TWINSBURG — The Brunswick football team had two quarters to play and no room for error Friday night.
Fortunately for the Blue Devils, seniors Richie Norman and Justin Boey refused to allow them to lose.
Norman rushed for 74 yards in the third quarter and Boey recovered two fumbles in the fourth, allowing Brunswick to rally for a 31-7 Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division victory over Twinsburg.
The Blue Devils (5-3, 1-2) kept their playoff hopes alive by outscoring the Tigers (2-6, 0-3) 28-0 after intermission. They entered the game one spot out of a postseason berth in the Division I, Region 1 rankings.
“Our defense was phenomenal all night and deserves a ton of credit,” said Norman, who rushed for a game-high 145 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. “You can’t play any more perfect than those guys did, which is why we had to do our part in the second half.
“We knew once as we got going on offense, no one was going to stop us — and they didn’t.”
Twinsburg brought a 7-3 lead into the third quarter before Norman imposed his will. The 5-foot-7 speedster averaged 7.5 yards on 10 carries during the period, putting Brunswick ahead with a 25-yard touchdown run at 5:02.
Norman also had the Blue Devils driving at the end of the frame, setting up a 34-yard touchdown pass from Steven Ficyk to Zach Parker on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Ficyk and Parker then hooked up for a 46-yard scoring strike midway through the fourth — after the Tigers were forced to punt for the third straight drive — to give Brunswick a 24-7 advantage.
“The key to the game, and really our season at that point, was how we were going to come out of the half,” Blue Devils coach Luke Beal said. “Our defense played so well the whole game, but our offense was so sluggish for whatever reason.
“We challenged those kids at halftime and they really responded. Richie ran great, the offensive line answered their wake-up call and Steven and Zach made a couple of big plays.”
Brunswick’s defense, meanwhile, continued to work its magic.
It held Twinsburg to 22 yards and three first downs over the first 18 minutes of the second half, then forced three turnovers in the final 6 minutes.
Defensive lineman Boey scooped up two fumbles by Tigers quarterback Mike Peelman in a three-play span, while junior linebacker Sean Magalski recovered a Tallin Johnson fumble at the Blue Devils 10 with 1:39 left in the contest.
“I am so proud of our defense, and I loved the way that we stuck together as a team tonight,” Boey said. “Even though the first half didn’t go great, I felt more confident than usual because I knew we would find a way to win.
“We just kept playing hard, and I think the whole team got swept up in the momentum when we kept making stops.”
Brunswick added its final points on a 7-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Chase Rieg with 2:43 remaining. Earlier in the game, senior cornerback David Kelty made a nifty interception and junior linebacker Adam Weber stopped a Tigers drive with a sack.
Also of note, the Blue Devils held Twinsburg to 2-of-8 on third-down conversions and stopped them on fourth down at their 31 late in the first half.
Those numbers added up to Brunswick’s first win over the Tigers in six tries.
“They’ve seemed to have our number every year, but we closed it out as seniors by beating them here,” Boey said. “I’m not going to lie. That feels real good.”
The Tigers took a 7-0 lead on their opening possession when Peelman tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Darius Jones. Peelman finished the evening 7-of-14 for 137 yards, while Ficyk wound up 6-of-13 for 120 yards after misfiring on his first four throws.
Blue Devils junior Kyle Hotz converted a 23-yard field goal late in the second quarter, which started a 28-0 game-ending run.
“If you have the right mindset, you will be successful — and we had it all night,” Norman said. “Now, we have to keep it and carry it over into our final two games to make the playoffs.”
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.
Brunswick 31, Twinsburg 7
BRUNSWICK 0 3 7 21 — 31
TWINSBURG 7 0 0 0 — 7
T — Darius Jones 21 pass from Mike Peelman (Jake Krieger kick), 9:27.
B — Kyle Hotz 23 field goal, 3:21.
B — Richie Norman 25 run (Hotz kick), 5:02.
B — Zach Parker 34 pass from Steven Ficyk (Hotz kick), 11:51.
B — Parker 46 pass from Ficyk (Hotz kick), 6:24.
B — Chase Rieg 7 run (Hotz kick), 2:43.
Print this story
Report an innappropriate comment
In order to comment, you must agree to our user agreement and discussion guidelines.
Read our user agreement and discussion guidelines ..
Need help? Email Us.