Cross-county rivals to clash in Boling

East Bernard’s Malik Thomas rushes through Danbury defenders last Friday at Memorial Stadium. The Brahmas will be looking for their second win of the season on Friday when they travel to Boling.

It’s been four years since the Boling Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0) have been district foes with the East Bernard Brahmas (1-6, 1-2). However, the in-county rivals will restart that district rivalry this Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

The Brahmas have owned the rivalry over the last decade, winning all 10 games, with East Bernard winning by an average score of 37-6.

Boling is hoping this season will be a little different, and they are the team to knock off the Brahmas. East Bernard’s hopes of making the playoffs rely on playing well the rest of the season and beating Boling will go a long way to helping stay in the hunt.

“Their stats and scores don’t matter. I know they’re 1-6, but they’re still personally a good team to me,” Boling senior lineman Tracy Taylor said. “I’ve been watching a lot of flim on them and they’re going to come and play. We’ve only beat them twice in 12 years and coach told us in the weight room they don’t wanna be that team that gets beat by Boling.”

East Bernard has a young team and they are allowing 31 points a game this season. The defense found its footing against Danbury, holding them to seven points and to fewer than 165 yards of total offense.

Danbury could only muster 29 rushing yards, averaging just over one yard a carry last Friday night against East Bernard. The Brahma defense forced a turnover with sophomore Ty Domel recovering a fumble.

The Brahma defense will have their hands full with the Bulldogs running game. Boling junior running back Ryan O’Neal leads Wharton County and the district in rushing yards with 1,341 yards and 17 touchdowns.

O’Neal against Rice Consolidated last week had 140 yards rushing on two carries.

“I went crazy, but I couldn’t do it without the offensive line. They opened the holes, I (saw) it and I hit it. I don’t know, I’m just doing what I’m supposed to as a running back,” O’Neal said with a smile.

O’Neal finished the game with the first 300-yard game of his career without playing the fourth quarter.

The Boling junior had to break one tackle on his first two runs with the offensive line plowing the field in front of him. In total, the Bulldog offense has run the ball for 2,509 yards.

“We’re pretty stacked throughout the offensive line,” Taylor said. “We’re a pretty solid group. We have pretty good mass on us. We’re pretty decently strong. Opening holes for (O’Neal is easy), it could be the tiniest hole in the world but he’ll still squeeze through and make 10, 15, 20 yards out of it.”

Like the offense, the Boling defense has been playing well, in district they’ve yet to allow two touchdowns. The Bulldogs in their last four games haven’t given up more than seven points.

Boling’s defense allowed yards last to Rice Consolidated but they held firm when they needed to, stuffing them six times on fourth down.

“It’s a running joke around here. We like to give up a touchdown and then we shut them out,” Boling head football coach Kevin Urbanek said. “(Offense and defense are) great groups of kids. Defensively, they just fly around. They’re smart, they communicate and that’s the biggest thing on defense.”

While East Bernard was winless until last Friday, now the Brahmas have some confidence behind them. Helping East Bernard offensively was zero turnovers last Friday. East Bernard junior quarterback Clayton Fajkus has completed nearly 50 passes for 613 yards. Brahma junior wide receiver Maddox Crist leads the team with 223 yards. East Bernard’s rushing attack is led by sophomore Alex Henriquez with more than 400 yards. In their win against Danbury, fellow sophomore Malik Thomas had a strong game with three touchdowns.

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