Dehem credits McCluskey with 'exceptional game'
By MIKE PEACOCK
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
The Brad Dehem era at Brookstone got off to a blazing start Friday night as the Cougars dismantled Columbus High 35-8 in the opener for both teams. The Cougars took a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looked back in cruising to Dehem's first win since taking the helm of the Brookstone program last spring.
"I couldn't be prouder of the boys," said Dehem. "It was hot and muggy out here and both teams were feeling it. We really stuck with the plan, but we had a lot of little things that we didn't do that well, and I was disappointed in the amount of turnovers, and we made some mistakes, but all in all it was a great win.
"Our running game exceeded my expectations and the guys up front just grinded away and made some big holes for our runners. Madison McCluskey had an ex
ceptional game and that was a result of the work up front," he added.
After forcing a three-and-out by Columbus on its first possession, Brookstone gave the ball right back to the Devils as Drew Lingo fumbled the Will Screws punt, giving CHS great field position at the Cougar 44.
Three plays netted -12 yards, the big play coming as Miller Page sacked quarterback Derrick James for a 12-yard loss.
After a Screws punt, Brookstone was in business at its own 26. Six plays later the Cougars found the endzone. McCluskey capped the 74-yard drive with a 22 yard scamper.
The senior running back accounted for 52 yards on the ground during the drive. Page added the point-after for a 7-0 lead.
Later in the first, McCluskey picked up his second score, topping off a three-play drive that began at the Columbus 20 after a turnover.
The eight-yard run and Page's kick gave the Cougars a 14-0 lead. They would add a third score at the 5:55 mark of the second quarter on a 21-yard pass from Duncan Fletcher to Mark McVay.
Page's kick gave Brookstone a commanding 21-0 lead at the half.
McCluskey racked up 104 yards on the ground in the first half and ended the game with 111 yards on just 11 carries. "We knew we had to come out strong and send a message and it was big for us to get off to a good start.
Our offensive line did a great job of opening holes and that opened up the play action for us," said McCluskey.
Friday at Rex Knight Field
Columbus 0 0 0 8--8
Brookstone 14 7 7 7--35
B - Madison McCluskey 22 run (Miller Page kick), 6:22
B - M. McCluskey 8 run (Page kick) 3:20
B - Duncan Fletcher to Mark McVay 25 pass (Page kick) 5:55
B - Fletcher 10 run (Page kick) 2:44
B - Fletcher to Drew Wingo 36 pass (Page kick) 11:24
C - Essang Bassey 76 run (Mapel pass from Alexander) 0:26
Records: Columbus 0-1, Brookstone 1-0. Next: Columbus vs. Hardaway (at Kinnett), 7:30 p.m. Friday; Brookstone home vs. Mt. Paran, 7:30 p.m. Friday