The Brookfield Bulldogs football team, after last week’s record-setting performance at home against Monroe City, looked like the likely team to end Centralia’s massive regular season winning streak. The Dogs have struggled in close games with the Panthers in the past few seasons, and just couldn’t seem to find their stride last Friday night.
Arturo Huerta kicked off to start the game, Reed McBroom sacked the Panthers quarterback on first down to show the Bulldogs team fire. Centralia recovered, and netted big plays of 23, 14, and 11-yards to gain first downs. But a stop for a loss by Brent Sparks, and a pass deflection by Zach McConkey helped turn the football over on downs at the Brookfield 8 yard line.
The Dogs went three-and-out, after runs by JJ Abongo, Collin Thudium, and McBroom. The punt by Dean Gall was returned to the Bulldogs 38. It was from here that Centralia passed into the end zone for the game’s first score. The point-after was good to put Brookfield down seven points.
Q1 5:22 Brookfield 0 Centralia 7
Zach Bragg returned the kickoff to his own 30. Anthony Cupp took over for some snaps at quarterback, and found Abongo for a short gain. A short gin by McBroom, and an incompletion from Abongo would result in a three-and-out. Gall’s punt was returned to the Panthers 24.
Centralia was stopped for a loss by Marcus Liebhart, but used gains of 11, 19, and 29-yards to set up a 15-yard touchdown run. The point-after sailed through to put the Dogs down by two scores.
Q1 2:18 Brookfield 0 Centralia 14
Thudium returned the ensuing kickoff to his own 20. The Dogs offense moved the ball well on this drive, which would stretch into the second quarter. Runs by McBroom and Ramzie Cooper gained Brookfield their first set of new downs at their own 32. Runs by Abongo, Cooper, and Thudium gained another first down to start the second quarter at their own 49. Runs by Cooper and McBroom penetrated Centralia territory for another first down at the 39. Two more runs from Thudium, and one from Abongo would reset the down marker at the Panthers 28 yard line. But, three plays later, Brookfield would turn the ball over on downs as the offense stalled at the Panthers 32.
An early stuff by the trio of Liebhart, McConkey, and Brycen Corf; as well as a pass deflection by Ramzie late in the drive, were defensive highlights for the Dogs on this drive. But the Panthers powerhouse offense marched down the field, helped themselves with a 13 and a 19-yard gain, and would eventually score on a one-yard touchdown run. The point-after put the Dogs down by three scores.
Page 2 of 2 - Q2 3:34 Brookfield 0 Centralia 21
Thudium returned the kickoff to his own 16. Abongo found Liebhart through the air for a 56-yard gain to the Centralia 30. But, the offense would again stall here, and a fourth down halfback pass was picked off to end the drive.
The teams exchanged possessions to bring the first half to a close.
Halftime – Brookfield 0 Centralia 21
Garrett Zahner returned the second half kickoff to his own 47, coming out of the throwback “covey of quail” formation. A third down interception was caught by Centralia at their own 30. The Panthers would break off a long run on second down of 49-yards, and would score two plays later from seven yards out on the run. The point-after was good.
Q3 9:01 Brookfield 0 Centralia 28
Thudium returned the kickoff to his own 46. The Dogs used to short runs by McBroom and Abongo to set up a 12-yard aerial gain from Cupp to Thudium for the first down. After a sack and a couple of penalties against them, the Dogs looked like they were headed to another punt. But a third down pass from Cupp to Abongo gained 25 yards. A run by McBroom negated the yardage deficit, and gained a first down at the Centralia 30. Cupp found Liebhart twice in a row, and gained another first down at the 20. But a pair of flags against the Dogs would stall the drive, and an incompletion on fourth down would turn the ball over at the Panthers 21.
Centralia would break one big run, but a tackle for a loss by Ramzie would help force a three-and-out from there. The punt was blocked by Corf, scooped up by McConkey, and taken to the Panthers six yard line.
The Dogs would get bit by the penalty bug again here, and backed up a distance. Runs by Ramzie and Abongo would get close, but the fourth down pass from Abongo to Ramzie would fall just short, and the Dogs turned the ball over on downs at the Panthers three yard line.
Centralia’s final scoring drive would stretch into the fourth quarter. The Dogs defense featured stops for a loss by Ramzie, Cooper Chaffee, and Quincy Cooper. But the Panthers would drive downfield, and would put the final three points on the board with a 32-yard field goal.
Q4 5:34 Brookfield 0 Centralia 31
The teams would exchange possessions without scoring, bringing this game to a loss, and keeping the Dogs losing streak against Centralia going.
Final – Brookfield 0 Centralia 31
The Dogs are 4-1 on the season.