TOLEDO — After a 34-13 opening weekend loss to rival Van Wert, the Bryan football team needed a spark to come out of the gates strong in Week 2 at Toledo Woodward.
Enter Austin Dean.
After the Polar Bears jumped offside to make it 1st-and-5, the senior took a handoff from quarterback Nate Miller 52 yards for a game-opening touchdown. The extra point gave the Golden Bears a 7-0 lead, an advantage they wouldn’t give up over the course of the game, which eventually ended with a 46-6 Bryan victory.
Bryan coach Grant Redhead said the hot start gave his team a much-needed spark after last week’s flat opener.
“We’re always better when we’re out in front, when we’re not playing catch-up,” Redhead said. “It’s not always going to happen. I like it when it does, but it’s not always going to be that way. We learned a bit from it.”
Bryan went on to force two stagnant Woodward drives — one turnover on downs and a punt — before getting the ball back. The Golden Bears’ third drive of the game was sparked by a 56-yard scramble by Miller to set them up in the red zone. After not making much progress over the next three plays, Bryan went for it on 4th-and-5, and Miller found senior Connor Arthur, who made a diving catch in the end zone to give the Golden Bears a 13-0 advantage.
Senior Dom James scored on a 2-yard dive, and Dean caught a slant over the middle to give Bryan a 27-0 lead. But with 1:14 left in the half, Woodward running back Preston Reasonover busted a 93-yard touchdown, leaving Redhead with his one major complaint about his team’s performance.
“We didn’t tackle real well,” Redhead said. “We’ve got to work on tackling this week, but overall it was much improved from last week.”
After halftime, Miller turned up the heat with his passing, finding Titus Rohrer (27 yards) and Arthur (16 yards) for touchdowns. James put an exclamation point on the night with a 1-yard punch on 3rd-and-goal for his second score of the night.
Redhead said he was impressed with the way his team came out and took the early lead after an hour-long bus ride.
“It’s always difficult to go on the road,” Redhead said. “It’s tough to go on a long bus ride and see how we’re going to react, but we played a really solid first half.”
Redhead admitted he felt better after his team earned its first win of the season, but he’s already mentally preparing for next week’s matchup with Fairview.
“I like to win, but I hate to lose,” he said. “I’m trying to get my boys to hate to lose. Winning is what you’re supposed to do. You just need to hate to lose.”
Bryan moves to 1-1 on the season, while Toledo Woodward drops to 0-2 after its Week 1 loss to Perrysburg.