Middletown’s Au’Braylen Million (12) is brought down by Sycamore’s Jovani Mujanayi during Friday night’s game at Barnitz Stadium in Middletown. Million had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, but the Middies lost 31-24. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIDDLETOWN ATHLETICS

Prep football: Bryant’s huge game not enough, Middies fall to Sycamore

The Aviators improved to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the GMC with the road win, while Middletown dropped to 1-5, 0-4. Both teams were coming off Week 5 losses.

Sycamore was powered by junior running back Jordan McConnell, who got the job done on the ground and through the air. He carried the ball 14 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns while catching two passes for 78 yards and a score.

“I honestly think that this win means that we are back to the team we were before last week’s setback,” said McConnell, mentioning the 45-0 defeat at the hands of Colerain. “This was kind of our revenge to get back and show that we are a good team. Middletown is a great team and they put up a really good fight, and that gave us the boost tonight.”

This game was tightly contested throughout, and the Aviators won the yardage battle 465-397. Middletown hampered its own cause with 13 penalties for 122 yards.

“I thought our effort tonight was very good,” Middies coach Don Simpson said. “Our big thing right now is changing the culture, and we just have to get out of our own way. If you watch the game tape from tonight, a lot of the things they capitalized were mistakes by us. Penalties once again killed us. This is all a process when you are trying to turn a team around and be competitive.”

Sophomore Josh Bryant had a huge game for the Middletown, rushing 30 times for 252 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Kamari Fuller was 7-of-15 for 133 yards and hit Au’Braylen Million and Shandon Morris with scoring passes — Million totaled 109 yards on four receptions.

The Middies showed their resilience late in the game. Angel Rivera’s 45-yard field goal brought the hosts within 31-24 with 11:28 remaining, and Middletown would stop Sycamore on fourth-and-1 deep in its own territory.

But the Middies fumbled the ball away and turned it over on downs on their last two possessions as the Aviators held on.

“Our intangible part all year has been pretty good,” Sycamore coach Scott Dattilo said. “We’ve been gritty by being behind in every single game this year, and we’ve charged back in all of them. We’re going to fight, scrap and claw, even though it’s not the prettiest all the time.

“Middletown played their butts off tonight. They have tremendous athletes and Coach Simpson has done a phenomenal job. I don’t care what their record says.”

Next Friday, the Middies will travel to Hamilton for the annual Butler Bowl and the Aviators will visit Fairfield.

Sycamore 12-7-12-0—31

Middletown 14-7-0-3—24

S: Jordan McConnell 6 run (Kick blocked)

M: Au’Braylen Million 52 pass from Kamari Fuller (Angel Rivera kick)

M: Josh Bryant 62 run (Rivera kick)

S: Davis NiBlack 62 pass from Drew Altemuehle (Pass failed)

M: Shandon Morris 1 pass from Fuller (Rivera kick)

S: McConnell 49 run (Sam Miles kick)

S: McConnell 21 pass from Andrew Fehr (Run failed)

S: McConnell 6 run (Kick blocked)

M: Rivera 45 field goal

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