NEW BRITAIN >> Senior Gabe Pompette said Brookfield’s defense was ready for anything Berlin threw at it in the Class M-Large championship game. So when typically run-oriented Berlin came out throwing, the question wasn’t if Brookfield would make the play, but who.
In this case it was Pompette, who returned an interception 41 yards for a Brookfield touchdown on the sixth play from scrimmage. That would be all the scoring Brookfield needed on this evening as its defense bent but hit back — often — in a 14-0 victory over the Redcoats Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
“All week, we practiced trick plays, and one of the plays we worked on was a motion to a wheel (route),” Pompette said. “I knew where that guy was going to be when it happened, so I made a play on the ball. But it could have been any one of us.”
Pompette’s pick was a sign of a defensive show to come, from both sides. But it was Brookfield’s that brought the championship trophy home for the first time since 2008.
“They got after it,” Berlin coach John Capodice said. “They came hard. They did a good job. No. 9 (Bobby Drysdale) is a good player and they pressured our quarterback.”
Brookfield’s junior end Nick Seis (4 sacks) and junior linebacker Bobby Drysdale (3) combined for 19 tackles and seven sacks as the Bobcats made stand after defensive stand to keep Berlin away from the end zone and off the scoreboard.
Overall, the Bobcats forced three turnovers and had nine sacks. Seis had a fumble recovery and Hafeez Yussuf added an interception.
“We’re very happy,” Brookfield coach Rich Angarano said. “Defensively, man, I’ve said it all along and I’ll say it again. We can play defense with anybody in the state of Connecticut. “A great defense is a scoring defense and we score on defense. We scored all year long and today we had a big score by Gabe Pompette on an outstanding interception. That held us for a while.”
Held down for most of the first half, Drysdale finally got moving in the second and finished with 117 yards on 21 carries and scored a 15-yard touchdown with 3:49 remaining to put the game away.
Brookfield was held to just 29 yards in the first half and was outgained 224-157. But Berlin couldn’t run the ball against the Bobcats’ onslaught. Owen Taylor led Berlin with 47 yards rushing on 11 carries. Anthony Sisti was held to 35 yards on eight carries.
“We’re normally good against the run, so I’m not surprised (Berlin tried throwing),” Pompette said.
Yussuf squashed Berlin’s final drive of the first half with an interception. Berlin had a pair of great socring chances in the second half. But Taylor couldn’t hang on to a pass on 4th and goal from the 10 late in the third quarter.
In the fourth, after Berlin quarterback Alex Norton threw a 42-yard pass to Eric Garcia down to the Brookfield 26, Seis dropped Norton for a loss on third down. On 4th and 10 from the 26, Norton threw just wide to Garcia at the goal line.
After that, Brookfield’s defense was pinning its ears back and making the final few minutes miserable for Berlin.
Drysdale’s clinching score was set up by a 22-yard punt return by Pompette.
Norton was 10-for-28 passing and 188 yards for Berlin. Jeremy Eliades and Michael Jukonski had eight tackles apiece. Taylor and Mike Jukonski had interceptions.
Brookfield 14, Berlin 0
|Class M-Large Final||1||2||3||4||F|
BROOK–Gabe Pompette 41 interception return (Dane Borges kick)
BROOK–Bobby Drysdale 15 run (Borges kick)
RUSHING — Brookfield: Bobby Drysdale 21-117, Austin Reich 6-11, Danny Jackson 3-10, John Roscigno 1-0; Berlin: Owen Taylor 11-47, Anthony Sisti 8-35, Eric Garcia 3-12, Jeremy Eliades 1-4, Alec Norton 15-(-39).
PASSING — Brookfield: Roscigno 5-12-2-27; Berlin: Norton 10-28-2-188.
RECEIVING — Brookfield: Brock Boullianne 4-27, Gabe Pompette 1-0; Berlin: Jake Ahlquist 1-56, Garcia 4-50, Sisti 3-45, Mitchell Maslowski 1-29, Matt Kaczynski 1-8.