The Brookfield Bulldogs football team hosted Highland in a Clarence Cannon Conference battle that also served as the Dogs home opener at Burlington Field last Friday night. Although the rains subsided until the second half, the Dogs pulled out a sloppy win to remain 2-0 on the season.
Brookfield won the toss and elected to kick. Arturo Huerta kicked off for the Dogs. Highland went three-and-out, thanks in-part to a tackle for a loss by Matt Neeley. The ensuing punt was downed at the Brookfield 41.
The Dogs fumbled the ball back to the Cougars on second down, at their own 35 yard line. Highland would take advantage of the short field, but would only put up a field goal. The Dogs defense featured a tackle for a loss by Zach Bragg, and a pass deflection by Reed McBroom. But, after a 28-yard field goal, the Dogs trailed early.
Q1 4:41 Highland 3 Brookfield 0
Garrett Zahner returned the Highland kickoff to his own 31. A 14-yard run on second down by Collin Thudium highlighted the short Brookfield drive, which ended with another turnover at their own 30 on third down.
The Brookfield defense would step up on the next Highland drive, with a stop for a loss by Bragg, a stuff by Brent Sparks and Ramzie Cooper, and a sack by Sparks. Combine this with a penalty on Highland, and Highland was forced to punt the ball away. Cooper slipped at his own nine to end the first quarter.
End Q1 Highland 3 Brookfield 0
Runs by Cooper, Thudium, and McBroom earned the Dogs a first down at their own 21. Runs by JJ Abongo and Cooper, as well as a pass from Abongo to Thudium earned another fresh set of downs at the 34. From here, though, the Dogs went three-and-out, and a booming punt from Lake Harmon was downed at the Highland 26.
Zach McConkey and Bragg combined on a tackle for a loss, and Neeley recovered a fumble on second down at the Highland 24 to give the Dogs a short field to work from.
Abongo gained 10 on first down, and after a loss on second down scored from 16 yards out to give the Dogs new life. The point-after was no good, but still left Brookfield with a small lead.
Q2 5:54 Highland 3 Brookfield 6
Highland went three-and-out on their next drive, thanks to a big tackle for a loss by Abongo, and a sack deep in Cougars territory by Quincy Cooper. The teams would exchange possessions for the remainder of the first half, with a 19-yard pass from Abongo to Cooper highlighting the Brookfield offensive effort. Sparks earned a tackle for a loss, and Neeley racked up a sack in defensive highlights.
Halftime Highland 3 Brookfield 6
The Cougars opening kickoff went our of bounds, giving the Dogs good field position at their own 35 as the rains started to come down at the beginning of the second half.
Page 2 of 2 - A Highland penalty and an 11-yard gain by McBroom earned Brookfield a first down. Another Highland penalty, as well as runs by Abongo and McBroom, and a pass to Thudium, earned yet another fresh set of downs for Brookfield. The drive was maintained after a 10-yard fourth down run by Abongo, which was followed by a 23-yard gain by Thudium to set up First and Goal. McBroom punched in his first Varsity touchdown from there to extend the Brookfield lead. The extra point was no good.
Q3 8:26 Highland 3 Brookfield 12
Highland went three-and-out again, with a key third down stop for a loss by Ramzie Cooper and McConkey. The teams exchanged three-and-out's from here, exchanging punts. On Brookfield's next possession, runs by Abongo (14 yards) and Ramzie Cooper (11 yards) would earn first downs, and bring the third quarter to a close.
End Q3 Highland 3 Brookfield 12
Abongo quick kicked the ball to start the final quarter. The teams exchanged possessions for the remainder of the game, as the pouring rains made play difficult for both teams. A 10-yard run by Thudium was a late offensive highlight for the Dogs. Sparks earned another sack, and Dean Gall picked off a late pass in defensive highlights for Brookfield.
"It feels good to get the win," said Sparks. "We still need work on both sides of the ball."
Final Highland 3 Brookfield 12
"We didn't start off very well, we weren't very focused," said Head Coach Nile Thudium. "Highland is much improved and took it to us. Our defense stood up to them all night, and held them to negative yardage in the second half. We relied heavily on our defense tonight. We didn't take very good care of the ball, but our defense came through for us."