Brookfield making its 2013 mark

BROOKFIELD — Drive down Addison Road off of state Route 82 for about a mile and look off to your right. Nestled in the Brookfield-area neighborhood, hugging the Pennsylvania border, is a quaint football stadium – similar to those you’d see in the towns along the Ohio River.

The home field of the Brookfield Warriors isn’t imposing, just the team that resides in its confines.

But you might ask yourself are we talking about this year’s team? Didn’t this Warriors team lose more lettermen than returners? At face value, it might seem that way.

Friday, the 2013 Brookfield team proved it wasn’t in rebuilding mode as it rallied from a 20-6 fourth-quarter deficit with 24 points in a 30-27 victory over Springfield with a 36-yard Kasey Tingler field goal as the game winner – a field-goal that cleared the crossbar by at least 10 yards by the sophomore kicker.

“The thing is these kids haven’t got any credit for anything they’ve done,” Brookfield coach Randy Clark said. “Last year’s senior class is getting more ink than these guys are. And, it grows on them. As coaches, we’re not allowed to mention anything at all about last year. They want to be remembered as the 2013 team.

“Don’t forget, these guys played scout team against those guys last year. They got some work in practice and they got their butts kicked in practice.”

OK, Clark can’t mention last year’s team, but that won’t stop me.

The 2012 Warriors ran roughshod through last year’s regular-season schedule, going 10-0. Brookfield won by an average of 34.6 points in those 10 games. Then, they steamrolled Edgewood and Manchester in the first two rounds of the playoffs, setting up a Division IV regional final matchup with 2011 state champion Norwayne, who pummeled Liberty in a 2012 regional semifinal matchup.

Quarterback Jeremy Quinlan, linebacker Jimmy Quinlan, lineman Gary Hiner and running back Ryan Mosora were some of the standout players on the 2012 team.

This year, it’s sophomore quarterback Augustus Necastro, senior running back Joey Clark, junior halfback Nate Morrison and receivers R.J. Leon (senior) and Jamar Tarver (senior), who were the big offensive contributors in Friday’s win.

Speaking of Friday’s victory, the Warriors claimed their 15th-straight regular-season win – dating back to an Oct. 7, 2011, triumph at Edgewood 21-14.

Incidentally, the last time the Warriors lost in the regular season was Sept. 30, 2011, when Niles McKinley hosted Brookfield in that horrific, mud-infested field at Bo Rein Stadium – winning 13-9. Thankfully, Niles has field turf and those dirty nightmares are a thing of the past.

This year’s 2013 Brookfield team is still learning. It has the propensity to do great things this season, even though it is led by a sophomore quarterback – a sophomore quarterback who carries a 4.0 GPA and plays well above his years.

The timing with his receivers was a bit off during the first half, but it improved dramatically during the second half – especially during the fourth quarter.

He made multiple connections with Leon and Morrison in the fourth. Morrison and Clark rumbled through the Springfield offense on numerous drives.

But skeptics might say, didn’t Springfield junior starting quarterback Hunter Snyder leave at halftime with severe dehydration – one of many heat casualties that resulted in all-out exhaustion or cramps? Snyder amassed around 200 yards throwing and rushing, leading the Tigers to a 20-0 lead before Necastro and Tarver connected on a 16-yard touchdown strike at the end of the first half.

Sure, Springfield’s offense might have not been the same during the second half, but sophomore Graham Mincher proved quite capable to move the Tigers offense.

But, Springfield’s defense couldn’t contain Brookfield’s surge in the fourth quarter. It’s the sign of a growing Warriors team. They might not be the dominant force that was the 2012 team, but they are making a mark of their own – starting with a Week 1 victory over a seasoned Tigers team.

“We’re going to get better,” Clark said. “All those people who think we lost everybody, that’s a pretty good team right there. They have a lot of returning kids and, in the second half, we did what we’re supposed to do.”