BRIDGMAN — The 2021 season began with a bang for the Bridgman High School eight-man football team.
The Bees roared out to a 31-0 first-quarter lead on Aug. 26 and never looked back en-route to a 60-8 opening-night victory at home.
Quarterback Reid Haskins broke loose for a 45-yard scoring rush on the second play from scrimmage (followed by the junior’s two-point conversion sprint). Bridgman had recovered a loose ball on the opening kick-off to gain the game’s initial possession.
The Blackhawks’ first drive ended quickly as Bee linebacker Jayce Warren pounced on a loose ball at the Fennville 25 yard line. Haskins was soon back in the end zone (this time from 23 yards out) and again completed the two-point play to open up a 16-0 advantage with 9:08 showing on the clock.
The Bridgman defense ended the next Blackhawk dive with a fourth-down sack by Reid Haskins at midfield. Senior tailback Nate Necas then broke several tackles during a 50-yard journey to the end zone. Haskins’ third two-point run of the evening upped the margin to 24-0 with 6:30 left in the first period.
The Bees completed their first-quarter outburst with a 58-yard scoring strike from Haskins to Warren. A Tanner Peters extra-point kick made it 31-0 with 4:50 to go in the opening frame.
Bridgman finished a 70-yard drive on the first play of the second quarter with Necas scoring from a yard out to open up a 37-0 lead. Haskins had tossed a 40-yard pass to Mathieu Price earlier in the possession.
Following Nolan Staniszewski’s interception, Necas scampered 46 yards for his third TD of the night (a boot by Peters left the score 44-0 with 9:42 remaining in the first half).
Haskins also achieved the gridiron version of a hat track at the 7:14 mark of the second stanza with a 35-yard touchdown rush. Another extra-point kick from Peters opened up a 51-0 chasm.
Necas broke a series of would-be tackles on the kick-off that opened the second half during a 69-yard return for yet another touchdown. Peters kick left the score 58-0.
“We came out intense and we just kept the intensity all game – we never let up,” Reid Haskins said.
Necas said coming into the opener the Bees knew their offense line had to be strong, and they were.
“We had some linemen step up tonight and they did a great job for us,” he said.
The Blackhawks erased the zero from their side of the scoreboard in the third quarter with 8:22 showing on the running clock as Dylan Schut connected with Corey Callejas for a 68-yard scoring strike. Schut then completed a two-point conversion pass to Devon Calhoun to make it a 58-8 ballgame.
A safety on an errant fourth-quarter Fennville snap tacked on two more points for the Bees.
“Everyone was really ready for it,” said senior offensive and defensive lineman Zach Teed, adding that on offense they were able to make blocks all over the field to open up room for their backs.
Bridgman head coach Aaron Locke said the offense’s triple threat of Reid Haskins, Necas and Warren put a lot of pressure on the Fennville defense.
Prior to the game the Bridgman High School spring 2020 sports athletes received commemorative patches and were honored for their achievements, which included conference titles for the golf, boys track, baseball and softball squads, a trip to the state meet by the golfers, and district and regional championships followed by a quarterfinal victory that sent the softball team to the program’s first-ever appearance in the “Final Four” at Michigan State.
Bridgman travels to New Buffalo on Sept. 2 for a 7 p.m. game against the Red Arrow Raiders (a JV contest was scheduled for the preceding evening in Bridgman). The Raiders (a New Buffalo-River Valley co-op squad) were credited with a forfeit on Aug. 26 after Bangor canceled its season.