Sir Bills edge Green Tech for first win

Johnstown quarterback Bradey Brownell (11) runs for a gain during Friday’s game against Green Tech at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

JOHNSTOWN — Early in Friday’s game against Green Tech, Johnstown was able to move the ball but could not finish its drives.

Late in the first half that began to change.

After the Eagles took advantage of a Johnstown turnover to put eight points on the board in the first quarter, the Sir Bills used a solid ground game to battle back and claim an 18-16 victory over Green Tech in a Class A/B crossover game Friday night at Knox Field.

“At halftime we told them we got in the red zone a couple of times we just need to find a way to punch it in,” Johnstown coach Tyler Hall said. “We had a couple missed passes in the end zone. They took the adjustment we gave them at halftime and did it. That showed in the second half. For such a young group it is amazing they are adjusting so quick.”

After forcing Green Tech to punt on its first possession, Johnstown took its opening drive of the game 45 yards in five plays before the Eagles Jaisen Crumble intercepted Trey Stover at the goal line and ran the ball out to the 45-yard line.

Traydon Lawrence took the first play from scrimmage and rushed the ball 55 yards into the end zone and Crumble ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles an 8-0 lead.

The Sir Bills built momentum late in the opening quarter.

Starting on their own 21, the Sir Bills got a 17-yard pass completing from Bradey Brownell to Stover and Brownell moved the ball two more yards to the 40 before the end of the quarter.

Johnstown continued its drive in the second quarter, moving the ball on the ground into Green Tech territory. On a third-and-2 play, Brownell rolled out and fired a pass down field to Noah Massey who used his height advantage to grab the pass away from his defender and carry the ball down to the 14-yard line for a first down.

This time the Sir Bills capped off the 12 play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-10 play from Brownell to Evan White. The Eagles broke up the 2-point conversion pass play to put the score at 8-6.

Green Tech moved the ball on the en suing kick off to the Johnstown 27 before getting flagged for back-to-back false starts. The Sir Bills defense stepped up and shut down the Eagles drive and took over on downs on their own 29 with just under 1:30 left to play in the third quarter.

Again Johnstown went to its running game to move the ball and were helped by a 15-yard penalty against the Eagles to keep the drive alive and again move deep into Green Tech territory.

Crumble again came up with a drive-killing interception that he returned to the Green Tech 42.

The Eagles could not capitalize on the turnover as on the first play from scrimmage White picked off Crumble’s pass attempt and gave the Sir Bills possession at the Eagles’ 34 with 13 second left in the half. After a failed pass attempt, Brownell took a knee to send the Sir Bills into the locker room trailing 8-6.

Johnstown received the second half kick off and was unable to move the ball on its first possession of the second half.

Johnstown took its first lead of the season with 2:13 left in the third quarter.

Starting on their own 28 with 6:25 showing on the clock, Johnstown got help from a penalty against the Eagles on third down to keep the drive alive. Keeping the ball on the ground with Chase Benton, Brownell and Stover carrying the bulk of the load, the Sir Bills drove to the Green Tech 21 before Stover took the hand off, started toward the left side before switching direction and racing around the right side for a 21-yard touchdown run to put Johnstown up 12-8.

The Johnstown defense came up with a key play early in the fourth quarter.

With the Eagles facing a fourth-and-1, Benton met Crumble at the line of scrimmage, knocking the ball free and Marcus Nellis recovered the ball to give the Sir Bills possession on their 47 with 8:47 left to play.

Johnstown used a time consuming 10 play drive featuring a 13-yard run from Benton to keep the drive alive before Brownell dropped back before seeing an opening and running up the middle on a 12-yard touchdown run and an 18-8 Johnstown lead.

Green Tech answered the score with a five-play drive that ended with a 33-yard pass play from Crumble to Jahzaner Pointer and a 2-point conversion pass to cut the Sir Bills lead to 18-16 with 1:44 left in regulation.

Anticipating an on-sides kick, the Johnstown loaded its front line, but the Eagles opted to kick the ball deep and the Sir Bills started their final drive of the game from their 22.

The Eagles’ chances of pinning Johnstown deep in their territory was hurt when a flag was thrown for Green Tech having too many men on the field, moving the ball out to the Johnstown 37.

With the Eagles out of time outs, the Sir Bills kept the ball on the ground and ran out the clock for their first win of the season.

“We focused all week on being physical,” coach Hall said. “We dominated the line of scrimmage with our big guys up front. On the one long drive where we went hand off, hand off, hand off we had that extra gear to finish it off and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. Last year we aired it out but these guys like the ground pounding style of play.”

Stover celebrated his birthday with 100 yards rushing on 12 carries to go with 51 receiving yards on four catches and a touchdown.

Benton finished with 73 yards on 16 carries and had 11 tackles on defense. Brownell finished with 109 yards, a touchdown and an interception in an 8-for-16 passing performance.

Johnstown (1-1) will take to the road for the first time this season and travel to take on Gloversville (0-1) in the Huskies Homecoming Game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Robert E. Gould Stadium at Husky Field.

Gloversville did not play its Week 2 game against Ballston Spa due to illness on the team.

“It is a big week for us and we are looking forward to it,” coach Hall said. “These kids are going to be hungry for next week.”

Johnstown 18, Green Tech 16

Green Tech 8 0 0 8 — 16

Johnstown 0 6 6 6 — 18

First Quarter

GT — Traydon Lawrence 55 run (Jaisen Crumble run), 7:17.

Second Quarter

J — Evan White 14 pass from Bradey Brownell (pass failed), 7:57

Third Quarter

J — Trey Stover 21 run (pass failed), 2:13.

Fourth Quarter

J — Brownell 12 run (run failed), 3:15.

GT — Jahzanear Pointer 33 pass from Crumble (Jalil Ahmed pass from Crumble), 1:44.