Brookstone got just the medicine it needed at home on Friday night, finding a running game that was absent in last week's tough loss to Dooly County and taking a big 41-14 win over arch-rival Pacelli. With the win, Brookstone retains the Broccelli Jug for the eighth straight year. The Cougars snapped a two-game losing streak in the process.
The loss is the first of the season for the resurgent Vikings after struggling in 2011.
"I am blessed to have a team that can do whatever we need to do in a game plan to have a chance to win," said Brookstone head coach Brad Dehem. "They work hard and they adapt. We had a totally different approach this week, and our kids executed it and made it work."
Brookstone got things started opening drive of the game. Starting at its own 40 after a pooch kick, Madison McCluskey carried the ball on seven of 10 plays in the drive. He gained 54 of the team's 60 yards, covering the final three yards for the score with 7:54 to play in the period. Miller Page's point-after kick was wide and the Cougars led 6-0.
Pacelli moved the ball quickly in its first possession, but quarterback Wyatt Peterson was stripped of the ball on first down at the Brookstone 39 and the Cougars recovered.
Brookstone and McCluskey struck quickly. The senior back popped through a hole on the right side and raced 65 yards for the touchdown. Page's kick made it 13-0 with 2:30 left in the period.
The Vikings answered quickly. Starting at his own 32, Peterson engineered a five-play scoring drive to cover the 68 yards. The drive was aided by a pair of Brookstone penalties, but Peterson's perfectly executed option pitch to Luke Dawahare set the sophomore off on a 41-yard jaunt for a touchdown. Nathan Schlies added the point-after to make it 13-7 with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.
Brookstone was not to be outdone. The Cougars took the kickoff and mounted a nine-play drive to extend their lead. NateWilkey got the call from his fullback position to cover the final 13 yards for the score. Page's PAT made it 20-7 with 9:09 left in the half.
A Malik Marble fumble on the fourth play after the kickoff proved costly to the Vikings again. Brookstone's Jordan Waddell pounced on the loose ball and one play later his Cougars were in the end zone again. McCluskey received a shovel pass from Duncan Fletcher and broke free for a 58-yard catch-and-run for the touchdown. Page's kick made it 27-7 at the 7:13 mark of the second quarter.
"They run their offense so well and it is so hard to defend. We were hoping to get a turnover or two to help us stop them and were fortunate enough to get those two in the first half and score quickly off of them," said Dehem.
Another turnover, this one on the opening kick of the second half, set up another Cougar score. Jack Raines recovered the short pooch-style kick after Pacelli failed to field the ball. It took seven plays for Brookstone to add to its lead with McCluskey doing the honors again, this time from five yards out. The kick made it 34-7 with less than four minutes gone in the half.
Brookstone would add another score on a Fletcher to McCluskey screen pass for 17 yards with 2:53 left in the third.
Pacelli finally got into the endzone again with 37 seconds left in the game as Peterson found Brian Foster for a 31-yard scoring pass.
McCluskey was the story for the Cougars as he rushed for 182 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. He added two more scores and 75 yards receiving on two catches.
Friday at Rex Knight Field
Pacelli 7 0 0 7--14
Brookstone 13 14 14 0--41
B - Madison McCluskey 3 yd. run (kick failed), 7:54
B - Madison McCluskey 65 yd. run (Miller Page kick), 2:30
P - Luke Dawahare 41 yd. run (Nathan Schlies kick), 0:37
B - Nate Wilkey 13 yd. run (Page kick), 9:09
B - Madison McCluskey 58 yd. pass from Duncan Fletcher (Page kick), 2:30
B - Madison McCluskey 5 yd. run (Page kick), 8:09
B - Madison McCluskey 17 yd. pass from Duncan Fletcher (Page kick), 2:53
P - Brian Foster 31 yd pass from Wyatt Peterson (Schlies kick), 0:37
Records: Pacelli 4-1, 1-1 Region 4-A; Brookstone 3-2, 1-1. Next: Pacelli home vs. Marion County, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Brookstone at Hawkinsville, Friday, 7:30 p.m.