MIDDLEBURG - Middleburg High Broncos’ first year Head Coach Ryan Wolfe came in the door, tossed all the tables upside down to reorganize, setting expectations, and teaching his team how to win in a …
MIDDLEBURG - Middleburg High Broncos’ first year Head Coach Ryan Wolfe came in the door, tossed all the tables upside down to reorganize, setting expectations, and teaching his team how to win in a big way.
“Once you get a few wins, and the players see the system does work, they buy in because they were ready to win,” said Wolfe, a former offensive coordinator at Fleming Island High School with a history of deep region playoffs “I just have to give them something to be proud of.”
Like the wild animals of their namesake, the Middleburg Broncos stampeded out of the chute gate in an absolute frenzy, unleashing a shock and awe attack on the visiting Stanton Blue Devils, winless last year just like Middleburg.
The onslaught on both sides of the ball, a 58-0 final, was so overwhelming that Stanton had negative 54 total yards on the night.
“We had a really good game in all three phases,” said Wolfe.
The Burg racked up 42 unanswered points at the half, on their way to a blistering 58-0 regular season home opener on the Red-out at Alan Powers Field, blasting open what could shape up to be an extraordinary season for the team.
The Broncos took the opening kickoff and hauled the mail out to their own 46 yard line to open the first offensive drive. Junior running back Mike Mitchell, a transfer standout from Oakleaf High, made a statement from the first play as he went 34 yards to open the drive. On the second play, Mitchell would appear to score, but the ball was brought back due to a holding call, the first of several that would be the only stumbling block the Broncos needed to deal with.
“That’s two games in a row we had some holding penalties,” said Wolfe. “We go back and watch the film and we’re not seeing the holding. I see guys pancaking guys, but somehow we are getting holding calls. It’s just something we have to fix.”
After a Stanton miscue for substitution, from the 20, Mitchell stampeded a Blue Devil (Stanton mascot, not the other guys in town) to get seven yards, then follow it up with a 13 yard run to put his team out front 7-0.
Sophomore Kicker Wade Mathis did a laudable job splitting the uprights all night, helping to add to the Bronco dominance. Mitchell would go on to rack up three more scores for the Broncos as the offense logged 367 total yards. The onslaught would continue all evening as the Broncos never needed to punt in the front half of the game. The Bronco offensive scoring was rounded out by freshman running back Jaden Boyd, senior quarterback Luke Padgett, and senior fullback Austin Dillon each notching a score.
Not to be upstaged, the Middleburg Defense, led by senior Donovan Wimberly and sophomore Tucker Cody, looked like a pack of killer bees as they swarmed, ganged up, and built a brick wall that the Blue Devils had no answers to break through.
“That’s two straight games in a row we held a team to negative yardage,” said Wolfe. “Back in the day, I remember when anyone would come play Middleburg and after, they would be black and blue. They knew they played Middleburg and I think we are getting back to that. I have 15 guys I can rotate in and they are all swarming to the ball.”
Complicating things for Stanton was a brief, but moderate shower while they were on a first quarter offensive drive. The water took away all traction until the field did its job and soaked up the precipitation. The Broncos took full advantage of the situation and pinned the Blue Devils deep. The following punt went for minimal yardage which the Broncos quickly converted for points. The stingy Bronco defense not only held Stanton to double digit negative yards, but notched two turnovers, a safety, and a touchdown to add nine points to the Burg total on their way to a dominating 58-0 victory.
“These guys haven’t been used to winning, so we have to enjoy wins,” said Wolfe. “I’m excited that they are excited. Our players are excited, our fans are talking, the community is talking, the school’s talking, and it’s such a good thing. The community, the school, the parents, the players are all hungry to win. In three games together, we have beat the three teams 100-0.”
Next up for the Bronco rebuild? Wolfe wants to start reducing the penalties he is seeing in games. “We are going to have to clean up allot those penalties,” said Wolfe. “We’re not going to beat the good football teams if we are getting penalized six, seven, eight times a game.”
The Broncos will be right back at Alan Powers Field Friday night as they host the Gainesville Eastside Rams who are looking to redeem themselves as they come off a 36-16 loss to P.K. Younge.