Brown celebrated homecoming with 128 yards rushing on 18 carries and three pass receptions for 72 more.
Tyler Wilson had 122 yards rushing in a losing effort for the Bulldogs.
It was a SWBL showdown in which the hometown team gained more yards rushing on their first possession than the Bulldogs were giving up per game (37 ypg). Milton-Union, the defending league co-champion, previously had outscored their opponents 212-44. They had won 23 of their last 26 regular season contests.
If the playoffs would’ve started last week, the Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1) would have had enough computer points to have hosted a division I game.
Worse, Brookville (6-1, 2-1) had only beaten Milton-Union three out of the last twenty-one times they had hosted them. And just last week, the Blue Devils had led undefeated league rivals, the Oakwood Lumberjacks, 14-3 at halftime only to cough up a big play late in the game to lose, 24-21.
“I can’t say enough about our kids,” Blue Devil head coach Mike Hetrick said after the game. “They came out and executed our game plan and did what we wanted to do to a ‘T’. They played with a lot of heart when they could have been down after last week. It was a tough and emotional loss to Oakwood, but I could tell on Saturday morning after the game that they were ready to go back out. I’m just so proud of them. Our seniors and upperclassmen did a phenomenal job, I just can’t say enough about them.”
The final score doesn’t adequately describe a game in which Brookville took complete control in the second half by a score of 42-22. For most of the evening, the Blue Devil offensive line had their way with the Bulldogs.
“When our scouts reported back to us this week they said, ‘Coach, you’ve got to run right at them (Milton-Union). They are quick and they are fast, to neutralize them you have to run right at them.’ That was our game plan coming into the game. We didn’t do much stunting and trapping like we would usually do because we had too much respect for their linebackers. We knew they could make us look bad, but we hung in there hoping to pop a few and that is just what we did.”
This is Hetrick’s seventh year at Brookville after coaching previously at Southeastern.
“Austin (Brown) plays with a lot of determination. I’m not surprised. He’s made big plays all season when we have really needed them and he did it again tonight. For me this game ranks as the best since I have been here. We’ve had a lot of great games in the past. It has been a fine rivalry, and Coach Pearce does such a great job with Milton-Union. He has that program on the right track and it is a testament to our kids and coaches that we were able to beat them tonight.”
The Brookville offensive line–Adam Maxel, Bobby Nemeth, Brandon Dunn, Shaun Stevens, and Patrick Dine’t—were the stars of the game for their work up front against a Bulldog defensive front that had given up virtually nothing all year.
“Their offensive line did a great job of giving him (Austin Brown) some creases and he did a great job of getting up in them,” Bulldog head coach Bret Pearce said. “I really think that their ability to run the ball on our defense hurt our morale.
“We were hoping not to have so many miscues. They are too good of a team for us to jump off sides and to turn over the ball. I’m proud of the fact that they never quit, that they came after them until the last whistle. But, we had too many letdowns in the first 45 minutes that the last three really didn’t matter very much.”
Losses like this just haven’t happened very often for this Bulldog senior class. Except for the first possession of the year, they had never trailed.
“Once we were down 2-0 against Middletown Madison, a game we ended up winning 51-2,” Pearce said. “So we haven’t dealt with any real adversity. We talk about it all of the time. We told them that we wouldn’t go through a whole season and never be down. Besides, I don’t think it was our being down tonight that hurt us, except that the other team ended up having more points.”
Next week Milton-Union hosts Oakwood, while Brookville plays host to Bellbrook. The outcomes of both games will matter when determining whom the SWBL champion will be this season. Both contests will also have playoff ramifications.
“We’re looking at them (Bellbrook), now,” Hetrick said, finally allowing himself to smile. “Our kids have done a great job of not looking past anything. I told them at halftime that this is a game of heart and will. They’ve put themselves into position to do something great.
“Entering this season no one would have thought that they’d be in the position they are in today, and I am just so proud of them all.”