Burton tops 2,000 yards rushing as Priceville defeats Brewer
Priceville and Brewer came into their regular season finale Friday night headed in opposite directions. The Bulldogs will be playing in the playoffs, while Brewer’s season came to an end when the final horn sounded.
The Patriots dominated the game early on, but it was the Bulldogs who came from behind to win 20-16 in the 10th meeting between county rivals.
“I think any time you can beat your rival and a team that is coached the right way, it feels great,” said Priceville coach Chris Foster. “I have a lot of respect for the things that Coach Walters has done at Brewer; I think he runs a program the right way, and it shows in the way his team plays.”
The Patriots jumped out front on their second possession of the game. Johnathan Morgan scored from 10 yards out to cap a 10-play, 67-yard drive to give Brewer a 6-0 lead.
It wouldn’t take the Patriots long to extend their lead. They recovered a Bulldogs’ fumble on the kickoff and converted the turnover into points. Thomas Gipner hit a 32-yard field goal to push the lead to 9-0.
The Bulldogs answered the Brewer score with a seven-play, 60-yard scoring drive. Jerry Burton scored from a yard out to cut the lead to 9-6.
Priceville’s defense would dominate the remainder of the second quarter, holding the Brewer offense to 27 total yards in three possessions.
The Bulldogs’ defense blocked a Brewer punt and then recovered the ball to give the Priceville excellent field position at the Patriots’ 23-yard line.
Burton would score his second touchdown of the game, this time from nine yards out, to give Priceville a 13-9 lead late in the second quarter.
Right before halftime, Priceville’s Jaxon Cross intercepted a Patrick Johnson pass to end a Brewer drive.
Priceville took the second-half kickoff and methodically marched downfield against the Brewer defense. But it was the Patriots’ defense that bowed up and forced the Bulldogs to attempt a 40-yard field goal that came up short.
Brewer retook the lead following a four-play, 80-yard drive when Johnson connected on a 43-yard touchdown pass to Kris Bramlett. Following the extra point, the Patriots led 16-13.
The Patriot defense forced a Priceville turnover on downs deep in Bulldogs territory to get the ball back on the next drive.
But the Bulldog defense once again rose up, forcing Brewer to attempt a 32-yard field goal following a three-and-out. The field goal attempt was blocked by Priceville’s John Looney, who had split two blockers.
Priceville, riding a wave of momentum following the defensive stand, would quickly march downfield for a touchdown and retake the lead. Burton scores his third touchdown of the game from one-yard out.
Peyton Fowler picked up 48 yards on two carries to spark the drive that gave the Bulldogs a 20-16 lead.
Following the Priceville kick that went out of bounds, the Brewer offense had excellent field position at their 47-yard line. The Patriots would quickly move into the red zone in six plays, looking to retake the lead.
The drive would come to an end when Priceville’s Jaxon Graham picked off a Johnson pass intended for Micha Steffen at the five-yard line.
The Bulldogs, after taking over at the eight-yard line, looked like they were going to put the game away as they reeled off an 11-play drive that got them to the Brewer three. Following a holding call on third down, the Bulldogs were forced to attempt a 36-yard field goal but came up empty.
Brewer, needing a touchdown to win, got the ball to the Priceville 20-yard line as time ran out.
“I thought the difference in the game was our defense and special teams,” said Foster. “Our defense held them in check for most of the night and bailed our offense out in the third quarter. Special teams had two timely blocks in the game – one field goal and one punt – which helped to change the momentum of the game in our favor.”
The Bulldogs, as a team, ran for 364 yards, with Burton leading the way with 225 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns. Fowler added 87 yards on seven carries, while Cross finished with 43 yards on nine carries.
Burton finished the regular season with 2,203 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns.
Brewer’s offense was led by Morgan, who finished with 126 yards rushing and a touchdown on 19 carries. Johnson, who missed the previous seven games because injury, finished his career by going 12 of 23 for 101 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Brewer’s season comes to an end with the loss. The Patriots (3-7) lost seven of their final eight games after opening the season 2-0. Their promising start was derailed by injuries that forced Walters into lineup changes for every game.
The Bulldogs (7-3) now turn their attention to the playoffs and a first-round matchup against the Rogers Pirates (3-7) Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.