Each one of the Brunswick School football team’s three road games, all of which were far away from its home campus, resulted in victories and the Bruins are aiming to enjoy another winning road trip on Saturday.
Following a road win at Taft School a week ago, the Bruins hope to continue their road warrior mentality against Erickson League foe Salisbury School Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Bruins, who topped Taft, 49-28, in a wild Erickson League matchup, are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in league play. Salisbury, meanwhile, enters the game at 3-1 and 2-1 against Erickson League foes.
“This is our toughest game of the year so far,” Bruins coach Mike Hannigan said. “Salisbury presents enough matchups for us to be concerned. It’s always a great game between us.”
Last season’s matchup between Brunswick and Salisbury was certainly a nailbiter. The Bruins pulled out a 30-29 win at Cosby Field in 2018, with the Crimson Knights missing a 42-yard field goal as time expired.
“It was a wild, wild finish — a great game,” Hannigan said.
Brunswick has held the upperhand in this Erickson League rivalry the past three seasons, going 3-0 against the Crimson Knights. Salisbury’s last win over the Bruins came in 2015. The Bruins hold a 5-2 record against Salisbury since 2012.
However, the Bruins know they’re facing a Salisbury squad that is rolling since their Week 1 loss to Taft (a 22-8 defeat).
“Salisbury is an excellent football team,” Hannigan said. “They are built to run the ball and they have three returning offensive linemen and a couple of postgrads — they are large and in charge up front.”
Brunswick’s defense, which has been stellar behind senior defensive lineman Howard Powell, senior linebacker Clayton Ostrover (nine tackles vs. Taft last week), junior linebacker Colin Mulshine and junior linebacker Nolan Morris (interception last week) to name a few, will contend with a formidable Salisbury running attack.
Fabrice Mukendi paced the Crimson Knight’s ground game in in the squad’s 34-10 win over Hopkins last week, gaining 149 yards. He totaled 118 rushing yards in a 41-6 triumph against Phillips Andover Academy.
“Salisbury is built to run the ball,” Hannigan said. “They also have a super speedy wide receiver and an accurate, smart quarterback.”
Junior Charles Stephens is Salisbury’s quarterback and senior Dymere Miller (113 receiving yards vs. Hopkins) is one of the team’s leading receivers.
“They are always going to be sound offensively,” Hannigan said. “They run the ball and like to control the tempo of the game. Defensively, our focal points are to win on first down and get the offense off schedule. First downs are going to be crucial, we want them in long situations.”
Salisbury’s defense also has plenty to gear up for. Senior Jalen Madison is coming off another outstanding game. Madison amassed 268 rushing yards in the Bruins’ 49-28 triumph over host Taft a week ago.
“Jalen touching the ball 26 times, that kind of says it all,” Hannigan said. “If you can run the ball effectively, that’s going to mean a lot for your team. What that does for us is it loads the box and usually gives us zero man coverage on the outside.”
It also frees up senior quarterback Nick Winegardner to use his running skills to gain yards.
“Nicky, I thought, had his best game of the year last week,” Hannigan said. “He threw the ball well, moved the ball around well and extended a few plays. When a quarterback can run it’s dangerous and he did that last week, which was really nice to see. He gets as much pleasure handing the ball off to Jalen and seeing Jalen run, he’s such a selfless quarterback.”
Saturday marks the Bruins’ fourth road game through six weeks. They return home next week for a Homecoming game against Avon Old Farms School at 3 p.m.