|5/5||Div. III||All-American Conference National Division|
By DOUG CHAPIN
Sometimes a strong performance, even in a loss, can provide a spark to a team.
Such was the case for Brookfield High which on Friday night won its second straight football game — 13-3 over Niles — since a Week 4 loss to then-unbeaten Campbell. That loss dropped the Warriors to 1-3 on the season and they vowed it would be their final defeat of 2010.
“Our kids realized after [Campbell] we could play with anybody,” Brookfield coach Randy Clark said. “We played well against Campbell. We had a couple of bad calls right before halftime, but I think that was our biggest turnaround.
“After the Campbell game our kids said, ‘You know what, we can play with anybody.’ And Campbell’s pretty good, but we held them under 200 yards.”
The Warriors went so far as to demonstrate their resolve.
“We made a deal — and we bought T-shirts today — after the Campbell game that we were winning the last six games. We’re going 7-3, that’s what these kids are thinking. They’re thinking they can do it. We will play some teams that have won a lot of games. But our kids believe we’re going to go 7-3 and so does our staff.”
In a 30-9 rout of Newton Falls last week and again Friday night, the Brookfield defense has been outstanding. The Warriors (3-3) limited Niles running back Reggie Wells to 77 tough yards on 22 carries and came up with three big interceptions.
“Our defense is playing really well. The last two weeks they’ve played exceptionally well,” said Clark. “We tackled well, we knew we were going to have a problem with the Wells kid, but I think we rose to the occasion and did a nice job on him.”
On offense, Brookfield did just enough, scoring its touchdowns in the final two minutes of each half.
The sophomore pass-catch combination of Jeremy Quinlan and Colin Harkulich hooked up on a 10-yard scoring pass with 47 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Warriors finished off the game with a 50-yard, eight-play drive which culminated with a 4-yard scoring run by senior Denny Sulick with 1:52 remaining in the game.
Twice in the first half, Niles (3-3) penetrated the Brookfield 20, but interceptions by Quinlan and Ryan Mosora ended those threats. Derek Sulick came up with an intercpetion on Niles’ final possession of the game.
“We got beat, physically, emotionally, and we turned the ball over,” Niles coach Brad Yeager said.