Playing from behind for the second straight week, St. Bede ran into a Kewanee team with all the answers Friday, losing 51-27 in Three Rivers Conference East Division opener at Kewanee Stadium.
“That’s a good football team,” said St. Bede head coach Jim Eustice, whose team fought back from an early deficit to defeat Erie-Prophetstown, 15-13, on a last-second field goal last week. “They’re physical, they’re talented, but we hung with them and I’m proud of our kids’ effort.”
The Bruins (2-1, 0-1 TRC East) surrendered the first 14 points of the game as Kewanee quarterback Will Bruno threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Niko Powe and a 6-yard scoring pass to Jordan Johnson in the first period.
A 5-yard scoring run by Tyreke Fortney got St. Bede on the board early in the second quarter, though the Boilermakers quickly responded with Bruno’s 28-yard TD strike to Powe.
St. Bede quarterback John Brady called his own number for a 23-yard touchdown run to narrow the gap to 21-14, but the Boilers’ Jaiden Little blocked a Bruin punt in the end zone for a safety before the hosts closed the half with a 2-yard scoring plunge by Bruno to take a 30-14 lead into the break.
Kewanee took the first drive of the second half all the way to the Bruins’ 1-yard line, but the St. Bede defense stood tall and forced a turnover on downs.
Brady scrambled for a 17-yard gain and Fortney picked up 19 on a double reverse before the pair connected again, as Fortney won a jump ball in the end zone to complete a 25-yard touchdown pass with 1:46 left in the third period. The Bruins’ two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, though, leaving the guests with a 30-20 deficit.
“John’s a competitor,” Eustice said of his quarterback. “He gets better every week, and he’s a leader. He took a lot of matters into his own hands tonight.”
The Boilermakers’ Keyontiss Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to the end zone to negate St. Bede’s momentum, and Brady Clark extended Kewanee’s lead to 44-20 just 13 seconds later, taking an interception 37 yards to paydirt.
Patterson added a 17-yard touchdown run before Brady collected the game’s final score on an 11-yard run with 7:28 to play.
Bruno completed his first seven passes of the game and finished the night 9-of-13 for 179 yards. Johnson caught five passes for 113 yards and Patterson gained 63 yards on nine rushing attempts. Josh Nimrick made a team-high eight tackles, including a quarterback sack.
Brady ran for 104 yards on 20 carries and completed 5-of-13 passes for 93 yards despite throwing three interceptions. Fortney caught four passes for 74 yards and Ryan Brady forced a fumble.
The Bruins open a stretch of three home games in four weeks on Friday when they host Newman Central Catholic (1-1).