Brunswick football destroys Berkshire, will play Andover in championship game

Brunswick School senior Brandon Johnston carries the ball down the field during Saturday's game against Berkshire School. — Avery Belicka photo

Brunswick School senior Brandon Johnston carries the ball down the field during Saturday’s game against Berkshire School. — Avery Belicka photo

[UPDATED: Monday, Nov. 11 at 3:51 p.m.] The Brunswick football team completed one of the most dramatic turnarounds in recent memory earlier today at Cosby Field.

After finishing last season with only one victory, the Bruins entered this season and lost its first game of the regular season by one point. However since that game against Kent Hill, Brunswick hasn’t lost since, picking up its seventh consecutive victory of the season by beating Berkshire School 42-0 in the regular season finale.

“It was a really solid game and a great way to finish on our home field,” Brunswick senior Jimmy Knight said. “It’s a really good feeling knowing where we were last year and where we are now. The past couple of years have been rough, but to come out this year and do what we did is amazing. Everyone on the team knew we were good, but it all came together this year.”

Brunswick scored early and often to put the game against he Bears out of reach early. Seniors Dylan Wadsworth and Henry Taylor each found the end zone once, as did juniors Charlie Cobb, Rich Walston and Malik Wilder. Even the Brunswick defense got it on the scoring, as senior Jack Varvel netted a pick six midway through the first quarter.

With the victory over Berkshire School, Brunswick went from one win last year to one loss this season, netting a record of 7-1 on the season. With the victory against Avon Old Farms earlier in the season, Brunswick put themselves in position for something amazing, a chance of advancing to the championship game of the New England Prep School Athletic Conference.

On Sunday, that dream became a reality, as it became official. The Bruins will be playing for the championship Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be playing Andover at Avon Old Farms.

“It’s been a complete turnaround,” Brunswick head coach Jarrett Shine said. “These guys have worked hard through the offseason and knew what they had to do to get to this point and to achieve the goal of getting to the possibility of playing in a championship game. Honestly I was hoping we would go 6-2, so getting seven wins is a big reason to celebrate.”

The teams competing in the championship game will be announced tomorrow afternoon and the game will be played Saturday afternoon at a location to be determined.

“We knew that if we won this game, we would possibly have the opportunity to play a football game next week,” Brunswick senior Dylan Wadsworth said. “We have been working hard all season and we had to play hard today to get this win. It’s been amazing this year, especially after we were struggling the past couple of years. We’ve been working really hard and everybody believes this year. To get seven wins is great. The whole Brunswick community is so proud of this team.”

Although the Brunswick defense gave us some yardage early, the Bears were unable to capitalize. Brunswick’s offense started it opening drive on its own 21, but the ball didn’t stay there long. On the third play from scrimmage, senior Brandon Johnston got the handoff from the Brunswick 29 and darted down field 45 yards for the huge first down. A play later, junior quarterback Billy O’Malley stepped back and found Wadsworth cutting through the middle of the end zone for the 26-yard touchdown reception.

On the Bruins’ next possession, it once again took only four plays to find the end zone and a 14-0 lead. After a holding drove the ball back to the Brunswick 36, O’Malley called his own number and scampered 48 yards. Three plays later, O’Malley fired a missile to Cobb in the back corner of the end zone for the leaping touchdown reception with 4:03 left in the first.

Exactly one minute later, the Bruins added another seven points to the scoreboard, as Varvel stepped in front of a pass from the Berkshire quarterback at the Berkshire 17 and easily jogged the 17 yards for the pick six and 21-0 lead.

With 11:20 to play in the half, Wilder got into the act, as he took the pass from O’Malley in stride down the sideline for a 28-yard touchdown reception. The highlight reel for Brunswick continued with 2:40 to play in the half, as O’Malley, who had plenty of time in the pocket all game, fired a perfect strike to Taylor, who outran his defender, caught the ball without missing a step at the Berkshire 20 and cruised the rest of way for the 43-yard touchdown and 35-0 lead.

Brunswick added its final score of the game with 7:53 to play in the fourth, as backup quarterback, sophomore Mike Marzonie found Walston in the end zone for the 28-yard touchdown.

“Defensively they were moving the ball a little bit on us early and we had to tighten things up, but overall we played really well,” Shine said. “We came together and really started playing as a team like we knew they could play. This team, especially my seniors, have been through a lot, so they deserve a lot of the credit. They’ve been through tough times and now they are getting the benefits of all their hard work.”

If Brunswick does get the opportunity to play for the New England championship, don’t expect the Bruins to rest during the week leading up to the game. Shine already is thinking of ways his team can improve.

“We need to be really firing on all cylinders on offense, defense and special teams,” Shine said. “We need to prepare the right way, as if this is going to be our best game of the season. Hopefully we will see some good results. If we play for a championship or not, I couldn’t be more proud of my team. Having a 7-1 record is very good and we went about it the right way.”

To read more on the game, including more stats and quotes from Shine and other Brunswick players, check out Thursday’s Greenwich Post.

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