BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Brunswick starting defense is usually on the bench in the fourth quarter. In Friday night’s Class B North regional final against Brewer, the Dragons were on the field defending for their lives.
After a massive fourth-down stop on their own 4-yard line, the visiting Witches were down just two points and had a chance to pull the upset.
Senior Ray Wood led the offense down the field in hurry-up mode, eventually facing a 4th-and-8 on the 43-yard line. Quarterback Cody Wood completed a pass to Tyler Hafford on the sideline and a spike gave the Witches one final heave to toward the end zone.
It was batted down and Brunswick escaped with its third straight regional final, winning 14-12.
“We played pretty well,” Brewer coach Nick Arthers said. “A couple mistakes down in the red zone. A couple of turnovers hurt us here and there. Overall, very proud of my guys and they put forth a heck of an effort. Not many people have had a chance to come down here and do much of anything. We hung with them.”
Second-seeded Brewer (8-2) began the game by handing No. 1 Brunswick (10-0) a couple of firsts.
After receiving the ball on the opening possession, the Dragons were stuffed on three consecutive running plays and forced into their first punt of the season. Then, after recovering a fumble and taking over inside their own 10, the Dragons turned the ball over on downs and gave Brewer the ball.
Wood punched in a quick touchdown and handed Brunswick its first deficit of the year.
“We noticed the last time we played them that their team speed was tremendous,” Arthers said. “They showed it tonight on occasion with Hunter (Garrett) running to the outside. What we were really trying to do is force guys into the inside and really keep it within the hashmarks — funnel everything back into where our linebackers were rather than letting them get to the outside. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of that.”
Brewer’s lead lasted all of 20 seconds. On his second carry of the ensuing drive, Garrett broke free up the middle and scored on a 70-yard touchdown to even the score at 6-6.
Garrertt took over in the second half and broke the tie.
A turnover on downs gave Brunswick the ball at the 32-yard line to start the third quarter. Garrett rushed once for 13 yards and then got loose on the outside again, scoring on a 38-yard scoot to put the Dragons up 12-6.
Quarterback Christian Jensen punched in the eventual game-winning, two-point conversion with 7:04 on the clock.
Wood led the way for Brewer, rushing for 193 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries. He got another carry on a two-point try after his second touchdown in the fourth quarter, but was stuffed by Brunswick, leaving the score 14-12.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Arthers said of Wood. “Tremendous kid overall. He showed his heart tonight, ran the ball hard. Brunswick had a couple of big hits on him and he keeps getting up and keeps wanting the ball. It’s going to be hard to replace him. That’s just the type of kid he is.”
Cody Wood finished with the lone completion to Hafford, while Garrett Ireland rushed 13 times for 33 yards.