CONCORIA – The Orrick Bearcats played their most complete game of the year in a 46-0 win over Concordia Friday night.
Interim Head Coach Brian O’Dell, who was filling in for Pat Richard, told his team after the game that they would need more games like this one to continue on to another state title.
“Now when we ask the question ‘What is the most complete game we played?’ we won’t have to look at each other and wonder which one it is,” O’Dell told the team after the win. “It’s this one right here.”
The Bearcat crowd, which outnumbered the home crowd by 2 to 1, had a lot to cheer about early.
After Concordia turned the ball over on downs at the Bearcat 40-yard line, Quarterback Joe Kaufman ended a drive that took more than five minutes off the clock with a quarterback sneak from 1-yard out. Kaufman said it was actually a broken play, but he managed to power his way into the end zone.
The Bearcat defense would force a three and out and again the Bearcats began to move the ball down field until Orrick got another big play from tailback Aaron Blyth for 56 yards. After Blyth’s second two-point conversion, the cats had a 16-0 lead. Blyth ended the game with 175-yards on the ground.
However, Concordia’s offense got going, converting a couple of third downs to put the Orioles at first and goal at the 7-yard line. The Bearcats would hold forcing Concordia to go for the touchdown on fourth and inches away from the Bearcat goal line. The Orrick defensive line stood up and stopped the Orioles at the 3-inch line.
“We thought we would just make a brick wall basically,” said Orrick defensive end Leslee Eubank who had two big sacks in the game. “We came into this one wanting to be strong up front, that’s what are whole key was. The emotion after that completely made us have fire and so much emotion the rest of the game.”
Blyth would soon dig the offense out of a whole with a 12 yard run on first down to get the Bearcats out of their own end zone. A few plays later, a Concordia defender barely got a hand on Blyth to save a touchdown. The 26-yard run would set the Bearcats up with a first and 10 from midfield. On the next play Blyth would put the ball on the ground.
Blyth wouldn’t take long to redeem himself as he intercepted a deep pass by Concordia quarterback Kent Schuette and returning it back to midfield. Blyth said he felt relieved after the interception.
“I was mad at myself and I had to get better and make up for it,” Blyth said about the fumble. “It was like a lifesaver and keep my team up.”
The Bearcat offense would get the ball back with 1 minute and 20 seconds left in the half. A 17-yard scramble by Kaufman and a 14-yard pass completion to tight end Matt O’Dell had the Bearcats with a first and goal at the five. Logan Eubank then ended the three-play 31-second drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to put the Bearcats up 22-0 at the half.
The Bearcat offense didn’t miss a beat a the start of the second half and Blyth electrified the crowd with another 38-yard touchdown run where he broke a tackle to keep his balance and tip-toed the sideline.
O’Dell said domination of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball was a key.
“We knew they we’re going to bring the big kid in and just try to bull us,” O’Dell said. “Our kids just got underneath their pads and drove them back and they couldn’t go anywhere.
“The line did a great job,” he added. “Those kids for Concordia were running backwards all night.”
The team played with more discipline than it has in past weeks where flags littered the field on a regular basis. Orrick was only flagged twice in the game.
The last scoring of the game came when Kaufman found O’Dell in the left flat for a 17-yard touchdown strike at the end of the third quarter. It was Kaufman’s first touchdown pass of the year.
“It just felt like our whole team clicked the whole game,” Kaufman said. “It just felt like we couldn’t do anything wrong.”
Kaufman said that O’Dell, who had become one of his favorite targets when he does throw the ball, doesn’t ever practice with the receiving team. O’Dell said when he did get his chance he wasn’t going to be denied the end zone.
“Me and Joe got a good connection,” O’Dell said. “He gets the ball up there and I bring it down. As soon as I caught the ball and saw that guy I knew I was going to give 100 percent to get into the end zone.”
Richard will return to the sidelines next week when the Bearcats return home next week for the 2008 Homecoming game against St. Paul.
Photo: Orrick’s Aaron Blyth (23) ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns in Bearcats’ 46-0 win over Concordia. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)