BETHEL – Brookfield had a bad taste in its mouth since Thanksgiving morning before Bobby Drysdale and Dane Borges helped get rid of it Tuesday night.
Drysdale scored from two yards out with 38 seconds to play and Borges made the biggest extra point of the season for Brookfield as the fifth-seeded Bobcats knocked off No. 4 Bethel, 22-21, in a Class M quarterfinal at Bethel High School.
The Bobcats (10-3) advance to play top-seeded Valley Regional (12-0) in the semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cheshire High School. Second-seeded St. Joseph (11-2) meets No. 3 Joel Barlow in the other semifinal at Bunnell.
The game between the Wildcats and Bobcats was a rematch of their Thanksgiving Day clash that Bethel won, 20-0, to lock up a playoff spot and a home quarterfinal. Brookfield had lost two straight, including the SWC title game against Newtown, entering Tuesday night.
“This was a great win for our program,” Brookfield coach Rich Angarano said. “It was a defining moment for our seniors and a defining win for the underclassmen.”
A sophomore who entered the game with over 1,700 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns, Drysdale had some huge runs on the game-winning drive that started with 2:19 to play and with the Bobcats trailing 21-15. The drive covered 77 yards and while not all of Drysdale’s runs were for big yards, they were all for tough yards and came in a big spot.
No spot was bigger than 4th-and-2 from the Bethel seven with 52 seconds to play. The Bobcats went to Drysdale and he was first hit short of the first down but his second- and third-effort paid off and he plunged ahead to the 4 to set up a first-and-goal.
“I just kept my legs moving after contact and was able to fight ahead for the first,” Drysdale said. “I knew where I had to get to and just pushed the pile.”
After a spike to kill the clock, Drysdale got the ball again and plowed in from two yards out to make it 21-21 pending the extra point. Borges came on and calmly split the uprights to put the Bobcats ahead for good and give them some revenge for the loss on Thanksgiving.
“Nothing went right for us on Thanksgiving. We were able to move the ball, but just didn’t put points on the board,” Angarano said. “We wanted to come out and show what Brookfield football is all about.”
“It was nice to get some revenge for Thanksgiving and to also move on in the playoffs is awesome,” Drysdale said.
Bethel (9-3), which entered the game on a nine-game winning streak, got the ball back at its own 36 with 33 seconds to play. After a bad snap on first down the Wildcats burned their final time out. On the next play, Jared Piatnik threw a deep ball down the right side that Brookfield’s Brad Westmark picked off to ice the win.
“I hadn’t played safety since I was a freshman but coach said he wanted to get athletes on the field for the final few plays,” said Westmark. Brookfield’s quarterback. “My eyes just lit up when I saw it coming to me and it was great to make a play and help us win the game.”
Bethel led 13-6 at the half and led this one 21-15 with 8:22 to go after a 4-yard TD run by Jared Willsey.
The Bobcats had the ball first to start the second half and went 70 yards for a score. Austin Reich capped the drive with a 20-yard TD run to cut the deficit to 13-12. After a Bethel punt, Brookfield drove for another score as Borges kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Bobcats a 15-13 lead with 20 seconds to go in the third quarter.
“We were pretty emotional at halftime and we told them they had to come out and make a statement in the second half and they did,” Angarano said.
Brookfield took the lead on a 7-yard run by Drysdale and that gave them more points than they managed in the first meeting with Bethel, but the Wildcats allowed little else in the first half and took the lead thanks to the brothers Piatnik.
Joey put Bethel on the board with a short TD run after a nice 40-yard gain by Will Daniels on a reverse. Tom Lempereur made the PAT to give Bethel a 7-6 lead and then Jared Piatnik gave the hosts the lead at the break, engineering a nice drive in the final minute and hooking up with Cal Daniels for an 11-yard TD pass with just 3.5 seconds to play in the first half.
Brookfield 22, Bethel 21
Brookfield 6 0 9 7 22
Bethel 7 6 0 8 21
Br Bobby Drysdale 7-yard run (kick failed)
Be Joey Piatnik 3-yard run (Tom Lempereur kick)
Be Jared Piatnik 11-yard pass to Cal Daniels (kick failed)
Br Austin Reich 20-yard run (run failed)
Br Dane Borges 24-yard field goal
Be Jarrod Willsey 4-yard run (Joey Piatnik pass to Calvin Daniels)
Br Drysdale 4-yard run (Borges kick)