By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
A couple of big defensive plays late in the fourth quarter clinched the win for the Brookings-Harbor High School football team in an exciting 20-19 victory over the Douglas Trojans in the league-opener Friday night.
"That was a crazy game," Coach Jim Keys said. "It took a blocked field goal to win the game. Douglas always plays us tough and they had to make it exciting."
Even though the Trojans continued to bounce back, the Bruins never lost their composure and constantly put pressure on their opponents.
"The fact that we never truly got down on ourselves after our mistakes is what I'm proud of," Keys said. "Instead, they were able to work that into a positive, motivating factor."
The Bruins (1-0, 2-3) had a 20-13 lead with five minutes left to play in the fourth when the Trojans (0-1, 0-5) capped off a 63-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jacob Neilsen.
With the score at 20-19, the Trojans decided to go for the two-point conversion, but Seth McDonald came up big as he wrapped up the Trojan ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage to keep them out of the end zone.
After the Trojans recovered a fumble on the Bruins next drive, the defense had to come up with another big stop to preserve the lead.
On third-and-twelve, Tyler Drafahl made a key play in the secondary as he broke up the pass in the end zone, forcing a fourth down.
The Trojans attempted the 30-yard field goal to take the lead, but the Bruins rose to the occasion and blocked the kick, retaining their 20-19 lead.
With under a minute left to play, the Bruins let the clock run down on their final possession to secure the win.
On the Bruins second possession of the game, quarterback AJ Weber bailed out the Bruins on fourth down as he found Nick Morris for a 28-yard gain down to the 1-yard line.
Weber then snuck in to the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point by Tyler Parke was good as the Bruins took an early 7-0 lead.
On the Trojans next drive, a miscommunication in the backfield caused the ball to pop loose and Weber wasted no time in scooping it up and dashing 22 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
Parke's extra point attempt was no good and the Bruins led 13-0 in the first quarter.
The Trojans answered back early in the second quarter as Neilsen scored his first of three touchdowns on the night to pull within a score. The extra point attempt by Bryson Norton was no good and the Bruins led 13-6.
For the remainder of the second quarter, neither team would be able to gain another first down as the Bruin defense held the Trojans to 34 yards in the first half.
Both offenses came out ready to score in the second half and were able to move the ball with much more consistency.
The Trojans struck first as Neilsen punched in a 2-yard touchdown run after a pass interference call gave the Trojans a second chance. Norton's extra point was good and the Trojans tied the game 13-13.
A 32-yard kick return by Andrew Tuttle gave the Bruins excellent field position on their next drive.
Nick Morris started off the drive with an 11-yard run and then fullback David Marrington plowed his way through the middle for 35 yards all the way down to the 2-yard line.
Two plays later, Weber punched in his third touchdown of the game and Parke's extra point gave the Bruins the 20-13 lead.
The offensive line did an excellent job of opening up holes for the Bruin backs to run through in the second half.
On defense, the Bruins were able to force the Trojans into turning the ball over, giving the offense a chance to put points on the board and run time off the clock.
McDonald and Althof did a good job containing the Trojans on the outside while linebackers Marrington and Mike Klein got in on several key tackles.
Marrington led the Bruins on the ground with 68 yards, followed by Morris with 52 and Drafahl with 27.
The next game for the Bruins will be on homecoming against Siuslaw on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at home.