Brookfield gets another shot against Norwayne
By John Bassetti
It was Nov. 5, 2011, when Brookfield played at Creston Norwayne in the Division IV, Region 13 opener when both teams were 9-1.
Brookfield was a No. 6 seed and Norwayne was No. 3.
Brookfield lost, 42-7.
The headline was “Norwayne’s speed overwhelms Brookfield.”
It continued, saying that Brookfield was no match for the Bobcats, who held the Warriors to 29 rushes for 83 yards with Ryan Mosora scoring Brookfield’s only touchdown.
After the game, seventh-year Brookfield coach Randy Clark said that he thought that his Warriors were going to be able to run the ball a little bit more.
But when Brookfield got down 14 points, it changed his team’s game plan.
“I didn’t realize from watching film that their receivers were that good,” Clark said at the time. “They made some great catches in the first half — when we could have stopped their drives, but they turned them into touchdowns.”
Now an eighth-year coach, Clark looks back.
“We didn’t realize how fast they were [by film], but, this time, we had a couple of scouters in person and now we know a little more about them and we’re preparing for team speed. Plus, last year, we were big-eyed and overwhelmed because it was our first time in the playoffs.”
Clark said that Norwayne will be dangerous, but that quarterback Joe Dreher may not be as multi-dimensional as last year’s QB, Adam Wallace.
“If they’re going to run, they’ll hand it off,” Clark said. “He’ll either give it up or throw. He’s not running himself.”
Clark said that Wallace was both a runner and passer. Wallace is now a redshirt at Ashland.
Another player to watch is RB Jon Zimmerly, a brother of Tyler Zimmerly, a running back who stood out in the 2011 Norwayne-Brookfield game.
“Jon Zimmerly is a very good defensive end, too,” Clark said of the 2011 all-stater, who is poised to be all-state at running back this year.
Norwayne lost five starters on defense and four on offense, but six with experience are back on offense, while seven, even as part-timers in 2011, return on defense.
Brookfield will only see Dreher from the defensive side.
“He’s a pure pocket guy,” Norwayne coach Joe Harbour said of Dreher, who doesn’t play defense.
“Last year we knew Brookfield was young, so we thought that we might see them again this year,” Harbour said. “They were on our radar, but teams change. We were aware of what happened last year, but we see it more as a fun coincidence than a grudge rematch.”
Harbour says the importance of the game is dictated by its depth in the playoff season.
“The only reason this is much bigger is because it’s round three — not the opening round,” Harbour said. “Because teams and packages are different [from year-to-year], it’s not a big deal, but we are aware of Brookfield’s athletic level.”
Norwayne’s last loss was to Smithville during Week 9 in 2011.
Brookfield’s last regular-season loss was in 2011 to Niles.
A bit of parallel may be extracted from the fact that Norwayne beat Hillsdale, 59-13, on Oct. 19, while Hillsdale handed Akron Manchester one of its three losses before Brookfield eliminated Manchester last week, 55-14.
Although RB Ryan Mosora went over 2,000 yards rushing for the season with 145 yards in a 55-14 win over Akron Manchester last Friday, the Warriors aren’t one-dimensional.
Quarterback Jeremy Quinlan proved that by gaining 250 yards on 27 carries against Manchester. He now has 1,100 yards rushing and over 1,000 passing.
“We took advantage of what they were giving us,” Clark said of Quinlan’s success against Manchester. “We knew they’d key on Ryan, so we did some misdirection [with backs Joe Clark and Mosora] and motioning to get the linebackers to move.”
The keys to winning?
“Stop the big passing play and execute on offense,” said Randy Clark. “I think we can control the ball and control the clock. That will be key.”