Bobcats fall to No. 2-ranked EaglesPublished 12:31am Saturday, October 27, 2012
SCHOOLCRAFT – Late in the third quarter of Friday’s Division 6 pre-district football game between Brandywine and Schoolcraft, Bobcats running back Courtlan Gordon punched the ground in frustration after being injured.
A hobbled Gordon returned and had another great night for the Bobcats. But his efforts weren’t enough to help Brandywine upset No. 2-ranked Schoolcraft as the 10-0 Eagles took advantage of Bobcat turnovers and beat Brandywine, 41-8.
Brandywine, which made the playoffs for the first time since 2002, finishes at 7-3.
Against Schoolcraft, Gordon ended up with 163 yards rushing on 27 carries with a 55-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. The 5-foot-9, 150-pounder finished his senior year with 1,650 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.
“Gutty, gutty, gutty,” said Brandywine coach Mike Nate about Gordon’s performance. “Courtlan Gordon is just an outstanding football player. He’s improved so much in the four years that’s he’s been here. He’s the most improved football player that I’ve ever coached.”
Four Brandywine turnovers led to 21 points for Schoolcraft and halted one Bobcats’ drive deep into Eagles’ territory.
“You’ve got to give (Schoolcraft) credit,” Nate said.”They’re not 10-0 for no reason. It was because of their good defense and their good offense that the mistakes were made. We’re not going to cry about the mistakes. That’s part of the game.”
Brandywine’s first turnover, which was a lost fumble, halted a Bobcats’ drive at Schoolcraft’s 9-yard line in the first quarter. Schoolcraft owned a 7-0 lead when the miscue took place.
An interception by Schoolcraft’s Tom Hurst set up the Eagles second touchdown of the game. Schoolcraft got the ball at Brandywine’s 43-yard line and scored three plays later on Blake Zemek’s 14-yard run with 11:55 left in the second quarter.
That 13-0 Eagles’ lead didn’t last for long as Gordon recorded his long touchdown run 16 seconds later.
After forcing a Schoolcraft punt, Brandywine quickly gave the ball back to Schoolcraft. The Bobcats lost a fumble and the Eagles took over at Brandywine’s 47-yard line. Six plays later, Josh Hill scored on a 1-yard plunge to give the Eagles a 21-8 lead with 5:14 left in the second quarter.
On its final drive of the first half, Brandywine drove deep into Schoolcraft territory and had a 1st-and-goal at the Eagles’ 7-yard line with :03 left. The drive and the first half then came to an end after Brandywine quarterback Andrew Duckett threw an incomplete pass.
“It was a big momentum switch,” Nate said about his team inability to score at the end of the second quarter. “Instead of going in 21-16 or 21-14 it was 21-8 and then they went down and scored to start the second half.”
Nate was asked if he thought about attempting a field goal before halftime.
“No,” the Brandywine coach said. “That wasn’t even an option. We were down 21-8 at the time.”
Schoolcraft put the game away by scoring touchdowns on its first three drives of the second half. The Eagles rushed for 154 yards in the second half. In the first half, Schoolcraft rushed for 84 yards.
“They wore us down,” Nate said. “They’re a very good football team that can win a state title.”
Schoolcraft also hurt Brandywine with its passing game as Eagles quarterback Jeffrey Scott completed 6-of-13 passes for 118 yards. Schoolcraft 6-foot-5 tight end Zach Decker caught four passes for 80 yards.
“He was tough,” Nate said about Decker. “We couldn’t stop the fade when they threw the football to him.”
Nate and assistant coaches gave words of encouragement in an emotional Brandywine locker room after the game.
“I told them to keep their heads up,” Nate said. “There’s nothing to be disappointed about. No one likes to lose 41-8, but we’re only the third team in the school’s history to make the playoffs and we lost to the second-ranked team in their own backyard. That’s nothing to hang your head about.”
Brandywine 0 8 0 0 – 8
Schoolcraft 7 14 20 0 – 41
S – Benny Clark 1 run (Brennan Vaughn kick)
S – Blake Zemek 14 run (kick failed)
B – Courtlan Gordon 55 run (Gordon run)
S – Josh Hill 1 run (Jeffrey Scott pass to Matt Abel)
S – Scott 30 run (Vaughn kick)
S – Clark 1 run (kick failed)
S – Zemek 41 run (Vaughn kick)