MILFORD — Two teams with plenty of history on the gridiron met Friday night at DeVito Sports Complex, with Foran holding off former conference foe Brookfield, 21-14, in a non-league thriller.
Lion quarterback Andrew Janik had a hand in all three of Foran’s touchdowns, throwing a pair of long first-half scores to Jack Dawid and another to Ben Geier.
“Our goal every single drive is to move the chains, to stay on schedule… We had to do that in a little quicker manner,” Janik said.
It was enough to fend off former South-West Conference rival Brookfield (0-5), which rallied to nearly tie the game in the fourth quarter despite losing top rusher Tyler Robinson to injury earlier in the contest.
“Brookfield is a very good program and a very good football team,” Foran head coach Tom Drew said. “They’re young and they’ll be a team to watch.”
Bobcat tailback Shawn McGee ripped off a would-be 36-yard touchdown run around the left side inside the 10-minute mark, but it was nullified due to a false start.
“We had kids that hadn’t played yet step up,” Brookfield head coach Bryan Muller said. “We held them scoreless in the second half. Penalty, it’s 21-21… It is what it is.”
A sack by Foran’s Max Queiroz and another Brookfield penalty eventually led to a Brookfield punt with 5:29 left in the game, and the Bobcats did not touch the ball again on offense.
“Third quarter was tough, we had some rough field position and we turned the ball over,” Drew said. “Some mistakes, but our defense… they’re stout and our offense, when we needed it, we were able to burn four-five minutes off the clock.”
Brookfield handily won the time-of-possession battle in the first half, but the Lions’ big-strike ability powered them to a 21-7 halftime edge.
After a nine-play Bobcat drive stalled following an incomplete pass from quarterback Zahir Mclean-Felix, it took Foran just three plays to get on the scoreboard.
Janik hit Dawid in stride for a 35-yard touchdown with 6:09 left, before Brookfield put together an eight-play drive that took 5:39 off the clock.
On fourth-and-4 from the Foran 22, Mclean-Felix was stopped after a gain of 1. Foran countered with an 11-play, 74-yard scoring drive, capped by another Janik to Dawid strike — this time from 30 yards out to make it 14-0.
“Anytime you give up big plays and can’t finish off long drives, that’s just not going to work out well,” Muller said.
A third lengthy Bobcat drive then petered out in Lion territory, resulting in a Brookfield punt. Two plays later, Joseph Bednarik jumped a Lion route, picked off Janik’s pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown with 2:33 remaining in the half.
The Lions responded again, this time with Janik evading the rush on fourth down from the Brookfield 40 and finding a wide-open Geier for a 40-yard score that pushed the Lion edge to 21-7 with 22.3 left in the half.
The turnover bug bit Foran again in the third quarter, as it fumbled away the opening kickoff. Brookfield could not capitalize, but linebacker Dylan Keefe recovered a Lions’ fumble deep in their own territory.
Andrew Manesis then barreled in from 8 yards out with 5:18 left in the third, cutting the Bobcat deficit to 21-14, but neither team found the end zone again.
It was Foran’s third win in four games following a season-opening home defeat to East Haven, but Janik likes the direction the Lions (3-2) are trending in.
“I’m very confident in our team,” he said. “We’re following our culture and we’re all buying in.”