FREDERICKTOWN — Brownsville took a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter and held on for a 27-26 win, as Beth-Center's rally came up short on Friday in Interstate Conference play at Beth-Center Stadium.
The Bulldogs (0-1, 0-3) cut the deficit to one when Kamden Studnicki pulled in a 58-yard touchdown reception from Andrew Bower with 2:12 remaining, but the Falcons (1-0, 2-1) forced an incompletion on the two-point conversion attempt.
"Every time we had an opportunity, we turned around and made a big mistake," Beth-Center coach Joe Kuhns said. "We had a turnover in the first half and threw an interception on the next play. We put the wrong guy in motion on the last play and he didn't time it right and got hit with the snap, but that is what is going to happen when you have a young team. Brownsville is a much improved team."
Beth-Center recovered its second straight onside kick after the score, but the Bulldogs fumbled on the next play and Brownsville's Vandell Page recovered.
"Our kicker, he's a freshman, and he does a great job with kicking the ball and making it hard to field," Kuhns said. "When we got that second one, I figured we were in business."
The Falcons were able to run out the clock, and their players celebrated with family and friends.
"I am proud of how they kept fighting and stuck together as a family," Brownsville coach Scott Fichter said. "Hats off to Coach Kuhns, his staff and their players. Our guys didn't quite fighting, though, and I'm proud of them for that. We made mistakes and we got to fix them, but we stuck together and that's what I took away.
"It was nerve wracking, but if feels great. We've been embraced by the community, our motto of, "be the change," and we are taking another step with that, and that's what it's about. I can't be more proud of these guys than I am right now, and our staff, for everything they do for these kids."
Brownsville jumped out to an early lead when Tony Johnson scored on a 57-yard run at 9:15 of the first quarter on a third-and-one. Thomas Ruffcorn made the first of three PATs for a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs' Devin Dingle returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Falcons' 35, but Brownsville held on downs before Johnson scored on a 50-yard run with 6:51 left in the first quarter. Johnson gained 152 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Beth-Center took over at the Falcons' 24 when it forced the visitors to punt and Brownsville couldn't get the kick away.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the short field and scored with 11:55 left in the second quarter on Dingle's four-yard run to cut the deficit to 14-6 after the two-point conversion attempt failed.
Brownsville had its next possession end when Beth-Center's Justin Welsh recovered a fumble.
The Bulldogs' next drive was stopped by Rocco Frisco's interception and the Falcons moved the ball to the Beth-Center 10, but the drive ended on a fumble that was recovered by the Bulldogs' Nick Martin.
Beth-Center moved to Brownsville's 39, but without any timeouts, the clock ran out in the first half.
The Falcons extended their advantage to 21-6 at 6:09 of the third quarter when Hunter Assad escaped pressure from the Bulldogs and fired a 25-yard touchdown pass to Javaughn Dove on fourth-and-10.
Assad was 3 of 10 for 62 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
"Hunter never quits and he keeps going," Fichter said.
Brownsville took a 27-6 lead when Daniel Grant scored on an eight-yard run at 1:15 of the third quarter. Grant gained 70 yards on 13 carries and scored one touchdown.
"All three of our backs, Tony (Johnson), Danny (Grant) and Vandell (Page), those kids run hard," Fichter said. "It is nice to bring them in fresh, which helps out the offense a lot."
Beth-Center started its run on the next drive when Dingle scored on a 21-yard touchdown run at 11:10 of the fourth quarter. B-C cut the deficit to 27-14 after Dingle caught the two-point conversion pass from Bower.
The Bulldogs forced the Falcons to punt on the next drive and took over at the Brownsville 21 when Anthony Setaro blocked the punt.
The Falcons' defense stepped up and forced a turnovers on downs, but Beth-Center came back with a turnover of its own when Setaro recovered a fumble at the Brownsville 25.
The Bulldogs cut the Falcons' advantage to 27-20 when Dingle caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Bower at 3:27 of the fourth, but the two-point conversion was incomplete.
Dingle did a little bit of everything for Beth-Center, as the senior gained 80 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 18 yards and scored one touchdown.
"Since Devin and I have been together, he's had a knack for making big plays," Kuhns said. "He is a special kind of player and somebody is going to be pretty lucky to have him on their college team next year. They knew he was the guy they had to stop. We know if we keep feeding it to him, he's going to make some big plays, and that's what he did tonight."
"Dingle, we knew all week, how great he was from last year going into this year," Fichter said. "The kid makes plays, and hats off to him. He played an excellent game."
Bower, who was making his first start at quarterback, was 13 of 18 for 130 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
"Last week, Colby (Kuhns) went down and we had a freshman in there, and I just worry about it because he is kind of small for varsity, so Bower volunteered to play quarterback," Kuhns said. "Bower was a receiver for us and did a nice job there. We had to streamline the offense a little bit and make it a little bit smaller, but I think for being a quarterback for one week, he did a commendable job."
Beth-Center went with its first try at an onside kick after the score and recovered to set up Studnicki's score.
Studnicki pulled in five receptions for 88 yards and scored one touchdown.
Brownsville hosts Washington (1-0, 2-0) next Friday in conference action.
The Bulldogs look to get their first victory of the season when they host Southmoreland (2-0, 3-0) in conference play. Both games are scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
Brownsville 14 0 13 0 — 27
Beth-Center 0 6 0 20 — 26
BV: Tony Johnson 57 run (Thomas Ruffcorn kick), 9:15
BV: Tony Johnson 50 run (Thomas Ruffcorn kick), 6:51
BC: Devin Dingle 4 run (pass failed), 11:55
BV: Javaughn Dove 25 pass from Hunter Assad (Thomas Ruffcorn kick), 6:09
BV: Daniel Grant 8 run (kick failed), 1:15
BC: Devin Dingle 21 run (Devin Dingle pass from Andrew Bower), 11:10
BC: Devin Dingle 11 pass from Andrew Bower (pass failed), 3:27
BC: Kamden Studnicki 58 pass from Andrew Bower (pass failed), 2:12
Records: Brownsville (1-0, 2-1), Beth-Center (0-2, 0-3)