GREENWICH — Saturday’s Erickson League football showdown between Brunswick School and Trinity-Pawling School followed a big play pattern, as four touchdowns of more than 40 yards were scored during the game.
Fortunately for the Bruins, three of those four long touchdowns were scored by them.
Senior Jalen Madison ran for touchdowns of 71 and 67 yards, while senior wide receiver Drake Miller caught a 77-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Nick Winegardner for Brunswick in its crucial 20-7 Senior Day win over Trinity-Pawling School at Cosby Field.
With the much-needed victory, Brunswick improved to 6-2 overall, 4-1 in the Erickson League and stayed on pace to earn a berth in a NEPSAC championship bowl.
Madison’s first touchdown run came with 31.7 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. He found a seam and sprinted down the left sideline for a 71-yard score, making it 7-0.
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“The first touchdown run came off an outside zone run, the receiver kicked their guy out get so I could get a hole, I got through cracks and burst out 70 yards,” said Madison, who amassed 215 rushing yards. “Last week against Avon (a loss) we had trouble running the ball, so this week we came out here and got the running game going, we were committed to it all week.”
The Bruins widened their advantage, courtesy of the Winegardner-Miller connection. Off a play-action pass, Winegardner dropped back and delivered a pass down field that settled into Miller’s arms at the Trinity-Pawling 30-yard line. Miller did the rest, outrunning the secondary to the end zone for touchdown. Senior Chris Chavez kicked the extra point and the Bruins held a 14-0 lead at the 2:07 mark of the second quarter.
“One of the best feelings is to go out there with friends and get a touchdown on our last game at our home field,” Winegardner said of the touchdown pass. Trinity always comes out and gives us a good look. It was a huge win for us against a super physical team, but our defense is physical too and they played great.”
The Pride found themselves in a 20-0 hole after Madison reversed his field and broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown run with 11:03 to go in the third quarter, receiving effective blocking along the way.
“This win means so much for us in our last game on our home field,” Madison said. “We needed this win to have a chance for a bowl game too.”
Said Trinity-Pawling coach Nick LaFontaine: “It’s been like that the last few games, where we play decent defense and then we give up the big one now and then. That hurts you and on offense we have to make a couple more plays. We moved the ball, but we still needed to make more plays offensively and put it in the end zone.”
The Pride (3-4) closed to within 20-7 when senior quarterback Kyle Bicho connected with receiver Marquese Ward-Mourning for a 47-yard touchdown with 9:07 left in the third quarter. Yet that was all the scoring the visitors generated against Brunswick’s defense, which sacked Bicho several times.
“We knew their quarterback was going to be a problem, he lowers his shoulders and gets yards on the ground,” Bruins coach Mike Hannigan said. “They do a great job and run enough miss direction plays. But we did a good job of being persistent and disciplined against them.”
Senior linebacker Alexander Clarke intercepted a pass in the first half and senior defensive back picked off a pass from Bicho in the second half for the Bruins, who were also powered defensively by senior lineman Howard Powell, senior linebacker Aengus Rosato, junior linebacker Colin Mulshine and senior linebacker Will Coen.
“Their line did a tremendous job of blocking us up front,” Powell said. “We were a little frustrated early on the with the way we were playing interior line, they were busting some big runs. But credit to our coaches, they helped us tighten up and finish the second half strong.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Madison was a force throughout, gaining tough yards between the tackles, then breaking two huge runs for touchdowns.
HONORING THE SENIORS
The Bruins honored their 20 seniors before and after the game, including captains Winegarnder, Kevonne Wilder and Rosato.
“Today was a great way to honor our 20 seniors,” Hannigan said. “All the underclassmen played hard and played like they wanted to honor those seniors for the last time on Cosby Field. Our captains have been amazing, each one fills in a specific role. They help keep the energy up and the team loose.”
Powell registered a sack and several tackles, resulting in lost yardage for the Bruins. … Rosato, showed his leadership, fighting through a shoulder that wasn’t 100 percent to make numerous tackles for the victors … In the first quarter, Trinity-Pawling defensive lineman Jeff Miller had a strip sack on Winegardner, scooped up the fumble and ran all the way to the Bruins’ 15-yard line. Brunswick senior tight end Rocco DiChiara saves a touchdown though, hustling to tackle Miller at the 15-yard line. … Madison now has 1,056 rushing yards on the season.
YOUNG OFFENSIVE LINE STEPS UP FOR BRUINS
With a couple of injuries on its offensive line, Brunswick played three sophomores on the line at one point of the game.
“George Hill (a junior) and Howard Powell solidified that young group of guys,” Hannigan said. “They really leaned on George and Howard.”
The sophomores on the offensive line Saturday included Miles Walker, Cliff Belknap and Darryl Warren.
BRUNSWICK 20, TRINITY-PAWLING 7
TRINITY-PAWLING 0 0 7 0 – 7
BRUNSWICK 7 7 6 0 – 20
B – Jalen Madison 71 run (Chris Chavez kick)
B – Drake Miller 77 pass from Nick Winegardner (Chris Chavez kick)
B – Madison 67 run (kick failed)
TP – Marquese Ward-Mourning 47 pass from Kyle Bicho (Stuart Phillips kick)