At times, Brentwood quarterback Cade Granzow sounded like a seal on the sidelines, with a barking cough on a bitterly cold night.
On the field, the junior looked like the picture of health, accounting for 181 of the Bruins 202 yards of offense as Brentwood (10-2) held off a physical, determined Independence (7-5) squad 20-13 Friday night in the second round of the Class 6A football playoffs at James C. Parker Stadium in Brentwood.
“I’ve been sick the past two games. It’s not the flu, just a bad cold, and I finally got the right medicine, I think,” a weary looking Granzow said after the game. “But I’m going to do what I have to do for my team. Sick or not, I’m going to out there and play for them.”
Granzow ran for 68 yards in 15 carries and threw for another 113, including first-half touchdowns to Garner Jones (42 yards) and Walker Merrill (eight yards), sandwiching a booming 45-yard field goal by Tabor Miller and giving Brentwood a 17-0 lead at the break.
“They out-executed us in the first half and obviously got more points out of it,” said Independence head coach Scott Blade. “It was a great game. A close game. A physical game.
“I’m proud of my kids for the effort in the second half; it’s the kind of effort we’ve seen a lot out of our kids this year.”
Ethan Cash and Jaxson Campbell carried the load for the Eagles. Cash accounted for 253 of the Eagles 273 yards – 207 in the air, 46 on the ground – using Campbell as his favorite target. The junior caught 11 passes for 132 yards on the night. He had 10 catches for 187 yards and score in the first round.
The second half belonged to the Eagles, with Cash hitting Brighan Morrical for a touchdown late in the third quarter before charging over the top from two yards out with just over a minute to play. Indy’s on-side kick following the score almost got loose, but the Bruins finally fell on the ball, ending the Eagle’s chances.
It was enough to make Brentwood coach Ron Crawford happy.
“Anytime you’re in the playoffs and you win, it’s a nice win,” he said with a smile. “They were more physical a lot of the time, they were super ready to play. I thought Scott and his staff had his team really ready to play.
“We struggled to block them and couldn’t get our running game going and they found enough there at the end to make it really close, but that’s football.”
The win sets up a quarterfinal matchup next Friday night featuring the Battle of the Woods, with Brentwood hosting Ravenwood (11-1), a convincing 35-0 winner on the road at Cane Ridge Friday night. The two rivals met on the same field in the quarterfinals last season with the Raptors moving on to the semifinals.
Brentwood 20 Independence 13, Class 6A Second Round
IHS – 0 0 7 6 – 13
BHS – 7 10 0 3 – 20
6:43 B – Garner Jones 42 pass from Cade Graznow (Tabor Miller kick);
7:50 B – Miller 45 FG;
2:15 B – Walker Merrill 8 pass from Granzow (Miller kick);
1:42 I – Brighan Morrical 21 pass from Ethan Cash (Sam Henke kick);
4:07 B – Miller 32 FG;
1:14 I – Cash 2 run (kick failed).
Independence – Ethan Cash, 24-43-0-1 for 207; Brentwood – Cade Granzow, 11-22-0-2 for 113.
Independence – 20-66 (Cash, 13-46; Jack Phillips, 5-19; Caedon Willams, 1-1; Jaxson Campbell, 1-0); Brentwood – 29-89 (Granzow 15-68; Luke Walters 5-10; Walker Merrill 2-6; Scott Collins, 7-5).
Independence – 24-207 (Jaxson Campbell, 11-132; Brighan Morrical, 6-57; Ethan Pickering 1-7; Austin Watson, 1-6; Calvin Wilson, 2-4; Chase Harmon, 1-3; Jack Phillips, 1 (-2)); Brentwood – 11-113 (Garner Jones 2-52; Merrill, 5-49; Aaron Walton, 1-11; Carson Drier, 1-4; Luke Walters 1-(-3)).