Wristen: BSHS football impressive in Aslin’s debut
It’s fair to say nobody knew exactly what to expect Friday night at David Jaynes Stadium.
Sure, most of us expected to see the Bonner Springs Braves come out fired up for their first game of the season and first performance under new football coach Lucas Aslin. At the same time, we knew visiting Topeka Seaman defeated BSHS 51-0 and 42-7 during the past two seasons, so there was good reason to believe the Braves faced an uphill battle.
Now step inside the locker room where the Braves were well aware of recent history, but also fully knowing this time could be different. Aslin and his staff had demanded so much out of the Braves during the past six months, but with no tangible results to back it up they had to trust the plan.
Friday was their first opportunity to find out if the early mornings in the weight room and the steamy summer days spent doing conditioning drills had been worth it.
“My exact speech before the game … I was so emotional and pumped up,” senior quarterback Jourdaine Smallwood said. “I told them, ‘This is what you worked for.’ And everybody was willing to do it. It was a mutual thing. He (Aslin) was willing to give us the work, and we were willing to work.”
The fruits of their labor revealed themselves in a 21-17 victory against Seaman that left the Braves exuberant and emotional.
“It feels great,” linebacker Matt Call said after the game. “That’s what happens when you put in a lot of hard work. It pays off in the end.”
So much was different about the Braves throughout the game.
For one, they picked themselves up promptly after allowing Seaman to score an early touchdown. They responded instantly, striking with a 49-yard touchdown bomb from Smallwood to wide receiver Stevie Williams.
The Braves also hit harder. They won the battle at the line of scrimmage. Defensively, they forced a fumble that J.J. Jackson returned 25 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. They allowed Seaman to pick up only one first down in the second half.
Even the offensive line was sturdy. Smallwood, who stands about 5-foot-8, rarely had time to throw the ball a year ago. Friday night was a night-and-day difference as he routinely had time to find receivers behind the blocking of sophomore Les Wessel, senior Blake Pyles, junior Patrick Ballard, junior Shawn Bryant and sophomore Kyle Dumler.
There was plenty to like about the new-and-improved Bonner Springs Braves in their first outing of the year. A lot of it may have been unexpected going in, but moving forward there are two certainties: These Braves expect more out of themselves, and they are a team to take seriously in the KVL.