Brentwood survived a thrilling 24-23 homecoming win over Independence in overtime Friday night at James C. Parker Stadium after overcoming a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Brentwood quarterback Grant Nelson passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns, both of them coming in the fourth quarter, to lead Bruins back from 14 points down to force overtime.
Backup quarterback Adam Fontechia entered for one play in overtime, which turned into a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Bruins the lead. Then, the Brentwood defense stood tall at the goal line to seal the win.
“It sounds like a broken record,” Brentwood head coach Clint Finch said. “We say if we are playing to the best of our ability then we will be OK. And we weren’t playing to the best of our ability. Grant (Nelson) makes a great throw. (Fontechia) comes in and makes a big play. This team kept fighting, and they battle, and they are just a gutsy bunch of kids.”
Independence (3-4) led 17-3 with 10:48 left in the third quarter after quarterback Brooks Sapone found wide receiver Hudson Cobb for a 26-yard touchdown pass in which Cobb broke two tackles on his way to the end zone.
This followed a 57-yard touchdown pass to running back Tre' Hartwell. Sapone finished with 251 yards on an 13-of-20 passing, including three touchdowns.
“We challenged our guys. We didn’t play well last week, and we needed them to play well, and we did. I am proud of our kids,” Independence head coach Scott Stidham said. “We just needed one more play.”
Nelson fired touchdown passes of 10 yards to Clayton Merrill and 17 yards to Matthew Manning, the latter of which tied the game with 2:01 to go.
It was another double-digit receiving night for Manning, who finished with 10 catches for 108 yards, while Merrill had 11 catches for 70 yards.
“I was able to step up in the second half, and we collected ourselves in the second half. This feels amazing,” Nelson said. “We’re playing with heart and playing the best Bruins can play. I told our guys to play with the best ability that we can.”
Independence made its move as they drove to the Bruins’ 8-yard line in the final minute of regulation, but kicker Landric Mayeski missed a 25-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. Mayeski was solid all night, making 2-of-2 extra point kicks and a 24-yard field goal in the first quarter to tie the game, 3-3 after Brentwood kicker Isaac Hayes made a 40-yard field goal to briefly put Brentwood on top.
After Fontechia opened the extra frame with his power run to the end zone, Brentwood (5-2) turned to its defense once more.
Steele Katina caught a touchdown pass from Sapone and then the Eagles decided to go for the win on a two-point conversion.
A strange sequence ensued where Independence appeared to win the game on a run, but holding on the edge was called. Then a pass interference in the end zone on the next play moved it inside the one-yard line. The Bruins then stopped Hartwell just inches from the goal line to end the game.
Brentwood will host Franklin next week, while Independence will host Summit.