TWINSBURG - How easy it would have been for the Brookfield Warriors to look ahead to next week's showdown with the Creston Norwayne Bobcats.
Every day the Warriors are reminded of last season's 35-point loss to the Bobcats in a Division IV, Region 13 first-round game by a sign in the weight room that shows the 42-7 score. A day probably hasn't gone by that Brookfield coach Randy Clark doesn't think about getting revenge.
Somehow the Warriors were able to put those intense feelings aside long enough Friday to dismantle the Manchester Panthers, 55-14, in a second-round playoff game at Twinsburg High School. It was a near flawless performance that saw the Warriors (12-0) score a touchdown on each of their first eight possessions and generate a whopping 506 yards of offense.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Brookfield’s Jeremy Quinlan gives a stiff arm to Manchester’s Jamar Dukes (17) while rushing for yardage during second-quarter action.
"Our kids responded well," Clark said. "We had a great week of practice. We had a nice little game plan going. (Jeremy) Quinlan and (Ryan) Mosora ran the ball hard, and we had good blocking out of the backfield by Joe Clark, and it was an overall team effort."
You might say that Quinlan and Mosora each had a good night of work. The seniors combined for 393 rushing yards and scored seven of the eight touchdowns. Quinlan finished with 244 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Mosora had 148 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Expecting the Panthers (8-4) to concentrate on Mosora, Randy Clark decided to run Quinlan more than usual off misdirection. Quinlan had 175 yards at halftime.
"I had a chip on my shoulder from last week," Quinlan said. "I had three turnovers in the first half (against Ashtabula Edgewood). I came out and did what I had to do."
Quinlan was surprised at the ease in which the Warriors were able to run the ball. They averaged almost 7 yards a carry.
"It was definitely shocking because they keyed on Ryan and I had open holes," said Quinlan, who averaged 9 yards a carry. "I was gaining 15 yards a crack."
The Panthers had hoped to even the playing field by relying on the right arm of senior quarterback Nick Peyakov. Peyakov connected on two long touchdown passes - 90 yards to Chad Robertson and 70 yards to Aaron Hoxworth - but that was about the extent of the offense.
"When you get behind like that it's tough for the offense to click in," Panthers coach Jim France said. "We just got our butts kicked is basically what it is. There's no sense sugarcoating it. They outplayed us. We didn't tackle very well, and we didn't get where we were supposed to be to make the tackle. They ran the same play about 50 times, and we still weren't able to stop them."
The Warriors made a quick statement with a 14-play, 73-yard scoring drive to start the game. Mosora scored on a 1-yard run, and Quinlan made the first of seven point-after kicks.
Mosora scored two more times in the first half on runs of 3 and 6 yards. Quinlan registered touchdowns on runs covering 7 and 14 yards as the Warriors took a 35-7 halftime lead.
Peyakov's touchdown pass to Robertson cut the Warriors' lead to 14-7.
Mosora scored on a 4-yard run and Joe Clark tallied on a 17-yard run in the third quarter for Brookfield. The Warriors' final touchdown covered 9 yards on a run by Mosora early in the fourth quarter.
Peyakov's bomb to Hoxworth concluded the scoring.
It didn't take long after the game for the Warriors to turn their thoughts to Norwayne, the defending Division IV state champion. Norwayne advanced with a 54-7 win over Liberty.
"All I know is I've been thinking about this for 12 months and however long it's been," Randy Clark said. "It's been one of our goals all year. We don't want to look forward, but guess what? The time has come."
Quinlan is right there with his coach.
"We want payback. That's what we want," Quinlan said.