Eagles fall to Bell, finish 4-6

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Best finish since 2002

By Kellie Parkin

The Bronson Eagles learned how to succeed this year, posting a record breaking season of four wins, said new head coach Al Cooksey.  The season was also a milestone for the coach.  The Eagles’ win two weeks ago marked Cooksey’s 100th career victory.

“We’ve come a long way," Cooksey said Friday on Senior Night after a loss to Bell 40-12.  “You all set a standard we can grow by,” he told his team.

With a winning streak of 6, ranked 3rd in rushing, receptions, and scoring, as well as boasting a record of 8-1 coming into the game, it was no surprise that the Bulldogs roughed up the Eagles. 

The Bulldogs scored at the end of the first quarter, then again at the 10:11 mark in the second to make it 13-0. 

But the Eagles showed discipline in their first scoring series of the game.

Rodolfo Contreras fielded Bell’s onside kick on the 34 yard line and ran for 10 more.  Barber held on to a high hike then threw 9 yards to Raymie Powers.  On 2nd and 1 Virgil Greenlee erupted, running to the Bulldog 35.  After a stifled running play, Barber faked the short pass and found Contreras at the 9 for a 26-yard gain into the red zone. 

On first and goal, Barber fired the bullet pass too low into the end zone.  On second and goal, he drilled a bullet off of a ref who must certainly be sore and bruised this week.  On third and goal Barber ran to the 3.  Then on fourth and goal he pitched to Greenlee who rolled right then ran for the touch down 13-6.

A few minutes, a touchdown and 2 extra points later, the Bulldogs were up 21-6 at the half.

Shortly into the third quarter Bell scored again 27-6.  The fourth opened with another Bulldog touch down 33-6. 

The Eagles then came together for their best offensive effort of the evening.  AJ Graham fielded the onside kick, turning the corner to make it to the 50.  Barber then took over with the long pass.  Greenlee caught the ball on the 6 and scrambled to the 1.  A quick quarterback sneak later and Bronson had their last score of the season making it 33-12.

The Bull Dogs scored again with 5 minutes remaining 40-12.

It was a tough season for the Eagles, losing games they should have won, said Cooksey.  We’re working to instill a tradition of excellence among student athletes who have grown up watching loss after loss, he said.

Eagle offense found strong play with four touchdowns each from Barber, Contreras, Greenlee and King.  The versatile Barber led the team with a total of 39 points for the season.

Eagle defense showcased tough play. Season highlights included Jesse Waybright tallying 29 tackles and 27 assists, Mike Sinclair with 26 and 20, Michael Knapp with 9 sacks, 20 and 12, Harold Hicks with 2 sacks, 16 and 19, Jake Williams with 16 and 20, Rodolfo Contreras with 15 and 18, and Virgil Greenlee with 15 and 17, according to maxpreps.com.

Special teams highlights included Powers who averaged more than 49 yards on kick offs, Barber with 43 yards per punt, and Greenlee with 28 yards on punt returns.

The team gathered Friday night in the mid field post game to hear approval and vision voiced by their new coach. 

“If we continue to work, we’re going to build on it,” the Cooksey said, looking toward the future.  Resolved to make winning a tradition in Bronson, the coach announced practices beginning Monday.  “Thanks to all of you guys.  Good hard work,” he said.

Assistant Coach Mo Mitchell also thanked the Eagle players.  “I want you to know I appreciate and love every one of you,” he said.