BRADFORD – The Bradford Railroaders couldn’t get anything going on offense or defense Friday night, falling to the Catholic Central Fighting Irish 42-0.
Bradford received the opening kickoff on its 30-yard line. Senior Mason Justice ran the ball for a gain of 2 yards but was stuffed on a pitchout the next play for a loss of 7. On third and 15, quarterback Andrew Branson was unable to complete a pass for the first down.
After the Bradford punt, Catholic Central ran an eight-play drive that ended in a rushing touchdown by Catholic Central senior Thomas Kavanagh. Bradford surrendered 36 rushing yards and 15 passing yards on the drive.
From there things didn’t get any better for the Railroaders. On the next series their only positive yardage came from a pass interference penalty on Catholic Central and a run for 3 yards on third and 5. Again Bradford was forced to punt but wasn’t out of the fight just yet.
Catholic Central was able to run the ball well and pick up a first down. But the Bradford defense buckled down and forced a punt from midfield.
After a three and out, Bradford punted again, and Catholic Central scored on a touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Kelly to Kavanagh, extending the lead to 14-0.
Into the second quarter, Bradford punted again. Catholic Central amassed 36 passing yards from one play and 20 rushing yards from three plays, but Bradford made a goal line stand and gave the ball back to its offense on the 4-yard line.
The Railroaders were able to pick up two first downs, thanks to a hard ground attack by Branson and Justice, but punted with 2:40 left in the half. Catholic Central quickly scored on a three-play, 36-yard drive.
Down 21-0, Bradford seemed poised to get on the scoreboard before the half, but the quarterback and receivers weren’t on the same page the entire night. When Branson’s passes were accurate, the receivers dropped the ball; when the receivers were open, Branson fell under pressure.
Just before the half, Catholic Central took over on a short field and was able to score on the first play – another rushing touchdown for Kavanagh.
The Railroaders went into halftime down 28-0, lacking physicality on both sides of the ball.
Defensive coordinator Jim Hart – speaking for unavailable head coach Dave McFeely – said, “Young. Not very physical. I think the kids are playing hard. It’s just some of them aren’t playing as physical as they need to.”
The opening play of the third quarter seemed to start where Bradford needed – a sack by Dialaquan Millhouse. Catholic Central stuck to its game plan of running the ball, which lead to a 54-yard touchdown by Sean Alexander.
“We missed tackles … a lot of tackles,” Coach Hart reiterated.
Down 35, on the very first play of Bradford’s first possession of the second half an interception was thrown on a trick play, leading to the final Catholic Central touchdown.
“We just weren’t on the same page,” Coach Hart said. “Kids not running the right routes, not in the right spots. Like I told the kids at halftime – we gotta find something deep down inside where we can get meaner.”
The Railroaders may have lost 42-0, but Coach Hart only expects his players to improve, and quickly, against the spread offense of Cincinnati Hillcrest, who they play next week.
“The only thing we can do is keep coaching them up,” he said. “There were bright spots today.”
Bradford surrendered a total of 259 rushing yards while gaining only 11 total rushing yards – mainly due to their eight runs of negative 41 yards.
The Bradford Railroaders fall to 0-3 while the Catholic Central Fighting Irish rose to 3-0.