There was high drama at Cosby Memorial Field Friday night, as Brunswick School and Kent School dueled in a NEPSAC Erickson League showdown full of twists and turns. Though they led most of the game, the Bruins suffered a heartbreaking 40-39 loss to the Lions. If Friday’s season-opener was any indication, the Bruins are an improved team from last year when they finished 2-5 overall and 2-4 in league play. Here’s a look at some key factors of the game.
O’MALLEY STRONG UNDER CENTER: Bruins senior quarterback Billy O’Malley looked strong running the read option, completing 23-of-40 passes for 215 yards and a career-high six touchdowns, four of which went to senior wide receiver Henry Taylor. Taylor, who was O’Malley’s go-to target in the red zone had six receptions for 73 yards. It was nice to see former Brunswick star quarterback Kevin Decker. Many of you Bruins fans probably remember Decker’s sensational play on the field for the Bruins from 2004-07. Brunswick’s all-time leading passer, Decker led the team to the New England championship in 2007. After playing quarterback at New Hampshire, Decker, an assistant coach, is coordinating the Bruins’ offense.
TOUGH DECISION: Kudos to Bruins coach Jarrett Shine for making the gutsy choice to go for the two-point conversion after his squad scored a touchdown in the final minute to close to within 40-39. Kicking the extra point would have tied the score, but Shine said the kicking game currently isn’t where it needs to be and he elected to go for two. Kent narrowly held the Bruins out of the end zone on a passing play and held on for the win. The Bruins were 1-for-4 on two point conversions for the game, an area they must improve on.
ONE-MAN GANG: Running back Simon Chang carried the ball on Kent’s first five running plays, gaining 45 yards. But Chang injured his leg in the second quarter, was carried off on a stretcher and transported to the hospital (we hope he’s okay). Running back Matthew LaPorta received the call and boy did he answer. LaPorta was the Lions’ offense, gaining 270 yards and six touchdowns on 20 carries. The elusive LaPorta had success running behind the team’s big offensive line, picking up key first downs throughout the night.
KEY PLAYS: Kent’s Justin Porter intercepted O’Malley late in the third quarter, returning it all the way to the Brunswick 3-yard line. LaPorta ran it into the end zone two players later, making it a 26-26 game with 1:32 left in the third quarter… After Brunswick took a 33-26 lead, Zach Foster returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the Brunswick 33. LaPorta (who else?) scored the next play on a 33-yard run, evening the score at 33-33 with 8:46 left in the third quarter… Brunswick seemed to answer right back with the go-ahead score on its next drive, but O’Malley’s 65-yard touchdown pass was called back due to a holding penalty… The Bruins’ offense was cool under pressure. With 1:12 left, O’Malley found Taylor in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown, cutting Kent’s edge to 40-39.
STATISTICS: Sophomore Jason Kennedy helped spark the Bruins running game, gaining 77 tough yards on 17 carries. O’Malley was impressive running the ball as well, totaling 93 yards on 17 attempts. Junior wide receiver Charlie Cobb caught 5 passes for 43 yards and senior tight end Dylan Wadsworth had 5 receptions for 25 yards. Kent quarterback Alvaro Raux threw just five passes, completing three for 26 yards. Bruins sophomore defensive back Reilly Walsh recovered a fumble at the Kent 18-yard line, setting up the Bruins’ third touchdown, and registered a sack.
Here’s the complete game story on Brunswick’s loss to Kent: http://bit.ly/1dxgCVM