The start to the district 3-5A season was a good one, as White Settlement Brewer won the battle with Arlington Heights down the stretch 31-27 at Brewer Bear Stadium on Friday night.
Jahrad Taylor was the difference-maker, scoring a go-ahead TD with 1:01 remaining to give Brewer the lead and the win.
Taylor finished the night with 16 catches for 148 yards and two scores. He also iced the game with an interception with just seconds to play.
Earlier in the week, Brewer head coach Todd Peterman had noted that the Bears would have success if “We don’t turn the ball over and play disciplined. That’s a boring answer but that’s it.”
The Bears’ five turnovers flew in the face of his prediction.
Arlington Heights (1-2) jumped out to a 13-0 lead before the Bears clawed back into the game.
The Yellow Jackets’ strength was the running of Darius McCloud and Deontre Jones.
With the Bears preparing for McCloud near the line of scrimmage, Jones was able to lob a 34-yard scoring pass to Tamikeal Bibbs for the first score of the game and a 7-0 lead.
Michael Somerville connected on field goals of 29 and 34 yards for Arlington Heights.
Brewer (2-1) could’ve drawn closer than the 13-10 halftime score had it not been for three lost fumbles in the first half. One of those fumbles occurred after Brewer QB Carson Ingram completed a pass to Chandler Byington on a fake punt down to the Yellow Jackets’ 3-yard line.
Arlington Heights didn’t do themselves any favors as they killed strong drives during the first half with 11 penalties for 90 yards. They collected five more in the second half for an additional 45 yards.
After Justin Davis broke off a 15-yard scoring run for Brewer to pull to within 13-7, the Bears were able to get the ball back with 1:09 remaining before the half. They’d add a 49-yard field goal by Jorge Estrada as the first half clock expired.
Brewer came out swinging, taking the opening drive in for a score and the lead on Taylor’s first TD catch from 19-yards out.
When the Bears got the ball back, Carson Ingram hit Jordan Goss for a 60-yard scoring pass.
But Jones pulled Arlington Heights to a 24-20 deficit after a 6-yard run. They regained the lead on a Jones-to-Myles Brawley pass.
With Arlington Heights up 27-24 and just over a minute to play, Brewer’s Ingram again found Taylor, this time for a 62-yard catch-and-run score.
Game was over when: With the teams moving up and down the field, the game wasn’t decided until Taylor picked off Jones with just seconds to play and the Yellow Jackets driving.
Play of the game: Jahrad Taylor’s first scoring catch was a jump ball in the end zone and turned the tide in the game.
Offensive player of the game: Taylor. Period. He was the difference.
Defensive player of the game: The Brewer defensive line stepped up when needed. Isaac Vielma stood out. With Tamikeal having a great receiving night for Heights, Jeshaun Patton was tasked with keeping him in check for the Bears in the final drives.
Unsung hero of the game: Ingram’s passing – and a few of his keepers around end – were instrumental. He finished 31-41-1 on the night for three scores and 334 yards.
Moment of the game: With Brewer facing a 4th down play from inside their own 20 with about 1:30 to play, a penalty gave them new life and a first down. The next play, Ingram hit Taylor for the 62-yard score.
Stat of the Game: Arlington Heights’ collected 16 penalties for 135 yards.
Big picture outlook: Being the first District 3-5A game, the Bears can head into the next week with momentum and take a bit of pressure off their backs.
What’s next? Arlington Heights, (1-2), plays Saturday at Farringdon Field hosting Saginaw at 7 pm. Brewer (2-1) will play at Crowley on Friday at 7 p.m.