BROOKLAND — Eric Munoz’s first game as Brookland’s head coach yielded another first for Bearcat football.
Sophomore running back Joseph Wright scored all four of his touchdowns in the second half as Brookland rallied to defeat Gosnell 36-32 at Jordan’s Stadium. The Bearcats had never beaten the Pirates before Friday night, dropping eight previous meetings dating to their first varsity season in 2012.
Brookland outscored Gosnell 22-8 in the final period after trailing by 10 points to end the third quarter.
“I think it was big being my first game here as head coach, getting these kids to understand what it’s like to win a big game and try to build that culture of winning here at Brookland,” Munoz said Saturday. “I’m super proud of the kids for fighting for four quarters because the first half didn’t go quite as planned and we made some halftime adjustments. The kids never backed down, they never put their heads down or wavered.”
Down 16-6 at halftime and 24-14 after the third quarter, the Bearcats clawed back as Wright scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Wright finished with 124 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. His touchdown runs covered 6, 6, 1 and 10 yards.
On the 10-yard touchdown run, Wright eluded two defenders in the backfield after taking a direct snap. He spun after bouncing off a defender at the 14, put his hand on the ground to keep his balance and sprinted to the end zone, running through a tackle at the goal line.
“He made a heck of a run. He bounced off and kept his feet, put his hand on the ground to keep his balance,” Wright said. “I saw some guys downfield blocking for him. Great individual effort and I like to see how everybody else was helping block, too. Heck of a play and he did a really good job for us.”
While Wright had a few carries in the first half, Munoz said giving the sophomore more attempts in the second half was one of Brookland’s adjustments.
“We needed to make some adjustments at halftime based on what they were doing,” Munoz said. “We did that and I felt like Joseph was where we needed to go a little bit more in the second half. We did some different things we hadn’t done in the first half and it ended up working out in our favor.”
Senior quarterback Cole Doke was 17-of-25 passing for 192 yards and a touchdown. Doke found classmate Walker Harrell on a 30-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for a 6-0 lead.
Harrell finished with two receptions for 67 yards and junior David York caught five passes for 51 yards.
Wright’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns gave Brookland a 36-24 lead. Gosnell scored to pull within four points, but JD Davis recovered a fumble to stop another Pirate possession and the Bearcats ran out the clock.
“I was proud of our defense,” Munoz said. “We had a lot of kids playing both ways and we had a lot of cramps. Hats off to our kids for how hard they fought. The defense flew to the ball.”
Brookland will play at home again next week against Westside. Gosnell will host Valley View.