STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTOS BY DEB SCALLY PHOTOGRAPHY
All week long, Brentwood’s proud football squad insisted they had long ago moved past the memory of their epic win over crosstown rival Ravenwood and that they wouldn’t get caught up in Homecoming Night.
Following a lengthy opening drive by visiting Christ Presbyterian Academy, all the Bruins had to do was actually go out there and prove it.
They ultimately did just that, edging the Lions 21-14 in non-conference game Friday evening at James C. Parker Stadium on Brentwood High School’s campus.
Cade Granzow was a menace in the air (19-24, 147 yards) and especially on the ground, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on the night. The junior quarterback’s all-purpose performance anchored a balanced Bruins offensive attach which amassed 318 yards of total offense.
“Tonight’s game played out exactly the way (high school football) should be played,” Brentwood head coach Ron Crawford told Home Page. “Talk about game plan and execution, they kept possessions down to a handful, kept knocking out first downs. Other than their one kickoff, they had one score and we made them earn it on their opening drive.”
The Lions have thus far endured a rebuilding season on the heels of winning the Division II-AA championship one season ago. Still, they came into the night with a deceptive 1-4 record, picking up their first win one week ago in a 28-0 shutout of Battle Ground Academy which began with a 10+ minute opening drive.
It was déjà vu for CPA, who began Friday’s game with a 16-play, 80 yard opening scoring drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown by Andrew Whitely (11 carries, 25 yards, 1TD). The Lions went a perfect 5/5 on 3rd down conversions while eating up 8:42 of game clock to take an early 6-0 lead.
“We’ve been planning it all year,” quipped CPA head coach Ingle Martin. “Seriously, it’s nice when the plan comes together and you can execute like that.”
It’s even nice for the home team when they can immediately respond. Brentwood did just that, bridging a 14-play, 76-yard drive across two quarters, which began and ended with key runs by Granzow including a one-yard sneak up the middle to give the Bruins a 7-6 lead.
Even more crucial than the early score was the ensuing defensive stand. CPA’s drive ended with quarterback Cade Law (7/10, 72 yards) sacked by junior defensive standout John Howse IV for an 8-yard loss on their first failed 3rd down conversion of the night.
“Man, the energy level just shot up after that,” Howse admitted. “We let them keep us on the field too long in the 1st quarter and we couldn’t give them another long drive. I saw the opening on that 3rd down play and was able to get to (Law) to slow down their progress.”
The Lions had one last shot at putting points on the board in the first half after blocking and recovering a 46-yard field goal attempt by Thomas Day, who nailed four field goals just one week ago. The final drive of the half introduced the second of CPA’s two-headed quarterback monster as Zee Thompson (9/13, 53 yards), who provided microwave-like energy only for a 52-yard field goal attempt by Mac Seibert to fall well short.
Brentwood came storming out in the second half, going 84 yards on 12 plays with Scott Collins (71 all-purpose yards) punching it in from 10 yards to give the Bruins a 14-6 lead. The impressive six-minute drive was eclipsed just one play later, when Tyler Reid raced to the house on a 99-yard kickoff return.
“The one thing that was going through my mind was not letting the ball cross the goal line when I caught it.” Reid noted, citing TSSAA regulations that call for an automatic touchback if any part of the ball reaches the end zone on a kickoff. “Once I had it, I just followed the pack to the middle of the field, saw an opening towards the sidelines and took off.”
Nobody was able to lay a hand on the junior, who played nearly every down on offense, defense and special teams. The runback was a significant part of Reid’s 139 all-purpose yards, with an ensuing two-point conversion from Law to Maverick Rodriguez (5 receptions, 28 yards) providing a 14-14 tie with nearly 18:00 of football to go.
The Lions best shot at an upset came on their very next defensive stance. Brentwood has committed just one turnover in the past eight quarters of football, the one such occurrence coming at the worst time.
What would’ve been a first down run by Granzow instead became a near-costly fumble as he coughed up the ball at midfield. Sophomore linebacker Colin Stewart was responsible for the hit, the fumble and the recovery to give CPA the ball back at its own 48 yard line. The Bruins’ defensive line came up huge, stuffing Whitely on 3rd and 4 to force the first of three consecutive punts between the two teams.
Eventually, Brentwood’s stud offensive star would take matters into his own hands. Granzow engineered a 75-yard game-winning drive late in the 4th quarter, beginning with a 15-yard run with less than 8:00 to go in the ball game.
A game-saving play came on the one penalty committed by CPA on the night, when a wide-open Walker Merrill (7 receptions, 53 yards) was able to draw contact from junior defensive back Cade Reynolds.
It was a smart penalty, as it merely put Brentwood across midfield as opposed to Merrill hauling an almost certain touchdown reception. The Bruins ultimately cashed it in, with back-to-back 1st down runs by Granzow and Luke Walters (8 carries, 57 yards) leading to 1st-and-goal at the 1 yard line.
A second-effort push by Granzow resulted in his second touchdown of the night and a 21-14 lead for Brentwood which would stick.
“That’s a special kid right there,” Martin admitted of the Bruins quarterback. “Cade Granzow is going to do special things for this community for the next two years and then whenever someone offers him a scholarship, will go on to be an incredible college quarterback.”
For now, the Bruins field general will settle for a few more wins in 2019—some easier than has been the case the past two weeks.
“Our run game was good, but I feel like I need to do a better job of executing on passes,” suggested Granzow. “I feel like we did a good job tonight but we have a lot of work to do.”
Brentwood (5-1) remains atop the Region 6-A and will hit the road for the next two games. A mid-October bye week is bookended by road trips to Independence (5-1) and Franklin (2-4).
CPA (1-5) returns home and to conference play, as they host Lipscomb Academy (4-1) next Friday.