BRANDON — The biggest upset of last week came courtesy of the Brandon Eagles — and they were even caught off guard themselves.
“Shocked,” “startled” and “surprised” were among the words used by the Eagles to describe their 34-0 shellacking of Newsome.
“Newsome definitely came in flat, honestly,” coach John Lima said. “The just seemed snake-bit. They turned the ball over and would make a big mistake; they just really couldn’t get on track.”
The Eagles gained 383 yards on the ground, the most the Wolves have allowed all season (and remember, they played traditional running powerhouses Tampa Bay Tech and Hillsborough). Of those 383 yards, 149 — and three touchdowns — came courtesy of tailback Cyrus Dooley. The sophomore, who normally lines up as a blocking fullback, was moved to tailback so others ahead of him on the depth chart who also play defense would be fresh in case of a Newsome comeback.
“I just got in and kept getting the ball,” Dooley said, noting the number of handoffs he received surprised him. “After I scored that first touchdown, I just wanted to get more.”
It was the play of its defense, though, that left Brandon (2-3, 1-1) in awe.
“I was shocked by the defense because they put up a goose egg,” said quarterback Alan Knippel. "They just really stepped up.”
The defensive line delivered its best performance of the year, Lima said. The goal coming into last week’s game was to limit Newsome’s jets and sweeps, or plays designed to get its speedy backs from one side of the line of scrimmage to the other then up the sideline for big gains. The strategy worked — starting wingback Clint Carnell gained 68 yards on eight attempts while Royce Easley and Jorge Thompson, Newsome’s wingbacks, were limited to 5 yards on four attempts. Overall, the Wolves gained 174 yards on the ground, well below their season average of 271 yards per game.
Brandon has no time to dwell on past accomplishments, with a nondistrict matchup against Plant (5-0, 1-0) looming Friday. Knippel expects his teammates to be ready.
“I can tell that some of the team, the bigger the opponent, the more fired up they are,” he said. “In the preseason against (Blake), the team wasn’t as fired up as we were against Armwood.”