Brooke smacks South

WELLSBURG – Brooke High Head Coach Sean Blumette has three runners that he is very comfortable with in the Bruins’ offensive attack and is looking to feed the hot hand any chance he gets.

Friday night that turned out to be senior Nick Ossman, who easily had his best night in a Brooke uniform.

Ossman rushed for 131 yards on 13 totes and scored a pair of touchdowns while also throwing a big 40-yard touchdown pass on a gadget play that gave the Bruins a two score lead at the half and helped Brooke wrap up the home portion of its schedule with an impressive 41-28 victory over Parkersburg South at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

The win moves Blumette’s unit to 3-4 on the season with games remaining on the road with Weir, John Marshall and Cabell Midland. First-year head coach Mike Eddy watched his Patriots slide to 2-5 on the campaign.

“It has been pointed out by many people, including the media, that we have a pretty brutal schedule,” Blumette smiled. “There are no easy ones, and Parkersburg South is a good football team. They have a new coach who is doing a good job, and they are struggling with some of the things that we did in our first year. They are getting a restart, and that takes time.

“They really battled us the first half, but we did a very good job reestablishing the run in the second half and pulling away.”

The Bruins struck first after holding South on downs at the home 40. Brooke moved into Patriots’ territory, but seemed to be bogged down after a holding penalty and short loss had them looking at a second-and-18.

However, junior quarterback Aaron Walker quickly zipped a pass deep over the middle that 6-5 sophomore Thomas Cole reached up and pulled out of the air before covering the 38 yards with 5:40 showing on the first period clock. Justin Loughrie’s point-after made it a 7-0 margin.

Parkersburg South got it back early in the second frame, thanks to a 74-yard Brendon Schwendeman run on the final play of the first period that put the ball on the Brooke four. On the very next play Cody Smith busted in for the score just six seconds into the second. Franklin Miller’s PAT knotted the score.

Brooke got it back at the 8:26 mark on Nick Ossman’s 14-yard burst up the middle, however, the kick after sailed off to the right to keep the score at 13-6. The drive consisted of seven plays for 58 yards and followed a nice Heath Hildreth kickoff return.

It appeared as through the Bruins might add a score right before the half, driving all the way to the Patriots’ four-yard line with under a minute showing on the clock. But Walker’s pitch to Loughrie got away from the running back and wasn’t recovered until 27 yards later at the 31.

On third and long, on the very next play, Walker was picked off at the goal line by Cody Boggs.

Things, however, got interesting once again as Walker returned the favor, picking off Garrett Gilkeson on the next play and returning the ball deep into South territory, with a 15-yard penalty setting the ball up at the 40. Just one play later Walker pitched back to Ossman who threw a 35-yard bullet to Cole, with the lanky receiver again using his height, pulling it in near the fall and hitting the end zone with just 16 ticks remaining for a big swing and a 20-7 halftime score.

“That was actually a broken play and Nick wasn’t supposed to be the back throwing the football,” Blumette said. “But hey, whatever works in a situation like that. Sometimes the breaks of the game go your way, they did a good job getting a stop on us deep in their territory and we made a couple of big mistakes.

“But the defense got us the ball back and the offense made it happen when we needed it the most.”

After stopping the Bruins on a three-and-out to begin the second half, South seemed to be ready to do the same facing a third-and-11 from its own 45. But Schwendeman again busted loose, this time for 49 yards to the Brooke six with Smith again finishing things off a play later with 8:05 showing. Micah Boles this time added the conversion to make it 20-14.

Again the hosts got it right back with Walker, Ossman, Loughrie and Nigel Bowland pushing the ball downfield on the ground. Bowland handed the final three carries, finishing things off from a yard out with 3:53 to go. Brooke turned it into a 28-14 advantage when Hildreth hit Joey Staffilino with the two-point conversion.

Brooke went back to the pass on the first play of the fourth stanza with Hildreth sneaking behind the defense and actually standing at the 25 waiting for the pass to get to him before completing the 61-yard scoring toss. The kick failed and it stood at 34-14.

Smith’s one-yard burst at 2:01 was followed by a successful onside kick that led to South’s final score of the contest, a 28-yard scoring strike from Garrett Gilkeson to Smith deep down the middle of the field.

While Ossman finished with 131 yards, Walker threw for 147 and two more scores.

“We are fortunate this year to have three runners that we are very confident to have the football,” Blumette added. “So our philosophy all season has been to ride the hot hand and Nick (Ossman) really came out running hard (Friday). He got his helmet ripped off on a facemask penalty and that really seemed to fire his out.

“Give credit to our line as well, I believe we won the battle up front on both sides of the football.”