Independence rolls over Brentwood 37-13
By Doug Dyer, for the Williamson Herald
Rashaan Gaulden outpaces Brentwood defenders. Photo courtesy of Bill Dorsten
Rashaan Gaulden scored three touchdowns, including a 75-yard interception return, and Independence spoiled Brentwood’s senior night, winning 37-13 over the Bruins Friday night.
The Eagles (7-3, 5-1 District 11-AAA) finish in the No. 2 spot in 11-AAA behind Ravenwood, while Franklin finishes third. The three teams now await the release of the TSSAA Class 6A playoff bracket, which is scheduled for Saturday morning.
“We got a good win,” said Gaulden, a Tennessee commitment. “That gives us some confidence going into the playoffs.”
Brentwood (3-7, 2-4) collected four Independence turnovers, all in the second half, but was unable to hold onto the momentum and establish consistency on offense. Still, the Bruins fought for all four quarters just like they have all season, coach Mike Woodward said.
“Our defense has played so much better the last three or four weeks,” he said. “That just goes back to the heart our kids have. They went out and gave everything they had.”
Independence took advantage of the Bruins’ miscues, however, returning two of three interceptions for touchdowns and tackling Brentwood punter Andrew Garcia in the end zone for a safety.
“Our defense is playing better,” Independence coach Scott Blade said. “Early on this season that was our Achilles heel, but we’ve worked hard and gotten better. They’re starting to play better at the right time.”
Offensively Independence only outgained Brentwood 249-245, but it was the Eagles’ timely big plays that made the difference, as they have all year, Blade said.
“That’s been our M.O.,” he said. “We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re getting better. Fortunately we’ve got another week to get better again.”
Gaulden caught two touchdowns from quarterback Andrew Bunch in the first half to go along with Adam Martin’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 21-7 advantage at halftime.
Brentwood’s points in the first half came on an 18-yard Aaron Maher-to-Caleb Tyler touchdown pass.
A fumble by Indy deep in Brentwood territory gave the Bruins renewed life down only two scores in the third, but they were unable to capitalize. Garcia had to pick up a poor punt snap off the ground and could not elude defenders in the end zone, being tackled for a safety to make it 23-7 midway through the third.
The Eagles would turn it over on their next two possessions as well, leaving Brentwood still within striking distance, but the Bruins were not able to close the gap.
“We have to get better in the offseason so we can close some of these games out,” Woodward said.
Vic Wharton’s 48-yard touchdown run and Gaulden’s 75-yard interception return put the game out of reach, however. Maher added a late touchdown pass for the Bruins to fellow senior Andy Schumpert, closing out the scoring.
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Posted on: 11/1/2013