Brunswick football returns home and to its winning ways, beats Taft

Brunswick School’s Jason Kennedy, right, gets the ball from quarterback Billy O’Malley during Saturday’s game against Taft School. — Dan Burns photo

Brunswick School’s Jason Kennedy, right, gets the ball from quarterback Billy O’Malley during Saturday’s game against Taft School. — Dan Burns photo

In its first home game of the regular season, the Brunswick School football team gave the homecoming crowd at Cosby Field something to cheer about Saturday afternoon, as the Bruins dismantled Taft School 53-14 and picked up their first victory of the season.

“The kids played well,” Brunswick football head coach Jarrett Shine said. “Whenever things didn’t go well, they did a fantastic job of just keeping their composure throughout the game. We were able to run the ball a lot more than passing. We had around 300 yards on the ground and over 200 yards passing, so it was a good day.”

Brunswick’s running backs were on full display against Taft School. Junior Jason Kennedy gave the Bruins a 6-0 lead when he ran three yards for the score. Kennedy found the end zone one more time, a one-yard touchdown run, and finished with 85 yards on the day.

Brunswick's JD Donahey breaks through for some positive yards during Saturday's game. — Dan Burns photo

Brunswick’s JD Donahey breaks through for some positive yards during Saturday’s game. — Dan Burns photo

Not to be outdone was senior JD Donahey, who finished with 78 yards and added a 10-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter. Keeping the good times rolling with the running game was sophomore Jaydin Knight, who added 78 yards and also had a 10-yard touchdown run in the final quarter.

In addition to the offensive line that consisted of Patrick Adamo, Peter Godvin, Matt Gendell, and Alex Katchadurian, one of the reasons the Brunswick running game was so effective was because of the receivers blocking.

“We need to block well if we are going to be successful,” Shine said. “We didn’t do a good job of that against Avon. These guys listened to what we had to say at the beginning of the last week and I think they executed almost perfectly. They were very physical on the outside and that allowed the running backs to break some yardage out there. That also took the pressure off the defense because they didn’t have to make those big plays. Our running game was very effective.”

While the wideouts were stellar at blocking, they also helped the Bruins tally points on the scoreboard. Senior quarterback Billy O’Malley was highly effective at finding his targets throughout the day. He finished the game 15-for-17 with 231 yards and two touchdowns. O’Malley also ran two yards for the touchdown to close out the scoring in the first half.

O’Malley’s primary target was senior Malik Wilder, who caught the ball six times for 86 yards, had touchdown passes from 51 and 10 yards, and also ran for a four-yard touchdown.

One of Brunswick’s biggest keys to victory actually took place before the Taft game kicked off. As an annual tradition at Brunswick, some football stars from the school’s past stop by the team’s breakfast.

“I actually think the speakers inspired the boys,” Shine said. “We had guys from the Class of 1989, a couple of guys from the Class of 1954 and some guys from the 2007 team. It was just a good group of guys and we had a good time. We talked about the energy of the crowd and other alumni coming back and finding their old positions. I think the kids fed off that energy. It was a large crowd.”

The opening kickoff had all the makings of a disaster, as Brunswick turned the ball over and gave the momentum to Taft School. However, Brunswick’s defense stepped up its game right from the start and didn’t let the opening turnover affect the outcome.

“Our defense did a fantastic job, especially to start the game,” Shine said. “If Taft had scored, it would have been a different story. I think there would have been a different outcome. That’s how big it was for us to stop Taft on their first drive. Overall it’s the best our defense has looked in a long time. This week we put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and executed our strategy very well.”

With the victory, Brunswick improved to 1-1 on the season.

“We haven’t lost a homecoming game here in a long time and I think our alumns expect us to win the homecoming game,” Shine said. “They knew what was at stake and that we needed to bounce back. We couldn’t go 0-2. We had to go 1-1 and start a fresh season basically. The start of the season was similar to last year. We lost the first game and went on a nice run to the championship game. The kids started to have a little more confidence and knew what they could be. This year I think we are ready to fire on all cylinders and hopefully do the same thing en route to a championship game.”

While the Bruins got their first victory of the year during week two, there is no time to celebrate. On Saturday night, Brunswick remains home, as Hotchkiss School comes to Greenwich for a game under the lights at Cosby starting at 6.

“They run the spread well and try to pass the ball a lot,” Shine said. “They try to run the ball very effectively. I think they do a great job of it. If we can play defense the way that we play, I think we have a very good shot at beating anybody that we face. We’re going to put points on the board offensively. The old saying that offense wins games and defense wins championships is true, and that’s the type of defense we need to have this season.”

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