By Robert Haddocks
Entering the season, Jesse Brown expected to be a role player for Brookwood, a backup running back and maybe play some defense. Inserted as the starting running back after his brother, Josh, tore his ACL in the first game, Brown has become the workhorse for the Broncos, leading their late push for the playoffs.
Brown rushed for 264 yards on 38 carries with three touchdowns to lead the Broncos to a 23-14 win over Central Gwinnett. Brookwood improves to 5-2, 3-2 in Region 8-AAAAAA. Brookwood led by a 3-0 margin at halftime, but on the Broncos’ opening drive Brown ran for 80 yards in four plays, including a 37-yard touchdown. His second touchdown, a 4-yard run, pushed Brookwood’s lead to 16-0 late in the third period.
“Tonight was his breakout game,” Brookwood coach Mark Crews said of Brown. “He’s hitting holes that he had been missing. I think the offensive line did a good job, as good as they’ve done all year. In the second half we came out and just blew right down the field. We did a good job of running the football and if we do that, we’ve got a good chance to win.”
A 9-yard run by Central’s Nigel Adams cut the lead to 16-6, but Brookwood answered with a five-play drive, all rushes by Brown, who ran off left tackle for a 17-yard touchdown. “The O-line was great,” Brown said. “Every single play they fired out and drove them back and I just went off of that.”
Brookwood, which has won consecutive games for the first time this season, is looking to make a playoff push. If the Broncos can win out, they could end up with the second seed, Crews said. “We’ve got three more to play so we need to do our best to win out,” Crews said. “If we keep winning, we control what we do. We take care of our business, we’ll be in.”
The only points of the first half came on a 27-yard field goal by Brookwood’s Brandon Morrow. Central missed an opportunity to put points on the board late in the second period. The Black Knights ran three plays inside the Brookwood five-yard line, but a fourth down pass was incomplete. Chris Shelling had 12 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown to lead Central, which drops to 2-5, 2-3.
Brookwood – 3 – 0 – 13 – 7 – 23
Central – 0 – 0 – 0 – 14 – 14
B – Brandon Morrow 27 FG
B – Jesse Brown 37 run (kick failed)
B – Brown 4 run (Morrow kick)
CG – Nigel Adams 4 run (pass failed)
B – Brown 17 run (Morrow kick)
CG – Chris Shelling 10 pass from Eric Forrest (Nigel Adams run)