The Brookfield football team did exactly what it needed to do in Friday night's homecoming game.
The Bulldogs defeated winless Highland, 33-0, and controlled the game throughout.
Although Brookfield led just 12-0 heading into the halftime break, it scored touchdowns on two of just three first-half possessions.
In the second half, junior back Garrett Starlin shifted his way to the endzone from 42 yards out on a routine trap play. With the score 20-0, the Bulldogs were able to cruise the rest of the way.
Highland manufactured just 30 yards of offense in the first half, and aside from the final, insignificant drive of the game, tallied just 86 yards in total. The Cougars' fruitless final drive went 76 yards with Brookfield's junior varsity squad in the game.
"Tonight was a great team effort," Starlin said. "We knew that Highland was a way better team than last year, and to get a shutout tonight means a lot for us.
"Those first two drives, we did what we had to. We had long, sustained drives that we scored on, and we set up some plays for later in the game. We pushed up in the middle with (fullback Trace Alexander), and that opened up a lot of things on the outside."
Starlin finished with 146 yards on just 10 carries. He recorded a trio of touchdowns.
Alexander got his regular load of work on Friday night, finishing with 145 yards on 26 carries, including setting the tone early with a 28-yard downhill rumble on Brookfield's first play from scrimmage after forcing a Highland punt to begin the game.
Brookfield quarterback Carsen Beckman finished with 13 carries for 28 yards, and completed both of his pass attempts for 21 yards. Starlin caught one for 14 yards, and Alexander hauled one in for seven.
"We're beaten up enough that we really needed a whole-team win win like this," Beckman said. "Anyone can play at this point, and when your time comes, you better be ready. Our guys up front worked their butts off, and we'll use this momentum to drive forward and push to get a win next week against Macon."
On the defensive side of the football, the Bulldogs gave pass-happy Highland fits all evening.
Cougar sophomore quarterback Drew Mallett was a dismal 8-27 passing for 66 yards. Both Highland turnovers were interceptions, one by Tyler Polley and the other by Bryson Collier.
Brookfield committed no turnovers on Friday night, although the Bulldogs did fall on two of their own fumbles.
Bulldog third-year coach Scott Stevens said that making quarterbacks uncomfortable is the area in which his defense might be best.
"Defensively, we had a great game, and getting pressure on the quarterback is a huge strength for us," Stevens said. "If you look at some of the teams that we've played that run a spread, we do a lot of good things to force quarterbacks to feel the heat. We have a lot of guys that love pursuing the football, and right now, we have 11 guys who give great pursuit."
The Bulldogs travel to Macon next Friday.
Even with a smattering of injuries, Stevens believes that his unit has adapted and grown up. He especially felt like the young offensive interior proved that on Friday night, especially with senior leader Dylan Brundage shut down for the season.
"We've had some young guys step in, and they've come a long way with their physicality," Stevens said. "Our three sophomores anchoring the middle of the line (Peyton Armstrong, Austin Tucker, and Silas Dodd) did everything we asked of them this evening. They opened up a lot of things for us."