The Brookfield Bulldogs began their football season for the second consecutive season with a Clarence Cannon Conference battle on the road at Center against the Mark Twain Tigers. The Dogs overcame inexperience on the line, as well as some mistakes, to win this CCC contest and come home with a 1-0 record.
Arturo Huerta kicked off for the Dogs, and Mark Twain returned the ball to their own 26 to start the game. Mark Twain gained one first down, but stops for a loss by Ramzie Cooper and Matt Neeley helped lead to the eventual punt, which was downed at the Brookfield 46.
A short gain by Cooper set up a 13-yard run by Collin Thudium for the Dogs first fresh set of downs of the season. A short run by JJ Abongo and a flag against the Tigers, as well as a pass from Abongo to Thudium, earned another Brookfield first down at the Mark Twain 20. A run from Abongo led to a Lake Harmon run for a First and Goal at the nine yard line. Cooper got the ball to the four, where a pass from Abongo to Thudium made the first touchdown of the season, and Abongo’s passing career. Huerta added the point-after.
Q1 4:45 Brookfield 7 Mark Twain 0
From here, the teams exchanged three-and-out’s, and on their next possession, Mark Twain also went three-and-out. The Dogs defense had stops for a loss by Quincy Cooper, and a pass deflection by Zach McConkey. The ensuing punt was blocked by Brent Sparks, and was downed at the Mark Twain 23.
Abongo found Neeley for a seven yard gain, and a pair of runs by Harmon and Ramzie Cooper got the Dogs to the six yard line to end the opening frame. A short run by Ramzie Cooper set up Abongo for a four-yard touchdown run. Huerta’s extra point was blocked.
Q2 11:21 Brookfield 13 Mark Twain 0
Mark Twain would score on their next drive, despite a nice stuff on an early play by Sparks, on a 60-yard touchdown run. Sparks sacked the quarterback on the conversion attempt.
Q2 8:30 Brookfield 13 Mark Twain 6
Garrett Zahner returned the Tigers kickoff to his own 28 to start the next Brookfield drive. A short run by Dean Gall set up a 10-yard pass from Abongo to Thudium. A short pass from Abongo to Ramzie Cooper was followed by a fumble, which Thudium recovered at the 45 yard line. Abongo took it from there for a 55-yard touchdown run. Harmon added the point-after.
Q2 6:20 Brookfield 20 Mark Twain 6
An early stuff by Sparks was negated by a 35-yard pass by the Tigers. But, three plays later, McConkey would recover a fumble at his own 35 yard line.
A short pass from Abongo to Thudium set up a 12-yard strike to Ramzie Cooper. Abongo followed this with a 30-yard strike to Thudium. A short run by Ramzie Cooper helped set up a 16-yard strike to Thudium for the score. Harmon added the point-after.
Q2 2:09 Brookfield 27 Mark Twain 6
An early sack by McConkey would be negated by a pair of Mark Twain first downs. However, the half would end with the Dogs defense holding tight.
Halftime Brookfield 27 Mark Twain 6
Ramzie Cooper brought the second half’s kickoff to his own 39 yard line. A short run by Ramzie Cooper set up a 58-yard touchdown pass from Abongo to Neeley. It is worth noting that Abongo broke two sack attempts before launching the pass for the score. Harmon added the point-after.
Q3 11:08 Brookfield 34 Mark Twain 6
Mark Twain went three-and-out on their next possession. A long run by Ramzie Cooper was a good start to the Dogs drive, but a fumbled snap and a flag backed Brookfield up and killed the drive’s momentum. A short punt from Abongo would give the ball away.
The teams exchanged three-and-out’s for a couple of possessions, and an interception would end another Brookfield drive.
Toward the end of the third quarter, Mark Twain drove from their own 37, and at the start of the final frame looked to be punting the ball away. But, a fumble on the return gave the Tigers the ball at the Brookfield 49. This was despite a key third down stop by Quincy Cooper and Lucas Noble. It would take 10 plays from here, along with a Brookfield penalty, to allow Mark Twain to score on a 14-yard run. The conversion run was no good.
Q4 7:15 Brookfield 34 Mark Twain 12
Brookfield fumbled away their next possession, but forced a fumble by Mark Twain to get the ball back at their own 18. A quartet of runs from Thudium and Reed McBroom got the Dogs to their 40. Runs from Ramzie Cooper, Thudium, McBroom, and Harmon got the Dogs deep into Tigers territory. Harmon and Thudium combined to get the pigskin to the Tigers five yard line, where Abongo would take a knee to end the game with a Brookfield win.
Final Brookfield 34 Mark Twain 12
“Overall we were pleased with the effort for the first game of the season,” said Head Coach Nile Thudium. “”Mark Twain was a big, physical team and we responded to the challenge. I felt we got a little complacent in the second half and made some mistakes. That simply cant happen if we want to be an elite team in class two. We must look at our flaws and do our best to fix them.”