“It was good to get on the winning column again,” Badin coach Bill Tenore said. “I think it was a pretty good overall performance. We are getting better every week. We won the battle of field position.
“The story last week against Taft was we beat ourselves in a lot of ways with penalties and fumbles and bad snaps and that kind of thing, so we did tighten some of that stuff down tonight. That’s the difference.”
The game went back and forth early, but the Braves (0-2) couldn’t stop the Rams from reeling off 17 points in a span of 66 seconds late in the first period.
Matthew Schweinefuss kicked a 29-yard field goal for Badin with 2:48 left in the quarter. Chase Luckett recovered a THS fumble on the next play from scrimmage, and Grawe’s 9-yard touchdown came with 1:59 on the clock. The Braves fumbled again 17 seconds later, and Suedkamp grabbed the ball and headed for the end zone.
“It was nuts, my first touchdown since grade school,” said Suedkamp, a senior defensive end who credited fellow end Brian Gerbus for causing the fumble by Talawanda quarterback Logan Kamphaus. “I just saw the ball rolling and I was like, ‘Here’s my chance to get a score,’ and it turned out for the best. It really helped the team, and that’s what I really just wanted to do.”
It was an exasperating sequence of events for the Braves, who have been outscored 76-13 in the first two weeks of the season.
“Pretty quickly the tides of the game turned,” Talawanda coach J.D. Vonderheide said. “I’ll give a lot of credit to Badin. They put a lot of pressure on us and forced those turnovers. It gave them short fields, a couple quick scores, and really got us out of our game plan.”
It was 24-0 when the Braves embarked on an 80-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. Kamphaus completed seven passes on the 12-play surge and hit Andrew O’Donnell for a 17-yard touchdown with 1:18 left in the half.
Talawanda attempted an onside kick that went out of bounds after only 9 yards, and on the next play, Walsh took off for the end zone to make it 31-7 at the break.
“We had a lot of young guys coming up today, and frankly, I couldn’t be more proud of how they played, especially on the line,” Walsh said. “We had four sophomores starting on the line. Great blocking all night. I’m really proud of those guys.”
Those sophomores were Wade Bullock and Grayson Taylor at the tackle positions, Andrew Jones at guard and Dylan Schmitt at center. The other linemen were junior guard Dallas Krause and senior tight end David Berg.
The Rams rushed for 226 yards. Hartmann-Starks had 63 yards on five carries, and Grawe marked 42 yards on six runs.
Defensively, Badin got an interception from Hartmann-Starks and a fumble recovery from A.J. Ernst. Mitchell Ahr was in on nine tackles, and Traijan Schlager and Jack Chew both had a hand in eight.
“Coach (Joe) Schlager had us prepared great for this game,” Suedkamp said of the Rams’ defensive performance. “I think everyone was just ready to play. We were ready to get back after it after a loss last week. We were all really focused.”
Kamphaus converted 22 of 30 passes for 131 yards for Talawanda, which managed only 48 yards on the ground. O’Donnell caught nine balls for 64 yards.
Also for the Braves, Sean Mondello contributed on interception on defense, and Kevin Engelhard punted four times for a 44-yard average.
“We really found some life through the pass game,” Vonderheide said. “We were able to keep them guessing enough. We just weren’t able to keep that momentum going throughout the night.”
The Talawanda coach said he still believes his squad can be successful this year, but he was “a little bit frustrated” with Saturday’s showing.
“We looked a little bit more undisciplined than we are,” Vonderheide said. “We had some significant plays late in the game called back by silly penalties, what I would call selfish penalties. We’ve got to work on our discipline first and pick up on the execution.
“We deal with this thing one week at a time, so probably more than anything that losing streak is weighing on me as the coach, but it doesn’t change the kids’ attitude. We’ll go as hard as we can this week to prepare for Eaton and try to get some of these mistakes fixed.”
The Braves will host Eaton on Friday, the same night Badin travels to Edgewood.
B: Matthew Schweinefuss 29 field goal
B: Evan Grawe 9 run (Schweinefuss kick)
B: John Suedkamp 6 fumble return (Schweinefuss kick)
B: Lavassa Martin 2 run (Schweinefuss kick)
T: Andrew O’Donnell 17 pass from Logan Kamphaus (Kevin Engelhard kick)
B: Andrew Walsh 49 run (Schweinefuss kick)
B: Davon Hartmann-Starks 46 pass from Walsh (Schweinefuss kick)