By Mike Moore
Albion — There was an outright refusal to call this a must win, but in the days leading up to Friday night’s tilt against Marshall, Lumen Christi football coach Herb Brogan had no problem saying how “critical” of a contest this was.
Afterwards, he had no problem wearing his emotions on his sleeve.
“I’m thrilled with he way we played,” Brogan said with a smile of his guys 28-20 victory, the Titans most complete effort of the season so far. “Marshall is a really physical football team, and we’ve struggled with that all year. That was the focus all week long, and the kids answered the bell on both sides of the ball.”
There was no pun intended in that last statement, but the irony is downright delicious.
Bo Bell, the Lumen senior running back who’s served as the team workhorse all season long, was back at it again Friday, carrying the ball 39 times for a career-high 303 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s a great back,” Brogan said, seemingly struggling to put it in any clearer of terms. “I mean, 39 carries. What a durable, tough kid.”
The game, played in front of a large crowd at Albion College, featured a pair of teams that came in at 2-2 and desperately wanted to avoid a third loss with four weeks remaining.
The Titans received the opening kick and promptly marched right down the field, covering 60 yards while taking nearly five minutes off the clock.
Kyle Minder capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone and a 7-0 lead.
But Marshall answered right back just two plays later when Devante Gonsalez rumbled 76 yards less than 50 seconds later to tie the score at 7-7.
Marshall, though, had 43 total yards of offense the rest of the half, and Lumen led 14-7 at halftime thanks to a Bell 27-yard touchdown run with 3:02 to play in the second quarter.
Bell found himself back in the end zone in the third, putting Lumen up 21-7 on a 44-yard score
Early in the fourth, Marshall finally found its offensive groove, and Brad Heidenreich connected with Jarrett DeLand on a 12-yard touchdown pass to make in 21-14.
But Bell and the Titans answered again, taking a handoff on third-and-five and sprinting 65-yards for a 28-14 lead.
Marshall made things interesting, thanks in large part to a pair of Lumen penalties, when Brad Feasel scored on a 8-yard run with 2:19 remaining in regulation to make it 28-20 after a missed extra point.
Marshall (2-3) eventually got the ball back with 19 seconds to play, but never really threatened to score.
Brogan said he was overly impressed by the play of his guys up front, on both sides of the ball, who took on a larger Marshall front but found ways to really take control of the line of scrimmage.
“We came off the ball,” he said. “We matched them up front, which, considering their size, was a big deal.”
Bell, whose 303 yards was a career high and nice follow up from last week’s 159-yard, four-touchdown performance, took it all in stride.
“I give a lot of credit to the offensive line,” he said. “They played so tough. They stuck their nose in there knowing it’d be a physical game.”
Bell powered the offense, which only got 20 total rushing yards from every one else.
Troy Kutcha completed 8-of-13 passes for 55 yards, all in the first half.
Lumen, now 3-2, hosts Coldwater Friday night.
Coldwater (4-1) rolled past Northwest 42-14 Friday.
“That’s a good football team,” Brogan said. “The offense is potent, and they play good defense. They have a great back we have to be ready for.”
Lumen is 27-1 all-time against Coldwater.
The lone loss was a 26-7 decision last year.
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports. You can reach him at email@example.com. He’s also the author of ‘Love, Defined; A Dedication to the Love, Sacrifice, and Magic of Motherhood.’
Love, Defined is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Tate Publishing or by contacting Mike directly.
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