yards and more than doubled the Cougars in time of possession (32 minutes, 18 seconds to 15:22), but lost three fumbles and had eight penalties for 80 yards.
Mosher was 12-for-18 passing for 125 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to Brian Cartwright.
Freshman quarterback Owen Bainbridge replaced Mosher, completing 12 of 18 passes for 101 yards. Atkinson rushed for 87 yards on 20 carries, and Cartwright had 10 receptions for 120 yards.
"They have some dudes, that's for sure," LoParo said. "Both of their quarterbacks are good, and we'll prepare for (Atkinson) being the running back.
"They will spread you out and throw a lot of screens. They don't hesitate to throw deep. Defensively, they have some really good linemen and linebackers."
Bradley quarterback Griffin Veil connected with wide receiver Jack Duffer three times for touchdowns, including a 14-yard game-winner in overtime. Duffer had eight receptions for 183 yards and also had scores of 46 and 22 yards. Veil was 22-of-34 passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
Jack Richards rushed for 70 yards and two scores on 22 carries as the Jaguars outgained Findlay 342-236 in total yards but had 10 penalties for 85 yards.
"We had some young faces getting their first taste of Friday nights," LoParo said. "We had penalties and mental mistakes, but we were able to come out with a win. Now we need to learn from our mistakes."