A sophomore made his first start at quarterback in a 14-0 win.
Today we kick off a 50 day countdown to the start of the 2017 Bearcat football season.
The countdown will recap what a committee felt are the best 50 games to have been played in Bearcat Stadium, which, on Sept. 1, will open its gates for its 50th season.
To start the countdown we don't have to go too far back, last Sept. 30 to be precise, when the Bearcats beat Ozark, 14-0.
Why was this game chosen? The Bearcats came in off a one-point overtime loss at Pottsville and had lost two straight by a total of five points. They were also 1-3. But this game would eventually settle who was the two- and who was the three-seed going into the playoffs. Additionally, sophomore Brandon Ulmer was making his first start at quarterback due to an injury to Hayden Fennell the previous week.
What do I remember? Still recovering from lung surgery I was relegated to the press-box for this one and I might have made a comment or two that was picked up on the radio broadcast. Also after the game my phone/social media blew up letting me know Bobby Swofford of Channel 5 had said "Glenn Parrish is smiling somewhere," after showing the game highlights. I was.
What does Brandon Ulmer remember? I remember (fullback Caleb) Draper running over the guy going towards the east end zone and thinking he put the kid in a coma for the rest of his life.
Going into the game it seemed to be the most focused we have been before a game. I guess that happened to be because we were playing Ozark, who we all hate. We had two big time plays that sealed the game for us.
What happened, exactly? The plays Ulmer means occurred in the second and fourth quarters. What he didn't say was he set up the first one when he intercepted Ozark's Dawson Dietz and returned it to the Hillbilly 46-yard line, which became the 31 because he went down by the facemask, with 2:27 left in the opening quarter.
The drive seemingly took forever, nine plays including a fourth down conversion — Draper got 2 yards when he needed 1 — including the scoring fourth down. Partially thanks to a penalty it ended up being fourth-and-goal from the 7 when Draper bulled his way into the end zone to make it 6-0 with 11:10 left in the first half. The point after try hit the upright and it stayed 6-0 until the fourth quarter.
With just under nine minutes to go Ozark was at their 42 with a first down before a snap issue, a tackle for a loss by Noah Reyes and an incomplete pass brought on the punting unit. Ulmer blocked Baylor Ree's kick and Grant Rodatz was there to pick it up and run it back for a touchdown. Ulmer then made a high throw to Trent Wooldridge but Wooldridge brought it in for a two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead with 7:44 to go.
After a fourth down stop with 6:40 left, the Bearcats kept the ball the rest of the night.
Ulmer's night might not have been statistically spectacular but it was enough. Besides the two-point conversion pass he was 4-of-6 throwing the ball, but for just 18 yards. He also ran for a team best 61 yards rushing as 200 yards would be enough to win it. Defensively Ulmer had seven tackles to go along with the interception and blocked punt.
Tomorrow, number 49 has an exciting finish and a first.