Brentwood High School went back to their basics in the second half against Franklin, defeating the Rebels 35-14 Friday night.
A pair of Bruin turnovers kept Franklin alive through two quarters as the visiting Rebels trailed 14-7 at intermission.
“We were a little sloppy in the first half with a couple of turnovers,” Brentwood coach Mark Pemberton said after the game. “We told them at half we were going to run the football and do what we do best. They responded and did a great job.”
Brentwood (9-1, 5-0) did not throw another pass the rest of the game, running the ball 23-consecutive times in the second half and scoring touchdowns every possession.
Senior Ben Green scored his second touchdown of the night on the Bruins’ opening drive of the half, putting Brentwood up 21-7 with 7:45 in the third quarter. It was Green’s sixth carry of the seven-play drive.
David Meehan’s 29-yard run and Austin Winfree’s 29-yard quarterback sneak were Brentwood’s other scores – both occurring in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 28-7, Franklin (4-6, 1-4) looked to edge their way back into the contest as Garrison Mathews made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone on a 30-yard pass from Joe Critchlow. The play would not stand though as referees called Franklin for holding on the play.
Franklin coach Donnie Webb felt momentum had already swung in the home team’s favor, but felt bad for the players involved that the athletic play was for not.
“It’s a shame it doesn’t count,” he said. “It was a great play. Those are two sophomores that are going to be good football players for Franklin High School.”
Brentwood took the lead for good late in the second quarter. Tied 7-7, Sam Mullaney undercut a Franklin route and intercepted Critchlow with 44 seconds remaining before halftime. One play later, Winfree hit Jalen Marsalis on a go-route for a 24-yard touchdown pass.
Pemberton called the interception a beautiful play that gave the team a big boost headed into intermission.
“He went up and got it,” the coach said of Mullaney. “He’s a great athlete. He made a huge play that changed the momentum.”
Webb took the blame for the turnover after the game.
“Turnovers are huge and they’re always going to be,” he said. “It’s the difference in going in 7-7. I take that one – it’s my fault. Maybe should’ve been more conservative and been a defensive coach right then.”
The Rebels were helped by turnover in the second quarter as Brentwood punter Leland Hosto fumbled a punt attempt, allowing Franklin’s Alex Patterson to recover at the 14-yard line. Colton Black scored one play later, tying the game 7-7 with 6:39 remaining in the half.
It was the most action Black had seen this season, returning from a preseason injury. The junior ran for 129 yards on 17 carries.
The loss ends Franklin’s season while Brentwood becomes the No. 2 seed in Class 6A’s Quadrant 3. They will host Wilson Central Friday night at 7 p.m.