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Brooke falls apart in second half in loss

WELLSBURG — Brooke came out on fire, effortlessly moving the ball down the field on its first possession and scoring a game-opening touchdown Friday against University. The Bruins offense scored three times in the first half.

The second half was a different story.

After halftime, it was all University (2-1), as the Hawks outscored Brooke (1-2) by 26 points and pulling away to earn a 39-15 victory on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

“Anatomy of the way to beat yourself,” Brooke coach Mac McLean said. “We are a team that is struggling to take a step forward. We came out here and turned the ball over six times. You are not going to beat many teams turning the ball over six times. That is something we are going to have to correct if we are going to have any success moving forward.”

Again, the numbers game caught up with Brooke. An injury to Max Camilletti in the first half took away their feature back.

Injuries forced players to play out of position.

Possibly the biggest reason was University running back Logan Raber, a 5-foot-10, 207-pound bruiser that rumbled for 220 yards 19 carries.

“One of the things that hurt us on both sides of the ball was Max Camilletti hurt his ankle, and he is our feature in the backfield. Without him carrying the ball, we don’t have a whole lot of explosion in the backfield,” McLean said. “Our size, physics once again, caught up with us. I lost a defensive end who got kicked out of the game last week. Lost a defensive end early in this game, so I had a receiver playing defensive end.

“We are patchwork, and sometimes you have to throw kids in positions they have never even practiced. You put the best out there you got, and that is the best we got.”

Those players had a hard time bringing Raber down. Whether it was the tough yards or the 77- or 82-yard runs, the front line had no answer for the senior.

Raber even made key plays in the passing game. Midway through the third quarter, he helped extend the Hawks lead to two scores, catching a screen pass and tiptoeing along a sideline to convert a fourth-and-10. The next play, quarterback Joseph McBee scored on a keeper from 17 yards to make it 26-15 in favor of the Hawks.

The game kicked off with an impressive Brooke drive. It took the opening possession 49 yards in six plays, culminating with quarterback Joshua Shorts rolling to his right, bringing seemingly the entire University defense with him and then firing across his body into the end zone and finding a wide open Joey Fuscardo. The kick failed.

McBee put the Hawks in front,7-6, in the second quarter with the a 3-yard touchdown run, the first of his four scores.

The teams traded scores in the second quarter, with Brooke getting a 23-yard field goal from Quinlin Blair, followed by a McBee run.

Brooke closed out its scoring when Camden Bates got behind the defense, and Shorts hit him with a 66-yard pass to send the Bruins up 15-13 heading into the locker room.

But, while the Bruins did score three times in the first half, it was the missed opportunities that McLean feels cost his team. The Bruins had two interceptions in University territory, as well as a first-and-goal from the 6 when they had to settle for a field goal.

“I think we cost ourselves the game in the first half,” he said. “We were inside their 15-yard line three times in the first half and came away with zero points. You can’t pass up opportunities like that, I don’t care who you are.”

Brooke forced a three-and-out on University’s first second-half possession, but gave the ball back to the Hawks two plays later with a fumble.

The next play, McBee found a wide open Jacob Spearen for a 51-yard score. University scored touchdowns on all three third-quarter possessions.

Brooke, on the other hand, was forced to get out of its comfort zone and go to the air. The Bruins ran the ball seven times in the second half. Shorts was incomplete on his first nine passes with an interception.

“I felt the key was when were were able to get them out of their two-back sets in the second half,” University coach John Kelley said. “Our defense really made a difference in the second half. We also left a lot of points out there by shooting ourselves in the foot a few times. We were very fortunate to get back some of those fumbles.”

University fumbled eight times but only lost one.

Shorts completed 10 of 28 passes for 155 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Bates had five receptions for 119 yards.

“The defensive adjustments they made played a big part and we had to come out of our identity,” McLean said. “I don’t want my quarterback throwing 30, 40 times. But, when you are down by 17 and you hit the fourth quarter, you have to throw it.”

University 39, Brooke 15

University 0-13-19-7 — 39

Brooke 6-9-0-0 — 15

B — Fuscardo 7 pass from Shorts (kick failed), 9:30

U — McBee 3 run (Edwards kick), 8:25

B — Blair 23 FG, 4:26

U — McBee 1 run (kick blocked), 3:27

B — Bates 66 pass from Shorts (run failed), 3:11

U — Spearen 51 pass from McBee (Edwards kick), 9:47

U –McBee 17 run (kick blocked), 4:07

U — Barner 4 run (run failed), :30

U — McBee 4 run (run failed), :28

Rushing: University 52-293-5td (Raber 19-220, McBee 24-55-4td, Barner 7-19-td, C.McBee 1-2, Spearen 1-(-3)); Brooke 24-110 (Gabbert 11-40, Shorts 3-36, Scipio 2-15, Camilletti 6-15, Hukill 2-4).

Passing: University 6-16-127-td (all by McBee); Brooke 10-29-155-2td-4x (Shorts 10-28-155-2td-3x, Harris 0-1-x).

Receiving: University 6-127-td (Spearen 2-77-td, Raber 2-28, Hammack 2-22); Brooke 10-155-2td (Bates 5-119-td, Fuscardo 4-21-td, Harris 1-15).

First Downs: University 15, Brooke 14

Penalties: University 7-56, Brooke 3-31.

Fumbles-Lost: University 8-1, Brooke 3-1.

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