July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Stout ‘D’ does its job

Brunswick's Nick Roberts fights through Solon's defense behind the block of Zach Parker (left) in the first quarter. (JUDD SMERGLIA / GAZETTE)

Brian Dulik

The Gazette

BRUNSWICK — Solon’s Khoury Crenshaw blew past the field at the Division I state track meet, sprinting to the title in the 100-meter dash.

The senior running back wasn’t nearly as successful trying to outrace Brunswick’s football team Friday night.

The Blue Devils held Crenshaw to minus-8 yards on 15 offensive touches, paving the way for their 31-19 Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division win over the Comets.

“Honestly, I don’t know if we can do any better than that,” Brunswick defensive lineman Garrick Koermer said. “Maybe holding him to minus-30 yards or something, but that was a pretty good night for us.

“We just focused on playing as a team and never stopped working together. Everything turned out great, especially on our senior night.”

The Blue Devils (6-3, 2-2) forced Crenshaw backward for minus-3 yards on 13 rushing attempts and minus-5 yards on two receptions, providing a textbook example of how to shut down an opponent’s top player.

As a team, Solon (4-5, 1-3) rushed for minus-17 yards on 21 carries. The Comets did not gain positive yardage on any of their six second-half attempts, which totaled minus-31 yards.

“Our defense played with tremendous effort and tremendous passion tonight,” said Brunswick coach Luke Beal, whose squad remains mathematically alive for a playoff berth with one game to play. “We finally have everyone back healthy, and I think that boosted our confidence against a team that we’ve really struggled against.”

The key returnee was Koermer, who missed a week and a half after suffering a neck stinger, but remained the defense’s emotional leader.

Fellow seniors Brad Darlington and Danny Stepp, both linebackers, joined him in delivering crushing blows to Crenshaw and Solon quarterback Ryan Gallagher.

“Words can’t express how bad we wanted this win tonight because Solon has had our number,” said Stepp, who had a sack, touchdown, two-point conversion and career-high 40 yards rushing on 11 attempts. “I loved getting into the end zone, but I was even happier about making huge hits because they bring momentum to your team every time.”

Senior running back Keith Yohman scored on 56- and 14-yard runs for the Blue Devils, putting them ahead 13-0 midway through the second quarter. He finished with a game-high 94 yards rushing on 11 totes.

Brunswick, which never trailed, took a 21-7 lead into the half when senior quarterback Dan Yohman (80 passing yards, 56 rushing yards) connected with junior wide receiver Zach Parker on a 68-yard touchdown.

Crenshaw would pull the Comets within 24-13 when he returned a kickoff 94 yards for a score with one second remaining in the third, but Stepp’s 1-yard power run with 5:12 left in the fourth solidified the Blue Devils’ triumph.

Brunswick wound up with 254 yards rushing on 55 attempts while outgaining Solon 334-161.

“The first thing I said after the game to our seniors was, ‘You couldn’t have a better memory for your last home game than this,’” Beal said. “It tells you a lot about our kids the way they’ve kept fighting the last two weeks after we went through a rough stretch.

“To come back and win at Strongsville, then beat Solon means we’re still in the hunt. Now, we’ve got to control what we can control and beat Medina — and let all the chips fall where they will.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.

Brunswick 31, Solon 19

SOLON                                            0  7  6  6  —  19

BRUNSWICK                              7  14  3  7  —  31


B — Keith Yohman 56 run (Triston Wasil kick), 3:01.


B — Yohman 6 run (kick blocked), 6:00.

S — Drew Barksdale 56 pass from Ryan Gallagher (Keon Hemerlein kick), 5:14.

B — Zach Parker 68 pass from Dan Yohman (Danny Stepp run), 4:13.


B — Wasil 25 field goal, 0:15.

S — Khoury Crenshaw 94 kickoff return (kick blocked), 0:01.


B — Stepp 1 run (Wasil kick), 5:12.