Western Branch Wins on FG 23-21

Kick Sends Bruins to Semis:
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Making their first playoff
appearance since 2008 when they lost to the Bethel Bruins in the Eastern Region
quarterfinals, the fifth-seeded Western Branch Bruins made the trip across the
tunnel to Darling Stadium in Hampton to play fourth-seeded Bethel in a battle
between two surprising 8-2 squads.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Western Branch saw its season come down to one play, a
30-yard field goal try by Brady
class=SpellE>Schomburg with under a minute to play.
style=> With the game on the line, the junior calmly
drilled the kick, the biggest of his life to propel the Bruins from Chesapeake
to a 23-21 victory that puts them in the Eastern Region Division 6 semifinals.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"When we get out there, I wasn't really nervous.
style=> Before then, I was a little nervous though,"
class=SpellE>Schomburg admitted. "I
felt like it was good when it left my foot and that was a great feeling.
style=> If I had missed, I would've cried."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>There were only tears of joy for Western Branch, which
notched its first playoff victory since 2007 when they beat Bayside in the
quarterfinals. Kevin Newsome, who's now
at Temple, was the team's quarterback then.

credited his snapper, Chris Myers,
and his holder, T.J. Boothe,
as well. First-year Head Football Coach
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Greg Gibson, who came to the Bruins
after orchestrating a turnaround at Norview last year, never doubted his decision
to kick the field goal on 4th & 2 from the 13-yard line.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I had all the confidence in the world that we were
going to block it up front and Brady was going to put it in between the pipes,"
Gibson stated. "That was a great job by
him. We practiced it all year long and
like I told all the guys sometimes it's going to come down to a field goal and
we have to have confidence in our kicker, and we do."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>It was the first game Western Branch has played all
year long decided by less than 14 points.
All eight of their previous wins were lopsided and so were the two
losses to Oscar Smith and Grassfield.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Bethel got out-gained 301-172 on the evening, but led
on two separate occasions, 14-13 in the second period and 21-20 in the fourth
quarter. Western Branch was able to win
in spite of four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles), having a punt
blocked, missing an extra point and not scoring a touchdown in the entire
second half.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was all about belief from the get go.
style=> We believed in ourselves no matter what
happened. We realized that you have to
have a short memory with everything that has happened and have to make the
plays now," said Western Branch running back
normal'>Josh Marriner, the guy they rode on their
final drive to put them in field goal range.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"A win like this shows what we can do as a team when we
stick together. No matter what, if it's
something bad that happens or we're doing something good, it's important that
we stay together as a team throughout the whole entire game and not give up."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Now after going 10-20 over the past three seasons
before 2012, the Bruins are one of only eight remaining teams playing in the
region the week before Thanksgiving.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was two good teams battling it out and the kids
played with a lot of heart," added Gibson.
"We overcame a lot of adversity, had a couple picks, a fumble return for
a touchdown, a blocked punt. The defense
played lights out keeping them off the scoreboard for the most part on some of
those dramatic turnovers we had in the red zone and did a great job."

mso-highlight:yellow'>Milestone Man:
Named the Southeastern District Offensive Player of the Year earlier in
the week, Marriner was the catalyst for the Western
Branch offense yet again. He eclipsed
2000 yards for the year in the win, rushing for 173 yards and a touchdown on 30
carries against a Bethel defense that is no slouch, featuring a couple of D-I
talents in safety Nick Clark and
junior defensive lineman Ricky Walker,
a BCS prospect who was named the Peninsula District Defensive Player of the

becomes the first player in Western Branch history to reach the milestone.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's great," Marriner said
of rushing for over 2000 yards. "I
wouldn't be able to do it without my team.
My o-line and even people who don't even play
offense push me in the weight room, believe in me and they make me do what I
have to do so we can stay on top."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In the first half, Marriner
carried the ball 16 times for 109 yards.
His numbers weren't quite as good in the second half and some might say
he was slowing down, but he actually more yards per carry in the third quarter
(7.3). Bethel was able to win Time of
Possession that quarter 8:03 to 3:57, and that limited
class=SpellE>Marriner to just four carries for 29 yards.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>When the fourth quarter rolled around, Western Branch
possessed the ball 8:18 to 3:42, handing it off to Marriner
10 times for 39 tough yards he grinded out.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"He can go outside, he can go inside and they did a
good job of stacking the box. We just
had to take three yards, two yards, four yards, but when we needed a
five-yarder to get a first down, he was there," Gibson commented.
style=> "Overall, it was a great effort with Josh
leading the way as the workhorse."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For the year, Marriner has
now rushed 228 times for 2071 yards and 24 touchdowns.
style=> All Marriner needs
is 21 yards next week in the regional semifinals to tie the single-season
Southeastern District rushing yardage record set by Great Bridge's
class=SpellE>Dre Mayes just a year ago.

mso-highlight:yellow'>Converting in the Clutch:
style=> As great as Marriner
was, Western Branch needed its defense to step up in the red zone a couple
times to hold Bethel out of the end zone, and for the passing game to balance
out their power running to be in position to win.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Senior signal caller
normal'>C.J. Thomas didn't wow statistically, going 4 of 9 for 65 yards and
two interceptions. However, Thomas did
come through when it mattered most on fourth down.
style=> Western Branch converted all three of their
fourth downs on the night, two of them in enormous situations.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Midway through the second quarter, Thomas found
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Brandon Addison for a 38-yard touchdown
pass on fourth down. Facing fourth down
again on their final drive of the game, Thomas found
normal'>T.J. Boothe over the middle for 14 yards
to move the chains and get in field goal range for Schomburg.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"When we needed a big completion, C.J. and T.J. did a
great job of hooking up in the middle of the field," Gibson agreed.
style=> "We made some errors, but we stepped up and
were able to overcome those mistakes."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In addition, Thomas was able to use his mobility to buy
time in the pocket and move away from pass rushers.

mso-highlight:yellow'>Stellar Season Ends in Close Defeat:
style=> Few could've envisioned that Bethel would
have the season they did after graduating a boatload of seniors, most notably
starting quarterback Frank Brown and wide receivers Rashawn
Proctor (now at ODU) and Willie Davis.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>They actually finished with a better record, going 8-3
overall and re-grouping from a 51-0 shellacking at the hands of Lake Taylor by
beating Hampton and losing to reigning Division 5 State Champion Phoebus by
only two. One could argue they improved
as much as any team from game one to their final contest.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Playing exceptionally in his final game in a Bethel
uniform was senior receiver/defensive back Corey
Sweetenburg, who scored on a 26-yard reception,
returned a fumble for a touchdown 36 yards, ran 50 yards on a reverse and
recorded 10 tackles on defense.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>With Walker and a host of others returning next year,
plus it being their second season in a new system with several talented players
moving up from J.V., expect more good results for 2013 and beyond.

Beach Juggernaut
class=GramE>Minus Star QB Awaits Bruins:
style=> Next up for Western Branch is no easy task in
Beach District Champion Ocean Lakes, a team that entered the playoffs tops in
the region in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's a great challenge, but we're ready to take it on
as a team," Marriner remarked.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Dolphins will be without star quarterback Corwin
Cutler, who suffered a knee injury in their 34-3 victory over Granby.
style=> Nonetheless, they're a squad full of future
College Football players.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They're fantastic, a great football team and it's
going to be a tremendous challenge for our young men," Gibson said.
style=> "But we've earned the right to play them.
style=> We played good all year and going to be
looking forward to them."

Postgame Audio with
Western Branch Head Football Coach Greg Gibson


Branch 23:
style=> (9-2 overall)
Josh Marriner - - 30Car. 173Yds. TD
C.J. Thomas - - 4-9 for 65Yds. 1-2TD/Int. ratio; 2Car.
Donte Shepard - - 10Car. 30Yds.
T.J. Boothe - - 2Rec. 22Yds.
Brandon Addison - - 1Rec. 38Yds. TD
Kenneth Holland - - 9 Tackles
Cornelius Smith - - 6 Tackles, TFL
Forrest Bailey - - 5 Tackles, TFL

style=> (8-3 overall)
Trey Jackson - - 7-14 for 93Yds. 1-1TD/Int. rato
Corey Sweetenburg - - 1Car. 50Yds;
1Rec. 26Yds. TD; 10 Tackles
Brian Moore - - 10Car. 34Yds. TD; 7 Tackles (6 Solo)
Jihad Hudson - - 3Rec. 13Yds; 8Car. 11Yds.
Alex Wilson - - 2Rec. 42Yds.
Casey Pretlow - - 11 Tackles (7 Solo
Ricky Walker - - 7 Tackles



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