HILLSBORO – It only took one play for the Western Brown offense to take off from where it ended last season. After a hard defensive stand and an interception by Jake Henderson, senior quarterback Chaiten Tomlin threw the ball on a short screen pass to senior Eean Hornung and he was off the races for a 42 yard touchdown reception.
From that point on it was all Broncos, all night, on their way to a 40-0 victory on the road in Hillsboro. Play was not perfect for Western Brown however. Tomlin threw for 407 yards in the game, including 337 in the first half, but he also threw three interceptions all to Hillsboro’s Hunter Chain.
“Whenever we got the news that Coach (Evan) Dreyer was leaving, I talked to Coach Sizer and he said our offense wouldn’t change one bit,” Tomlin said. “The biggest challenge is sticking together and playing as a team. We get mad and frustrated, but communication is the biggest thing in our offense.”
The offense was clicking for the Broncos. Tomlin went 23-34 for 407 and five scores through two quarters and half of the third quarter before moving to the sideline and becoming the signal caller with offensive coordinator Jeff Essig. Quickly in the game, Tomlin established Hornung as his go-to target. Hornung had 180 yards receiving and two touchdowns (42, 86) and one rushing touchdown. Hornung’s biggest threat is his yards after the catch. His elusiveness in the offense allows him to get to the outside and follow his blocks from the great core of receivers. Eli Crall, Carson Eyre, Wyatt Fischer, and Jacob Daniel can all block down field as well as find holes in the defensive.
Crall, Eyre, and Fischer all saw significant playing time on Friday and split the rest of Tomlin’s yards between them. Eyre capped off the second scoring drive with a eight yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone giving Western the 13-0 lead. At the end of the first half, Crall added to the Broncos 26-0 lead with a 15 yard touchdown reception from Tomlin making the score 33-0 to end the first half. The final score for the Broncos came by way of Zach Stacy on a 35 yard touchdown pass from Tomlin. Stacy gives the Broncos a different element in the backfield. He replaces senior leader Nick Osborne, but Stacy has both a size and speed advantage on Osborne. Stacy stands 6’3” and weighs 250 pounds. He is a loud to tackle and in the Bronco offense, when he is moving, he is a freight train to bring down.
The Broncos are playing with a big of swagger and a chip on their shoulder this season. They have made back-to-back playoff appearances with little success in the post-season (0-2), but with former Coach Evan Dryer at Oak Hills, returning coach Don Sizer has added swagger and it showed Friday night.
“I don’t know how much I’ve stepped up the enthusiasm individually, but as a staff we have worked on making each play more urgent,” Sizer said. “We can’t think ‘oh I’ll get that block next time’ or ‘I’ll make a play next time’ – it’s this is important right now, I need to get off this block now or block this guy now. Every play is the most important play of the game. That’s through the staff and everyone has bought into it.”
The Broncos are playing with much more defensive intensity than they have in previous years under Dreyer. Coach Sizer is known for his hard-nosed defense and intensity.
“I’ll tell ya what, our linebacker coach, played for me as a freshman in the program. All the things on defense, I don’t have to coach him on that, he knows what I expect and that makes a difference,” Sizer said. “It makes a big difference. You spend a lot of time coaching coaches, not that they aren’t knowledgeable, but you have to be on the same page.”
Both the players and the coaches seem to be on the same page from the freshman to seniors and from the new coaches to the old coaches, everyone is working together on the sideline to win.
“I’ll tell ya the biggest difference from last year to this year is, we have a lot of the same kids, but the difference is we aren’t doing a whole lot of different things, so the kids aren’t thinking as much,” Sizer said. “They are running around playing football and not thinking as much and playing at full speed.”
Western will need to bring both the offensive fire power and defensive aggressiveness Friday night for the home opening against Little Miami. They are coming off a wild 48-26 loss at home to Wilmington. Western beat Little Miami last season 59-29 on the road. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 P.M. at Kibler Stadium.