STRONGSVILLE — The Brunswick football team had its back against the wall and its season on the line heading into the fourth quarter against Strongs-ville.
But as has been the case many times over the years, the Blue Devils simply refused to lose to their archrival.
Brandon Broa caught a touchdown pass from Dan Yohman and Nick Roberts rushed for another in the final period, allowing Brunswick to rally for a 27-16 victory over the Mustangs on Friday night.
The Blue Devils (5-3, 1-2) trailed 16-14 after three quarters, but held Strongsville (2-6, 0-3) to a lone first down on its final three drives to emerge with the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division win.
“We’ve had a couple of tough weeks and are really banged up right now, but I’m very proud of our kids for hanging in there and fighting all the way through,” Brunswick coach Luke Beal said. “This was a great team win tonight, and obviously one that we needed.”
The Blue Devils went ahead 20-16 on the first play of the fourth quarter when senior quarterback Yohman threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Broa.
It capped a 12-play, 85-yard drive that came immediately after the Mustangs had taken the lead on a 44-yard scoring strike from Mike Myers to Matt Oprea.
“Once we got them down, there was no stopping us tonight,” said Brunswick running back Keith Yohman, who blocked a punt, made an interception, scored a receiving touchdown and gained 73 yards from scrimmage.
“Coming into Strongsville and playing here is a great feeling with the big crowd and all the noise, but to beat them as seniors, this one is definitely up there with the biggest wins we’ve had.”
After the teams traded possessions, the Brunswick defense made a major stand with 3:58 remaining. Senior linebacker Brad Darlington stuffed Myers on a fourth-and-2 draw at the Brunswick 48, seizing possession back for the visitors.
Strongsville forced the Blue Devils into fourth-and-1 at the Mustangs 32 with 2:31 left, but that set the stage for Roberts. The senior running back took a block from the right side of the line and sprinted past the secondary for the game-clinching TD.
Roberts finished with 116 yards rushing on 20 carries and two scores, fighting through the pain of a sprained and heavily taped right ankle.
“We were determined to make this win happen all week because it was the last time many of us were going to play Strongsville,” Roberts said. “My ankle hurts and it’s going to be real sore tomorrow, but the adrenaline carried me the whole way. We’re all real happy right now.”
Brunswick took a 14-3 lead into the half after scoring twice in a 4-minute span in the second quarter.
Dan Yohman (13-of-28, 140 yards, 2 TDs, INT) threw a 26-yard TD pass to Keith Yohman at 8:56, while Roberts had a 1-yard TD run with 4:56 left.
The Mustangs scored 13 unanswered points in the third quarter to go in front 16-14, riding the powerful legs of senior running back Danny Ryan (17 carries, career-high 139 yards) up and down the field.
Ryan Frank’s 4-yard TD run pulled Strongsville with 14-10, while the Myers-to-Oprea TD gave Strongsville its final lead. Brunswick sophomore Adam Weber blocked the latter extra point, beginning the momentum swing for his squad.
“Playing Brunswick is our most fun game of the year — it really is like our Super Bowl,” said Ryan, who notched his second career 100-yard game. “But after their tragedy last summer (which claimed the lives of football players Jeff Chaya and Blake Bartchak, along with Kevin Fox and Lexi Poerner), we also wanted to show our respect for them.
“There weren’t nearly as many cheap shots as usual, but there was a lot of hard-hitting, intense football both ways, just like a Strongsville-Brunswick game should be.”
|The Brunswick athletic department distributed several hundred T-shirts to students who purchased advance tickets for the game. The front featured full color helmets of both schools, while the back read “Rivals on the field, friends to the end.”|
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brunswick 27, Strongsville 16
BRUNSWICK 0 14 0 13 — 27
STRONGSVILLE 0 3 13 0 — 16
S — Drew Shephard 32 field goal, 11:11.
B — Keith Yohman 26 pass from Dan Yohman (Triston Wasil kick), 8:56.
B — Nick Roberts 1 run (Wasil kick), 4:56.
S — Ryan Frank 4 run (Shephard kick), 8:13.
S — Matt Oprea 44 pass from Mike Myers (kick blocked), 4:11.
B — Brandon Broa 10 pass from D. Yohman (pass failed), 11:55.
B — Roberts 32 run (Wasil kick), 2:31.