BREWER – At halftime of Friday night’s PTC Class A football matchup at Doyle Field, Mt. Blue coach Gary Parlin made it clear to the Cougars they weren’t performing up to expectations.
Their poor blocking, in particular, Parlin told his squad, had helped Brewer tie the game in the second quarter.
But the Cougars found their groove and converted two second-half Brewer turnovers into touchdowns en route to a 21-7 victory over the Witches.
“[Parlin] yelled at us a lot. We weren’t doing anything right,” said Mt. Blue senior quarterback Joe Gilbert, who threw for three touchdowns. “But we came back and ran everything better in the second half, and we were able to make some big plays.”
Gilbert, who was the victim of what he felt was a blocking breakdown in the second quarter that led to Brewer’s only touchdown, threw for 174 yards – 100 of them to receiver Bobby Duley, who caught two 35-yard passes for touchdowns.
The Witches (0-3) struggled to match up speed-wise with Mt. Blue.
“They’ve got some pretty good receivers and they have a history of throwing the ball well,” Brewer coach Don Farnham said. “We knew that going in and right now our program doesn’t have the people who can simulate that in practice. It’s hard on our guys to turn and run when they haven’t seen anybody do that.”
Gilbert didn’t throw a pass in the first quarter, during which the Cougars (1-2) played mostly out of a double-wing formation, but the first play of the second quarter went for a 10-yard reception.
After a Brewer penalty, Duley caught his first 35-yard TD reception as the Cougars took the lead.
“That’s why we run the double-wing, to try to draw them off,” Gilbert said.
The Witches struggled with turnovers, fumbling five times with three lost and giving up two interceptions.
The Cougars were able to convert Brewer’s first fumble of the second half, which was recovered by D.J. Wilbur. Three plays later, including a 32-yard scamper by Wilbur, Gilbert connected with Duley for the second time.
Brewer was at Mt. Blue’s 33-yard line and on a mini-roll at the time as Witches quarterback Coby Hutchins had completed two passes in a row when Wilbur recovered the fumble. That was as deep into Cougar territory as Brewer got all game.
The Witches got the ball back, but two plays later fumbled again. This time, it was Duley who recovered at the Brewer 22-yard line to set up Gilbert’s 14-yard TD pass to Justin Brooks.
Brewer was able to take advantage of a huge Mt. Blue miscue in the second quarter, however.
After the Witches forced a Mt. Blue three-and-out, Gilbert drilled a 59-yard punt. But the play was nullified when the Cougars were whistled for an illegal motion penalty.
On the rekick, Brewer’s Nolan Reed blocked the punt and it was scooped up by Tyler Cousens, who went 17 yards for the Witches’ only score.
“After the penalty we had them back deep and we saw some tendencies on film that there was a chance we could block it,” Farnham said. “We said, let’s go with it, and that’s what we did.”
Gilbert was frustrated with the blocking he got up front.
“It was supposed to be man-to-man and it didn’t happen,” he said.
Tyler Kingsbury paced the Witches with 44 yards on 14 carries and Hutchins, who suffered an injury to his nonthrowing (left) arm last week but started Friday, rushed for 37 yards on six tries.
Farnham said he has seen improvements each week despite Brewer’s record.
“The thing that stinks is that we haven’t gotten a win, and the kids need a win just for all their hard work,” he said. “It’s just gonna [take] time. The plays will go our way and the referees will keep the flags in their pockets. We’ve got to keep trying harder.”
COUGARS 21, WITCHES 7
Mt. Blue (1-2) 0 7 14 0 – 21
Brewer (0-3) 0 7 0 0 – 7
MB-Duley 35 pass from Gilbert (Gilbert kick)
B-Cousens 17 blocked punt return (Fitzpatrick kick)
MB-Duley 35 pass from Gilbert (Gilbert rush)
MB-Brooks 14 pass from Gilbert (rush failed)
Mt. Blue Brewer
First downs 11 7
Rushing att.-yards 40-120 26-118
Passing comp.-att. 13-18 4-12
Passing yards 174 28
Total yards 294 146
Punts-avg. 3-21.3 5-33.2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 5-3
Intercepted by 2 2
Penalties-yards 10-70 10-82
Mt. Blue: Wilbur 5-44, Gilbert 15-37, Rowe 17-35, Reynolds 2-3, Kane 1-1; Brewer: Kingsbury 14-47, Hutchins 6-37, Risser 2-20, Murphy 3-12, Williamson 1-2
Mt. Blue: Gilbert 13-18-2-174; Brewer: Hutchins 4-12-2-28
Mt. Blue: Duley 6-100, Brooks 5-49, Rowe-1-10, Altmaier 1-15; Brewer: Smith 2-18, Briggs 1-7, Murphy 1-3