Pacelli coach Randy Grace gave the recipe to his team's 14-7 upset of Brookstone after the game.
Run the option, he said. Run it again. Then run it again, and run it until it works.
It certainly worked in the second half of the game, as Pacelli went from a 7-0 deficit at halftime, to winning the game with an impressive 17-play, nine-minute drive to open the fourth quarter.
There were so many things to take away from this game that I couldn't fit them all in my game story. I wrote 775 words, which was probably more than the space editors had carved out in the section for me, but still there is more to be told.
I'll go over a couple of key points that I wanted to highlight from the game.
That Pacelli defense
I gave them a couple of paragraphs in the story. Really, the unit deserved a story of its own.
The Vikings defense was nothing short of brilliant the entire game, but particularly in the second half. After allowing a touchdown on Brookstone's first possession of the game, Pacelli was lights out.
Here's a quick look at some of the highlights:
The Pacelli offense had marched into Brookstone territory in the second quarter, but the drive ended abruptly when quarterback Wyatt Peterson threw an interception. With the Vikings trailing 7-0, this looked like one of those moments in the past where Brookstone would capitalize on the turnover and turn the game into a romp. That's what the old Vikings would have allowed to happen.
Instead, Pacelli forced Brookstone into a three-and-out. It gained only 5 yards before being forced to punt the ball back to the Vikings. Pacelli then turned the ball over again on the next possession, this time a fumble that Peterson said was caused by Brookstone lining up in a 3-4, confusing the option and quickly getting into the backfield to disrupt the handoff.
Again the Vikings D came up big.
Brookstone got one first down, converting a fourth-and-2 from its own 45 on a 24-yard pass to the Vikings 31. On the very next play, though, Pacelli picked off a pass to hold the lead at 7-0 going into the half.
Coming out of the break, it looked again like Brookstone would be the team with the halftime adjustments. It marched the ball all the way to the Pacelli 13-yard line, but faced a fourth-and-short. Pacelli stopped Brookstone for no gain on the play and took over possession. The offense wouldn't score on the drive, but two later to tie the game at 7-7.
Finally, the defense came up with the biggest stop of the game.
With just over three minutes left and eight years of history riding on its back, the unit forced a turnover on downs to seal the team's first victory over Brookstone in eight seasons.
Wyatt Peterson: Gamer
Alright, we won't go too crazy about this because it happened in the final drive, while the team was trying to get one first down and milk time off the clock. Still, it's worth mentioning.
Peterson confirmed what all media, parents and fans thought they saw once Pacelli had regained possession at the end of the game. Likely suffering from a combination of emotion, physical wear and tear and maybe a little dehydration, Peterson got sick in the huddle--four times if you really want the graphic details--and had to leave the game.
He had put the offense on his back, carrying 19 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive 47-yarder to tie the game, but it appeared he would be on the sidelines during the victory formation.
After a penalty, Peterson ran back onto the field to take the final snap of the game and kneel to the ground.
It was only appropriate that he should have the ball at the end.
A little payback?
Now, I can't confirm this with anyone outside of the Pacelli locker room, so this is a little hearsay. But, quarterback Peterson told me of a little bulletin board material--if we can call it that--sent Pacelli's way by some Brookstone fans (or players...we don't know.)
Peterson said Vikings coach Randy Grace received a bouquet of flowers this week from a secret admirer with the message "RIP Vikings" attached. The flowers sat in Pacelli's locker room all week, he said, as motivation.
He also said he heard taunts coming from the other sideline about poor field conditions, a scoreboard that wouldn't operate properly and a number of other things.
"At the end of the day, it didn't matter where we played this game," Peterson said. "We could have played anywhere."
To be fair, I heard some banter coming from some guys in red on the sidelines, as well. I don't think we can take anything more away from any of that than what it is, which is some good smack talk during a great rivalry week. I wouldn't expect any less from either team.
Pacelli clearly took it as motivation, though, and it seemed to pay off this year.
Don't get too down on Brookstone
The team is 2-3 and 0-2 in the region.
This is sort of uncharted territory for the Cougars. They haven't lost three of their first five games since 2003, a season in which they finished 4-7.
With that said, this is a good football team. I expect it to contend for a playoff spot, though it certainly has a long road ahead. Losing to Pacelli may seem like a black mark because of the recent history between the teams, but Pacelli is a good football team. Brookstone can't hang its heads too far about it, as bad as it hurts to lose to a rival.
The three teams Brookstone has lost to has a combined record of 12-3. It hasn't been an easy road.
The good news is the Cougars are well-coached, they have a lot of talent and they have a great history. They will right the ship sooner rather than later.
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