BRENTWOOD – The Brentwood High School football team came away with three timely turnovers and despite losing a couple players on the offensive line, racked up more than 200 yards rushing to earn a 42-20 Region 6-6A win Friday over visiting Franklin.
The Bruins improved to 6-2 overall and pushed their region record to 3-0 heading into the final weeks of the regular season with a third consecutive region title in their sights.
“We played nine linemen tonight and we had a lot of guys step up and make some big plays and just do their jobs,” said Brentwood senior guard Elliott Chaffin, who took over at center during the contest. “Right now we control our destiny and I think everyone knows that because now next week, we can play for the region championship.”
Brentwood will host Independence, which blasted Dickson County 56-0 Friday. Both teams are unbeaten in region play and finally get to square off after postponing their originally scheduled game on Oct. 2 due to COVID-19 issues at the Thompson’s Station school.
“Oh yeah, I think that will be a great game,” said Brentwood senior John Howse, who snagged one of two Bruins interceptions against the Admirals. “We want to put our 2020 region champs on the board for three years in a row.”
DJ Durham gets a big push up front and Franklin opens the scoring at Brentwood. The Admirals lead 7-0 with 8:43 to play in the first ... video —> pic.twitter.com/io4GdvPj2h— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) October 17, 2020
Franklin entered Friday trying to disrupt that whole plan. The Admirals (3-5, 1-3) struck first as well when DJ Durham followed a 46-yard completion from Connor Beavon to Carson Repass with a 1-yard plunge less than four minutes into the contest. The game was the latest meeting in the 37th season of Williamson County’s oldest rivalry. Franklin converted on 4th-and-1 from their own 29 to set the tone for the opening drive as well.
Brentwood’s Luke Walters, who finished with 123 yards rushing and three TDs, responded early in the second and Franklin coughed up its first turnover at the Bruins 18 when Spencer Rich forced a fumble and Baker Brummett recovered for the home team at the 13. Walters capped a nine-play, 87-yard drive by getting to the edge on the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown run with 3:53 remaining in the first half.
“Well, we had those two linemen go down, but we didn’t panic,” the senior running back said. “The guys stepped up and made their blocks. I think we all settled down there and relaxed and functioned well.”
Brentwood’s Scott Collins sacked Beavon for a big loss on the next Admirals possession and Brentwood took over with 1:51 to play at the Franklin 46. Bruins quarterback Cade Granzow and Walker Merrill chipped away with a couple comeback routes – the theme between the talented duo all night as Merrill closed with 12 catches for 136 yards. Granzow was able to score on a 1-yard run as time expired to end the half and give the Bruins a two-touchdown lead.
Cade Granzow caps the first half with this 1-yard touchdown run ... Brentwood leads Franklin 21-7 at the break. pic.twitter.com/qUXPmXERZP— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) October 17, 2020
“I think that score to make it 21-7, that was just huge,” Brentwood coach Ron Crawford said. “It was a two-score game now when they had played their butts off. They’re tough. I really thought we’d have a burner going there for awhile and I have to say, I never was comfortable.”
Coach Crawford definitely wasn’t at ease when Taylor Spierto jump-started Franklin by snagging a rare Granzow interception and returning it 50 yards for the touchdown 72 seconds into the second half. The PAT was no good, but the Admirals were knocking within 21-13.
Franklin coach Donnie Webb called Spierto an “energizer bunny” for his team. The senior made plays all night and missed only a handful of snaps playing both ways and scoring both ways as well. He extended several drives and closed with three catches for 75 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown grab to close the scoring late in the fourth.
“He helped keep giving us some opportunities,” Webb said of Spierto, “but, let me say turnovers are never good, and we had some with just plain bad timing. Brentwood is really good and they really made us one-dimensional at times and took advantage.”
Franklin was able to force fourth down at midfield on the following Brentwood possession, but Howse tracked down the ensuing punt and flipped it out of the end zone so the Admirals had to start at their own 2-yard line with 8:36 to play in the third. Howse, a Vanderbilt commit, swiped a Beavon pass on the sideline at the Franklin 40 several plays later and the Bruins pushed their lead to 28-13 when Walters scored his third TD on a 23-yard run with 1:24 left in the third.
“I feel like we really picked up our momentum later in the game and having those turnovers really changed the outcome,” Howse said. “The defense played really well for us tonight.”
Rich caused another Admirals headache early in the fourth when he got a hand on a Beavon punt to give Brentwood the ball at the Franklin 49 with 10:09 remaining. Granzow, who closed 21-of-29 for 229 yards and two total TDs, lofted a 6-yard jump pass to Aaron Walton for the score with 7:42 to play. Jake Brock added an interception on the next Franklin possession after the Admirals had reached the Brentwood 21 and Granzow closed the door with a 3-yard run on the heels of a 50-yard completion to Merrill near the two-minute mark.
Webb said despite another tough region setback, he expects his team to bounce back.
“We will be back to work no matter what,” he said. “We have a lot of football to be played still.”
Crawford said all focus switches to Independence, again.
“We know they are talented because we have already prepared for them for two days before,” he said. “We’ll get two new films and see what’s changed … but we can sow it up.
"Hopefully we get to play a game this week because we both want this chance to win or lose this think on the field and not deal with COVID wins.”
FHS 7 0 6 7 – 20
BHS 0 21 7 14 – 42
1Q 8:43 F – DJ Durham 1 run (Davis Long kick);
2Q 8:45 B – Luke Walters 9 run (Tanner Weber kick);
2Q 3:53 B – Walters 30 run (Weber kick);
2Q 0:00 B – Cade Granzow 1 run (Weber kick);
3Q 10:48 F – Taylor Spierto 50 interception return (Kick failed);
3Q 1:24 B – Walters 23 run (Weber kick);
4Q 7:42 B – Aaron Walton 6 pass from Granzow (Weber kick);
4Q 2:07 B – Granzow 3 run (Weber kick);
4Q 1:38 F – Spierto 43 pass from Connor Beavon (Long kick).
Total Offense – F 281, B 440
Time of Possession – F 21:14, B 26:46
Fumbles-lost – F 2-1, B 1-0
First Downs – F 15, B 26
First Downs Rushing – F 7, B 11
First Downs Passing – F 6, B 13
Third down conversions/attempts – F 2/9, B 9/12
Fourth Down conversions/attempts – F 2/4, B 1/3
Penalties-Yards – F 8-75, B 9-95
F – 28-97 (Bryce Sparks 10-43, DJ Durham 7-34, Connor Beavon 10-20, Ashton Orton 1-0); B – 32-211 (Luke Walters 13-123, Cade Granzow 16-54, Scott Collins 2-27, Walker Merrill 1-7).
F – Connor Beavon 13-22-1-2 for 184; B – Cade Granzow 21-29-1-1 for 229.
F – 13-184 (Carson Garner 6-76, Taylor Spierto 3-75, Ashton Orton 2-24, Carson Repass 2-9); B – 21-229 (Walker Merrill 12-136, Mac Hirschman 2-37, Aaron Walton 5-36, John Howse 2-20).