Our Upstate Game of the Week featured the Orangeville Broncos and the Polo Marcos, and boy did this game live up to its billing. Polo entered the game winning 9 of their last 10 games over Orangeville since 2006, but it was Orangeville who entered Saturday's contest as the favorite in this game.
Right off the bat to start the game, Polo wanted to send a message to everyone who was doubting them, as Braiden Soltow took the first carry of the game 63 yards to the house on a QB option play that he kept for himself. The extra point was good by Casey Thacker, and Polo had a 7-0 lead just 16 seconds into the game.
Orangeville would respond, and rather quickly, after some big runs from Garret Rodebaugh and a big pass play from Carter Kleckler to Breyton Schofield would set the Broncos up inside the Polo 20 yard line. Kleckler then took the snap and rolled out to his right finding Schofield on a 14 yard TD pass, and following a Dalton Lowe 2 point conversion the Broncos had an 8-7 lead with 8:59 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Orangeville would get a big stop on defense, and would go to work again. Behind the legs of Rodebaugh once again, the Broncos were within striking distance, and the payoff would come on a 2 yard plunge from Brandon Raetz. The 2 point conversion run by Raetz was good as Orangeville extended their lead to 16-7 with 1:48 left in the 1st quarter.
The fireworks would keep going, as Polo put together another drive early in the 2nd quarter behind Soltow and Brady Webb. The Marcos had the ball just inside the Bronco 20 yard line, when Soltow would connect with Ethan Phillips from 16 yards out, and following the 2 point conversion, the Broncos would have a 16-15 lead they carried into halftime.
Orangeville received the ball to begin the 2nd half, and started to take control early, as they marched 70 yards in just over 2 minutes, with the drive being capped off by a Rodebaugh 1 yard TD dive. Rodebaugh then doubled up on the 2 point conversion, extending the Bronco lead to 24-15 with 9:39 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
After a quick set of downs ended with a Schofield INT of Soltow, the Broncos were back in business at their own 38. Once again, the combination of Rodebaugh runs, and Kleckler to Schofield connections moved the Broncos down the field. For the second time in the game, Kleckler found Schofield in the end zone, this time from 14 yards out. The extra point was good as Orangeville increased their lead to 31-15 with 3:20 left in the 3rd quarter.
That is when lightning would strike, with Polo's Brady Webb returning the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the score. The extra point was no good, but Polo closed the gap to 31-21 with 3:06 left in the 3rd.
In the 4th quarter, the Marco defense stiffened, as they shut the Broncos offense down, and got the ball back while closing out the 3rd quarter. But right at the start of the 4th, Webb would break off a 41 yard TD run, evading Bronco tacklers on his way to the end zone. This time the extra point was good, and Orangeville clung to the lead 31-28 with 11:15 remaining in the game.
Orangeville couldn't muster anything on offense, and were forced to punt yet again. This time, they pinned the Marcos deep, and after a penalty, the Marcos saw themselves 87 yards away facing a 3rd down. Soltow dropped back and found Tucker Mumford on an 87 yard pass play for a TD, as Mumford had to fight off a Bronco defender around the 40 yard line, before being left alone for the remaining yards to give Polo the lead 34-31 after a failed extra point.
The Broncos had one last charge, and drove into Marco territory, but a critical 4th and 2 play failed to reach the sticks to extend the Orangeville drive, leaving the Marcos the chance to run out the clock. Facing a 3rd and 7, Soltow would find Mumford again for a key 1st down with 1:15 remaining that would all but seal the game. Polo walked out of Orangeville with a hard fought 34-31 win.
For the Broncos, Kleckler led the passing attack going 7-11 for 168 yards and 2 TD. Schofield was his primary target all day, collecting 6 receptions for 167 yards and 2 TD's, while Rodebaugh had a game high 117 yards rushing on 30 carries for 1 TD. On defense, the Broncos were led by Schofield and Tallon Pelikan with 4 tackles each.
For the Marcos, Braiden Soltow had a dual threat day, going 10-14 passing for 167 yards 2 TD and 1 INT, and added 99 yards rushing on 10 carries and another TD. Brady Webb pitched in with 52 yards rushing on 4 carries with 1 TD, the 85 yard kickoff return for a TD, and 33 yards receiving on 2 receptions with another TD. Tucker Mumford had 112 yards receiving on 4 receptions with 1 TD.
Orangeville (0-1) @ River Ridge (1-0)
Polo (1-0) vs Milledgeville (1-0)