Barons alone in first place

By on October 11, 2017
Manheim Central senior lineman Joe Kolk (left) sacks Elizabethtown QB Cole Patrick as teammate Troy Kolk closes ground. Photo by Alan Johnson

Manheim Central senior lineman Joe Kolk (left) sacks Elizabethtown QB Cole Patrick as teammate Troy Kolk closes ground. Photo by Alan Johnson

Jaxon Brubaker serves as honorary captain

The long and short of it is that Baron memories are made of this.

Little Jaxon Brubaker took the field with Manheim Central’s captains as they gathered with the referees and Elizabethtown captains prior to the opening kickoff on Friday. Jaxon had spent the week with the Barons as they prepared for the Section Two contest and had a front-row seat as Manheim Central knocked off the Bears 35-12 in a Section Two game at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field.

The win — coupled with Cocalico’s 55-6 pummeling of previously unbeaten Cedar Crest (2-1 L-L, 5-1 overall) — gave the Barons (3-0 L-L, 6-0 overall) sole possession of first place.

Afterward, Jaxon knelt next to Barons’ boss Dave Hahn and helped the coach in the final team break for the evening.

“I met him over the summer,” Hahn said. “A mutual friend of his dad and I gave me a call. He had gone to the hospital and ended up having surgery and he came out nine surgeries later. The mutual friend gave me a call and said ‘Hey, he’s a big Baron fan and do you think you can do anything for him?’

“I took our two captains over to the house and signed a ball for him,” he added. “Ever since then, we’ve kind of built a relationship with him. We had him come to practice (Thursday) night, we gave him a jersey and then we ended up doing our whole practice. We ran a two-minute drill and got on the goal line. We brought Jaxon in to run the play. We kind of made him feel a part of it because he’s been a big part of us and been a nice inspiration for us.”

Jaxon’s week should create a fun long-term memory for him and his family.

Meanwhile, Jake Novak needed to block out a short term memory to deliver the game-changing play early in the third quarter.

Early in the first quarter, Novak tried to intercept Bear QB Cole Patrick’s pass, but the ball sailed slightly outside his reach. Anthony Funk caught the pass and ran to the end zone for the game’s first TD.

“I tried to step in front and pick it,” Novak said. “He just threw it over my head and I made a bad play. You forget about the next play. You can’t let it sink into your head or you’re going to get burnt again because you’re thinking about it too much. You’ve just got to play football.”

As the first half progressed, each team had taken, then lost the lead. So the 14-12 advantage the Barons took into the third quarter seemed tenuous until Patrick dropped back for another long attempt on their opening drive. Defensive lineman Joe Kolk fought through a block and hit Patrick as he threw the ball. Unable to step into the throw, the ball went up rather than long. Novak left his receiver and ran back to where the ball was dropping.

“It floated a little bit, so it gave me more time to run over and catch it,” Novak recalled. “I don’t think (the receiver) saw me coming and was just running to where the ball would be.”

With the interception secured, he ran to his left. Only one Bear could stop Novak until Colin Erb blocked him near the goal line.

“Colin Erb had a huge block for me,” Novak said. “I just followed him.”

Hahn sensed earlier that Novak wanted redemption.

“(Jake) started out (giving) up that one ball deep because he was aggressive and went after the ball,” Hahn said. “I think he was determined he was going to get some things back and he ended up playing a great game for us offensively and defensively.”

Novak finished with two interceptions, as well as eight catches for 84 yards.

Staked to the 21-12 lead, the Barons’ victory never seemed secure until the fourth quarter when Giovanni Lester (nine rushes for 81 yards) scored twice to set the final at 35-12. Tyler Flick (17 rushes, 56 yards) shouldered the load early and found the end zone twice in the first half to set the halftime score at 14-12.

“It works,” Hahn said of using two running backs. “It’s hard sometimes. You try to get into a groove. Once one guy is in a groove, do you want to take a guy out and put another guy in? Flick is playing both ways, he had a fumble and he was just frustrated. I think it was good to give Gio a chance. He had fresh legs and popped a few 10-yard runs.”

The win ends a stretch of difficult games for the Barons, but they finished it with their record still unblemished.

“We played like we just went through a three week stretch of tough games,” Hahn said. “We just got done playing L-S, Cocalico and E-town. That’s a good E-town team. We might have worn them down at the end but that was a game all the way into the fourth quarter.”

Now it’s just a pleasant memory that will linger on in the Baron Nation.

 

 

 

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