The win gives the Phoenix (1-3) new life, and a sense of relief for first-year coach Mike Akers.
“We were upbeat last week. The kids didn’t act like they were 0-3, and it showed tonight. We just kept after it, kept after it. Devan Yarber did a great job. He called a lot of the offense and that’s what he is taught to do. I couldn’t ask for any more,” Akers said.
The win was especially soothing for Akers, who spent eight years at the helm of the Cardinals.
“It’s great, I’ve got a good group of kids. We’re having a great time, and it’s just good to get a win so they can enjoy it. We’re playing a lot of young kids, and they needed this tonight,” Akers said.
While it may have been Akers’ homecoming, Yarber, a senior, was simply sensational as he sliced-and-diced the Cardinal defense in all aspects of the game, tallying 245 passing yards and 231 rushing yards with four passing and three rushing touchdowns.
“I was just trying to get my coach his first win. First win against Brookside, first win in the conference and first win of the season,” Yarber said. “We have been putting in work all week long. We knew we had to come in and beat these guys.”
For a couple of teams that have come up on the losing end more often than not, Brookside and Oberlin put on quite the offensive show.
The Cardinals (1-3) wasted no time, as quarterback Johnathan Hice found David Chambers for a 62-yard touchdown pass less than one minute into the game to put the Cardinals quickly ahead, 7-0.
Hice went 9-for-24 for 196 yards and three touchdowns while also adding a touchdown on the ground. His favorite target, Chambers, caught six passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Brookside coach Paul Ferguson was happy to see Hice excel but is looking for more from his offense than just their quarterback.
“If anything, we need to find a couple other playmakers to start running the ball and to give him a little bit of a blow. Johnathan is a great player. He is one of our best players for sure,” Ferguson said.
Oberlin quickly answered with a 15-yard Yarber touchdown run.
The back-and-forth action would ensue, as Brookside answered with an Owen Rozanc 33-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
Yarber added a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, including a 63-yard touchdown pass to Justin Smith.
Smith had a memorable night with four catches for 123 yards and three receiving touchdowns and a pick-six in the third quarter.
Hice connected with Chambers for a 20-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
With the score 22-17 at halftime, Oberlin began to pull away with their high-powered offense as the Cardinals continued to struggle to tackle Yarber and the speedy Phoenix receivers.
Ferguson was blunt when talking about the Cardinals tackling.
“We got to practice our tackling. You saw it tonight, our open field tacking was just brutal,” Ferguson said. “The offense was solid, but you are not going to win any game when you give up 54 points,” Ferguson said.
The Phoenix kept their foot on the gas in the second half as Justin Smith nabbed a 14-yard touchdown pass, while Ravon Eison tallied a 34-yard rushing touchdown.
Akers was impressed with Yarber’s ability to control the game.
“In the second half he called most of that game. We will throw out suggestions when I see them and stuff like that, but he called a lot of that game tonight,” Akers said.