High School Sports

High school football: Greene brothers fuel Bald Eagle Area to win over Ligonier, playoff spot

In the Bald Eagle Area offense, Greene means go — fast.

Friday night the Brothers Greene — Bryan and Bryce — combined to score all six Eagle touchdowns in a 45-6 rout of Ligonier Valley to position themselves in a more favorable spot in the District 6 AA playoffs which begin next week.

You couldn’t blame Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel if he thought he was seeing double. He was as the brothers with sprinter’s speed broke big plays all over the field. Bryce Greene was the bigger tormentor as he caught three touchdown passes from Jason Jones and tacked on a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown. He finished with seven catches for 106 yards to go along with the punt return.

Bryan Greene, who is usually the bigger scorer of the two, had a 13-yard run from the quarterback position and later scooped up a fumble and returned it 39 yards for a score. He carried the ball 12 times for 65 yards and caught a pair of passes for 60 yards.

“They were just better than us tonight,” Beitel said of the Eagles. “I told our kids that sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. Tonight they made the big plays and we didn’t.”

The Eagles, a traditional I-formation team, turned to the Wildcat with Bryan Greene taking the snaps instead of lining up at his usual wideout position. The formation proved lethal as Greene carried five straight times for 50 yards, scoring from the 13 with 8:00 left in the first quarter.

Ligonier Valley answered with a 73-yard drive that was capped when Scott Fennell found Garrett Tobias in the back of the end zone where he caught a tipped pass for the score at the 3:05. The extra point was no good, leaving the score at 7-6.

From there on it was all BEA.

The Eagles started their next scoring drive from their own 30. After Bryan Greene ran for 10 yards, he played pitch-and-catch with his brother for four straight completions and 32 yards, ran for 18 more and then, when the drive stalled, Tyler Schall kicked a 32-yard field goal with 8:45 left in the second quarter.

“It’s awesome,” Bryan Greene said of his time at quarterback and throwing to his brother. “I love playing with him. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

BEA added three touchdowns in the second quarter as Jones and Bryce Greene combined for a 50-yard score, then added a 25-yarder for another score at the 1:27 mark.

Ligonier Valley had to punt on its last possession of the half and Bryce Greene let the ball bounce once, scooped it up and bolted 71 yards down the right sideline for the score with 29 ticks still showing on the clock. Schall made it 31-6 at the half.

“Any time we can get the ball in either Bryce or Bryan (Greene’s) hands we have a chance to score,” said BEA coach Jack Tobias. “We have multiple playmakers. But we put Bryan in the Wildcat because has has speed, he can throw and he makes good decisions. He and his brother both have speed and when we bring one in motion one way and then send the other way it spreads the defense out. Adding the Wildcat gives our offense balance and gives the other team one more thing to think about.

“We repped the Wildcat last week but didn’t use it,” Tobias added. “Then we repped it again this week and we figured we had nothing to lose. They ran it to perfection in practice. Bryan has speed, he can throw and he makes good decisions. With the Wildcat, when we add it to our regular offense, it spreads the defense out and gives it something else to think about. And Bryan and Bryce can do it all. Bryce had one of the better games I’ve seen. It’s all about getting the ball to your playmakers.”

In the second half, Bryan Greene got his second score when he scooped up a fumble by Collin Smith and took it 39 yards for the score with 8:26 still to go in the third quarter.

BEA’s last score came with 3:02 left in the quarter when Jones, who finished the night completing 8 of 13 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, found Bryce Greene alone in the back of the end zone. Schall kicked the final point of the game.

Tobias, as a former lineman, was quick to throw bouquets to his offense line for its performance on the night.

“They were phenomenal,” he said. “They gave us time to throw our passes and gave the backs holes to run through. Hunter Hall, Levi Cramer, Tanner Cramer, Dakota Rossman and Ben Bytheway did a great job.”

The Eagles will now move on to the playoffs for the second year in a row, most likely meeting Tyrone in a rematch from earlier in the season.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Bryan Greene. “We knew we had to win to get in, that if we lost there was a possibility that we might not make it. For the seniors, we wanted it really bad.”