That in mind, last week's loss to Kecoughtan left Bethel with a desperate feeling entering Thursday night's game against Warwick. Think of it as a playoff game, Bruins coach (or, technically, director of football operations) Jeff Nelson told his players. A loss could sink you.
Bethel took that mentality and rolled to a 40-20 win over Warwick at Darling Stadium. In a sloppy game — there were a combined 27 penalties for 265 yards — the Bruins (6-2, 5-2 Peninsula District) won behind Frank Brown's four touchdown passes and two scoring runs.
"Coach preached all week it was a must-win game, just like a playoff game," wideout Rashawn Proctor said. "And we came out here and achieved our goal."
Bethel went into the game tied for seventh in the D-6 ratings, 1.85 points ahead of Kecoughtan for the final spot. Warwick (4-4, 3-4) is seventh in D-5.
The Raiders took a 7-0 lead on Cardon Johnson's touchdown run with 5:52 left in the first quarter. But Bethel reached the end one on three straight possessions and ended up scoring 27 unanswered points.
Brown followed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Proctor with a sweet 16-yard scoring throw to Willie Davis on a corner route. On the Bruins' next possession, Brown ran 31 yards on the keeper to make it 21-7 3 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
Brown hooked up with Davis for a 19-yard score on Bethel's first drive of the third quarter.
Brown, who was intercepted four times last week, ended up completing 12-of-23 passes for 158 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks. Davis had six catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns; Proctor had five for 68 with two scores.
But it was Bethel's running game, which has struggled for much of the year, that opened things up. The Bruins rushed for 143 yards, 97 coming in the first half, on 33 attempts. Brown ran for 49 yards on 10 carries; backup Jihad Hudson had five for 47.
"We worked on some things," Nelson said. "We're trying to get more of a balance going, and that showed tonight. When you get that balance, you can pass."
Warwick had 66 total yards on its opening drive, 45 coming on runs by tailback Cardon Johnson. But the Raiders had only 31 yards the rest of the first half as the penalties kept mounting.
Warwick had six flags for 84 yards in the first half alone. The final total was 15 for 159. That included five flags that were either personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
BETHEL 40, WARWICK 20
War—Johnson 1 run (Griggs kick), 5:52.
Bet—Proctor 9 pass from Brown (Shover kick), 3:50.