PERU — The arm of St. Bede quarterback Jack Brady was one of the top storylines from the Three Rivers conference after week one. On Friday, Brady went back to the air to lead his team to a comeback win.
After a five touchdown performance at Amboy last week, Brady threw for 296 yards on 18 of 33 passing on Friday night. His biggest throw of the night was the game winner, a 24-yard touchdown strike to Sam Halm with 2:56 remaining in the game, giving the Bruins a 29-25 victory over the Bureau Valley Storm.
“We stuck with it the whole game and never gave up,” said Brady, who threw for 101 yards in the fourth quarter alone. “The offensive line picked it up a lot towards the end of the game. We grinded this one out for the win.”
St. Bede (2-0) trailed the entire game up until the Brady to Halm touchdown. Bruins’ coach John Belino said some halftime adjustments to the blocking scheme was made to try to give Brady more time in the pocket. Bellino also sent his son, Michael, out on passing routes to take a BV linebacker away from the rush.
“(Bureau Valley) was similar to Amboy in that they were bringing a lot of people on the rush,” said Bellino. “Sometimes it was six or seven guys so we went more to the short game.”
Through three quarters, the Storm (1-1) controlled most of the tempo of the game. BV caught a break when they recovered a Justin Shaw fumble on a punt return with 4:23 remaining in the third quarter. One play later, Parker Neuhalfen dashed 35 yards for a touchdown to put the Storm ahead 25-14.
However, the Storm offense would only convert two more first downs the rest of the game and St. Bede would score on their first two possessions of the fourth quarter to turn the game in their favor.
“They made plays and we didn’t,” said Storm coach Jeff Ohlson. “We didn’t convert a 3rd-and-1 and we let (Halm) loose. We’ll have to go back to the film and see what happened.”
Ohlson was pleased with his team’s defense throughout most of the game, which didn’t allow a touchdown to the St. Bede offense until Halm’s first touchdown catch of the game midway through the third quarter.
St. Bede did gain an early lead when Baylee Hopps scooped up a Neuhalfen fumble and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown just over three minutes into the game.
Neuhalfen was shaken up on the play and was relieved at quarterback by running back Josh Mead, who came in and moved the offense down the field by carrying the ball seven times for 51 yards out of the option. Neuhalfen returned on the last two plays of the drive and Tucker Schoff finished the 80 yard drive with a one yard score.
BV later went up 13-7 with a 16 yard touchdown catch from Neuhalfen to Mead with 29 seconds remaining in the half.
Bellino said the key to coming back was containing Neuhalfen in the second half.
“You talk about Johnny football, he does everything out there,” said Bellino. “He throws the ball well and runs the ball well.”
Neuhalfen finished with 107 yards rushing and 83 yards passing. Mead added 68 yards on 13 carries.
Halm was Brady’s favorite target catching six balls for 77 yards, all in the second half. Shaw had 5 catches for 71 yards.
• The Storm sophomores won the opening contest 42-18 behind five touchdown runs from Will Konneck...At halftime of the varsity game, St. Bede Academy recognized Bureau Valley senior Cora Peters, who has been battling cancer her entire high school career. St. Bede students found numerous ways to raise money through a 50/50 raffle, selling T-shirts and various donations. At halftime of the varsity game, the Peters family was presented with a check for $7,240.