BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick football team survived 28-26 Friday against Shaker Heights in a Greater Cleveland Conference game that featured some tough inside running by quarterback Cole Zamiska and running back Ethan Flanigan.
“We expected them to be a tough team,” Blue Devils coach Mark Pinzone said. “We weren’t surprised at how good they were. It was a great game, and it was a win.”
A couple of blocked extra points by the Blue Devils (2-1, 1-0) and an errant pass on a two-point conversion attempt by Shaker’s Jamir Dismukes contributed to the loss for the Red Raiders (2-1, 0-1). Seth Clark and Dakota Lavinder blocked the PATs.
With the score knotted at 14 at halftime, Brunswick rallied from a lackluster second quarter, as Shaker went three-and-out and the Blue Devils running game re-asserted itself.
Flanigan carried on five of eight plays in a 70-yard drive that put the Blue Devils on top for good. The senior had 62 yards on the march, the final carry a touchdown in which he dragged defenders the last 5 yards.
Flanigan had 75 of his game-high 88 yards in the second half as the Blue Devils rushed for 239 yards overall.
“We just wanted to keep our offense going,” Flanigan said. “It’s tough to lose your leaders, but we just kept pounding.”
Zamiska, starting in place of injured Josh Stacho, put up 78 yards on 20 carries.
“It was unbelievable to play the whole game at quarterback,” Zamiska said. “It was a lot of fun.”
A sack of Dismukes and a false start on the Red Raiders forced another punt. Starting on their own 35, the Blue Devils got 33 yards on the ground, plus a 12-yard pass reception from Flanigan as they went into the end zone with just under two minutes remaining in the third period.
Sophomore kicker Justin Hagler booted the conversion after each Brunswick score.
With momentum favoring the home team, Shaker Heights showed off its best weapon — speed.
Wide receiver and return man Micah Hills took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to put Shaker Heights back in the game. His team trailing by eight after three periods, Hills also showed his speed on Shaker’s last score, catching a 24-yard pass from Dismukes. A two-point try would have tied the score, but Dismukes misfired to his favorite receiver.
Dismukes kept his squad in the game with some aerial fireworks, hitting on 13-of-21 passes for 184 yards. Hills had seven receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns in addition to the kickoff return.
A kick out of bounds gave the Blue Devils the ball on their own 35, but Hills picked off Zamiska. The Brunswick defense blunted the opportunity and forced another turnover on downs, which along with several sacks and numerous Red Raiders penalties sealed the deal.
In the first half, Brunswick took the opening kickoff and moved 81 yards in eight plays, with Zamiska carrying four times on misdirection plays. Harter scored from 27 yards.
The Blue Devils promptly forced a punt and drove 65 yards in 13 plays with Zamiska scoring from 3 yards out.
In the second quarter, Dismukes found Courtney Phillips for a 3-yard TD and Hills for a 58-yard scoring strike. The second touchdown was followed by a Dismukes conversion pass to Hills to tie the score at halftime.
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Shaker Heights 26
BRUNSWICK 14 0 14 0 — 28
SHAKER HEIGHTS 0 14 6 6 — 26
B — Kaden Harter 27 run (Justin Hagler kick) 8:45.
B — Cole Zamiska 3 run (Hagler kick), 3:37.
S — Courtney Phillips 3 pass from Jamir Dismukes (kick blocked), 3:14.
S — Micah Hills 58 pass from Dismukes (Hills pass from Dismukes), 1:07.
B — Ethan Flanigan 14 run (Hagler kick), 7:14.
B — Flanigan 7 run (Hagler kick), 1:55.
S — Hills 97 kickoff return (kick blocked), 1:42.
S — Hills 24 pass from Dismukes (pass failed), 6:48.