End of season just beginning for Eagle team
Brady football team finishes 4-5.
MERNA—Brady’s football season didn’t end the way all 26 players, three coaches and hundreds of fans had hoped.
The Eagles were thrilled to simply get into the state playoffs for the first time in 12 years but once they made it, everyone wanted more.
“We came out strong and played really well in the first half,” said Brady coach Darren Tobey. “I wish I knew what happened in the second half.”
The Eagles fell to state-ranked Anselmo-Merna 54-18 to finish their season with a 4-5 record.
“It’s disappointing but I am so very proud of these kids,” Tobey said.
Brady led 18-16 with three minutes to play in the second quarter.
The Eagles’ three touchdowns came on a 71-yard pass from Corbin Blede to Brad Ward followed by 40-yard and 25-yard runs by Ward.
Tobey said he still felt good about the game despite trailing 24-18 at halftime.
“Then the wheels fell off,” he said.
Anselmo-Merna scored four unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
Junior Brad Ward finished with 102 yards rushing on 20 carries and a 71-yard reception.
The 8-1 Coyotes will face 7-2 Chambers Wednesday (today) at home.
“We may have lost our last three games but the coaches all believe we continued to get better,” Tobey said.
The improvement shows in the individual and team statistics for the season.
Ward collected 1,207 total yards rushing on the year, the first player to reach 1,000 yards in more than a decade.
Ward also tied the school record for most touchdowns in a season with 23, a mark previously set by Nate Lydic in 1990.
As a team, Brady earned 2,048 yards rushing on 434 carries. That is a new record for rushing attempts, breaking the old mark of 433 set in 1982.
“It’s been a long, long time coming to rebuild this program,” Tobey said. “I just don’t want the boys to be satisfied with making the playoffs and winning four games. We have to want more.”
The Eagles will likely find themselves in a new district next fall and possibly a new classification.
Other Brady athletic teams have moved up to Class D-1. Tobey said with some schools choosing to play six-man football and other forming co-ops, it is difficult to predict what will happen next year.
“We’ve built the foundation and we’ve begun to change the identity of this team,” Tobey said. “We can only hope to build from here.”