William Chrisman’s football team has found ways to win despite many bouts of ugly play through all four games – perhaps none more so than Friday’s 28-16 win over visiting Grandview at Independence All-School Stadium.
So while Bears coach Matthew Perry wishes for a better-looking victory, he won’t refuse what his unbeaten team has done thus far.
“We haven’t won pretty,” Perry said. “That’s been our M.O. It’s not what I want us to do, but it’s what we do.
“Other than the end of the first half and the very first series, our defense was good.”
Good enough that it scored one touchdown, essentially gave the offense another score and provided short fields for the Bears’ final two touchdowns in the first half.
Good enough to record six sacks, five turnovers, harass quarterback Rephael Pearson into misfiring his last 11 throws and allow just 234 yards of offense by Grandview (1-3).
“We struggled getting pressure on the quarterback at first, then in the second half we got more pressure,” said all-state end Daniel Carson, who had 1 1/2 sacks and provided pressure seemingly every passing play, with linemates Dean Downs, Lovelle Williamson, Dominic and David Toese and Isaiah McFall also joining the fun. “We knew that was important because they had some fast guys on the outside. Our D-line is probably the strongest part of our defense.”
The Bulldogs did manage to strike first, when starting quarterback Jason Perez hit Damon Stephens in stride for a 64-yard touchdown pass on the game’s second snap.
On Grandview’s second series, Emori Thomas intercepted Perez and returned 24 yards to the 5. Jaden Thomas ran it in on the next play, then kicked the extra point to tie the game.
Grandview then drove to Chrisman’s 7, but on second and goal Carson forced a wayward option pitch, picked up the loose ball and rumbled 80 yards for a touchdown with 4:29 left in the first.
“I knew it was a fumble as soon as he let go of the pitch, since the running back had left,” the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Carson said. “I wasn’t going to fall on it. I had show off my 40-yard dash.”
Uriah Aleshire (13 rushes, 55 yards) had scoring runs of 2 and 10 yards in the second quarter.
The first came after Keith Reimund’s rip-away from a Grandview receiver gave Chrisman the ball at the Grandview 41. Next, two sacks, an intentional grounding penalty under duress and a short punt left Chrisman just 26 yards to cover.
Pearson’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Tyrese McSwain with 10 seconds left in the second, set up by Javon Williams’ second interception of Dawson Herl, got Grandview within 28-14 at halftime.
But Chrisman’s defense pitched a second-half shutout, negating many struggles elsewhere – including five covered fumbles, a safety in the third quarter and many of the team’s 11 penalties. Kelvyn Mason snared two interceptions in the fourth quarter.
The Bears finally put the game away with three minutes left when Christian Felix (13 carries, 79 yards) spun and powered his way for 38 yards with his team backed up on the 10.
Missed blocks and penalties hamstrung the Bears’ offense all night, Perry said.
“For all the yards Christian Felix had, he didn’t block well,” Perry said. “He’s a better blocker than that.
“We were in first-and-long a lot. We were in long yardage a lot, and we can’t do that. That’s not what we do.”
But what they have done is found a way to win all four games.