Wild homecoming for the Brunswick School football team

For a little over a year, Brunswick School head coach Jarrett Shine has constantly reminded his football team that they are capable of great things if they stay focused and remain poised.

Several times they’ve been close to breaking through, only to come up short in the waning moments. However, that wasn’t the case Saturday afternoon during Homecoming.

In a high-powered, back-and-forth battle, the Bruins answered every challenge Avon Old Farms gave them and the result was a thrilling 42-35 victory at Cosby Field.

“This game was really important because I kept on telling them that we could beat a team like them,” Shine said. “Today we got the job done. Now we can believe, feel good about ourselves and we move on in the season.”

Nobody had a better day than Sam Fraser, Brunswick’s “Iron Man,” who was literally always at the center of attention. On offense, he found the end zone three times, on scoring plays of 17, 52 and 68 yards. That alone would be considered a stellar game; however, Fraser wasn’t nearly done. On defense, the senior scooped up a fumble and returned it 45 yards for the touchdown, as well as netted the game-clinching interception with time running down in the fourth quarter.

Oh, and he also handled all the kicking duties for the Bruins.

“This feels amazing,” Fraser said. “In front of all these people, it really meant a lot. With all these people here, we knew we had to win. It was a little tiring, but I’m really glad I could do it. I love playing all positions. I’m happy to do it. I thought we played really well. This win meant everything to our program. It’s really important that we came out here and won. We had a tough season last season, but I thought we played really well today. This meant a lot.”

With the score knotted at 35-35 and both teams finding the end zone at will, it was Brunswick that took over down the stretch. The team started the drive on its own 6 and fell back to its own 3 on a false start penalty. Sophomore Billy O’Malley, who shared quarterback duties with senior Todd Stafford throughout the game, stepped back and fired a bullet to junior captain Dylan Wadsworth on a slant and darted up the middle of the field to the Avon 49. It appeared that the Brunswick drive was going to stall, as the Bruins couldn’t convert on a fourth-down run; however, a horse collar penalty on the Winged Beavers kept the drive alive.

Two plays later and on the Avon 19, O’Malley rolled out to his right and found junior Henry Taylor in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:08 to play.

Avon wasn’t going to go down without a fight and was driving down the field. However, with one minute left in the game, Fraser sprinted toward the Brunswick sideline, dove and made an incredible interception to ice the game and give the Bruins their first win of the season.

“I told Sam from the beginning of the season that he’s a special player,” Shine said. “Look at today, because I think he only came off the field twice the entire game. In my opinion, he’s the MVP.”

Not to be outdone was Stafford. Before leaving the game with a knee injury in the second half, the quarterback threw for 306 yards and connected on three touchdowns. O’Malley, who threw for a 21- and 19-yard score, also was a key player when Brunswick ran the option and was calm and collected scrambling out of the pocket when at quarterback.

“O’Malley is a gamer,” Shine said. “There were a few plays that shouldn’t have worked, but he somehow made them work. That’s what we needed. Both him and Todd really made a difference.”

During the majority of the first half, the Bruins weren’t clicking. Whether it was nerves from playing in front of a Homecoming crowd or the style of play, Brunswick wasn’t moving the ball early. On the other hand, the Winged Beavers opened up a 14-0 lead before Fraser found Taylor in the end zone for the diving catch with 2:03 to play in the half.

Avon extended the lead to 21-7 with 1:23 to play, but the Bruins came alive. Starting on their 33-yard line, Stafford took the second play from scrimmage and fired a bullet to Wadsworth for the 36-yard reception. On that play, an unsportsmanlike penalty on Avon advanced the ball to the Avon 16, and two plays later, Stafford rolled out and found Fraser in the top corner of the end zone for the touchdown with 1:00 to play.

While Brunswick had the momentum to start the second half, Avon got the ball first, but that was short-lived. With 10:23 left in the third, Brunswick’s defense came up huge and forced a fumble at midfield. Fraser picked up the loose ball and outran everybody for the 45-yard touchdown and a 21-21 tie.

However, that’s when the game got wild. With 7:33 to play in the third, Avon struck again, as Lukas O’Connor fired a 43-yard touchdown reception to senior wideout Blake Feagles to give the Winged Beavers the lead once again.

Once again the lead didn’t last long. On Brunswick’s first play on the ensuing drive, Stafford faked the handoff and sprinted 13 yards down the Avon sideline. With the ball on the Brunswick 48, Stafford took the ball out of the shotgun and found a wide-open Fraser down the field. Fraser caught the ball at the 15-yard line and ran the rest of the way for the touchdown to make the score 28-28 with seven minutes left in the third.

Not to be outdone was the Avon duo of O’Connor and Feagles. On their next possession, O’Connor connected with Feagles for a 70-yard touchdown completion.

Less than a minute later, it was Brunswick’s turn. With the ball on the Brunswick 36, Stafford threw a quick slant pass to Fraser, who then turned on the jets and outran the Avon defense for the 68-yard touchdown reception. Although the PAT failed, Brunswick was trailing Avon only 35-34 with 6:04 left in the third quarter.

“We changed up the quarterback a little bit, I ran a little running back, Todd ran a little receiver, and our defense held up well,” Fraser said. “That’s what put us over the top.”

After the Winged Beavers turned the ball over on downs, Brunswick had a chance to take the lead, but Stafford was picked off on the third play from scrimmage.

Again, Avon was unable to put the game away and turned the ball over on downs. That’s when Brunswick went to work on its final scoring drive and took the lead for good on the 19-yard pass from Fraser to Taylor.

“We made a couple of adjustments,” Shine said. “Our first offense wasn’t working, so we made some adjustments in the second half, both offensively and defensively. The guys just fought and battled. They didn’t give up and that’s why I am so proud of them.”

For Avon, Feagles was a force at wideout. The senior could not be stopped throughout the contest and found the end zone four times, netting a four-yard run and touchdown receptions from 18, 43 and 70 yards.

With the victory, Brunswick evened its record to 1-1 on the season, while the Winged Beavers fell to 0-2. The Bruins will be back in action Saturday afternoon when they travel up to Kent School for a game that gets under way at 4. Brunswick will return home Oct. 13 for a game against Berkshire School at 3.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress