Cat Scratch Fever: Brookhaven hosts Davidson in Game of the Week


Brookhaven’s Jonzell Meek (left) and Davidson’s Jake Trubiano made big plays in their season-openers (Photos by Anthony Murphy)

Columbus Brookhaven and Hilliard Davidson both claimed dramatic wins last week in their season-opening games, respectively. This week, Brookhaven welcomes Davidson Friday night in what has become a quickly growing rivalry since the annual series kicked off two season ago. We’ve got everything you need to know for this week’s NBC 4 Football Friday Night Game of the Week.

If the opening week of the high school football season was
any indication, this week’s Game of the Week matchup between Columbus
Brookhaven and Hilliard Davidson promises to be just as thrilling.

Brookhaven needed a 93-yard kickoff return by sophomore
Jonzell Meek early in the fourth quarter to get past Marion-Franklin 23-21
while Davidson’s Jake Trubiano broke up a pass to Westerville South receiver
Jake Tomlinson on a game-deciding, two-point conversion with 0:05 left to seal
a 21-20 win in the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series at Ohio Stadium.

The play was instant redemption for Trubiano.

On the previous play, Tomlinson reeled in a pass over Trubiano in the
back right corner of the end zone and kept his feet inbounds for the touchdown
cutting Davidson’s lead to 1-point. But senior captain Trubiano found atonement
on the conversion attempt making the biggest play of the game.

“We were very fortunate to win and a lot of that credit goes
to Westerville
South,” Davidson head coach Brian White said. “I think they are a great team
but I don’t think we played very well. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes
so we have to get that corrected.

“We have a lot to improve on and hopefully we’ll make that
improvement before Friday night or Brookhaven will take advantage of that and
we won’t be as lucky as we were last week.”

Brookhaven season-opener featured some heroics of its own.

Following the Meek return to put the Bearcats up 20-14 in
the final frame, Brookhaven’s Prince Gboya added a 31-yard field goal and took
what seemed to be a comfortable 23-14 lead. On Marion-Franklin’s first
offensive play of the next series, though, quarterback Verlon Reed found Paul
Harris for a 75-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 23-21.

With seconds left in the game, Marion-Franklin kicker Joe
Little’s 50-yard field goal attempt for the win fell short and Brookhaven held
on for the victory.

Phew…ready for Week 2?

Davidson, which will travel to Brookhaven for Friday’s 7:30
p.m. kickoff, has won the previous two meetings against the Bearcats but those
two wins came by only four total points. Davidson slipped past Brookhaven 24-21
last season and edged the Bearcats 14-13 in 2007.

“I don’t see how (the game) could be anything but (close)
again,” said White. “They’re such a good football team that we’ve been
fortunate enough in the last two years to beat them. I don’t necessarily
believe in luck but we’ve been fortunate enough to take advantage of our

“They have been barn-burners the past two years and both
years we’ve been fortunate enough to win and take advantage of those opportunities.
I am sure (Brookhaven) is motivated by the losses the last two seasons and how
close they’ve been.”

The Davidson coaching staff scouted Brookhaven for a quarter
before the game was suspended for lightening.

“We came back extremely impressed with their size, their
speed and their athleticism. They’re a really good team,” said White.

“Defensively, they are better this year than they were last
year and I thought they were exceptional on defense last year. Offensively, it
is early in the year and I think they are still kind of putting their pieces in
place. I’m not sure they are quite as good this year at this point as they were
last year at this point but that is not to say that they won’t be by Friday

Given the results of the last two matchups, quite the
rivalry has evolved between Brookhaven and Davidson since the first-ever
matchup in 2007.

“You can’t play any games closer than we have the last two
years for there not to be some residuals and carry over to the next year with
kids remembering what happened in the previous year,” said White.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

White knows a little something about risking it all for a
win – the biggest of wins – like Westerville South attempted last week.

In one of the gutsiest calls ever made on a football
, White decided to go for a game-deciding, two-point conversion in
double-overtime in the 2006 Division I State Championship
game trailing Mentor
. Running back Bo Delande scored and Davidson claimed the
spine-tingling win over the Cardinals for its first football title in school

“I was just hoping that our defense would be able to come up
big and make a play,” White said of Westerville South two-point conversion
attempt. “I was just thinking about what we were going to do on the next play
and hoping that our defense would come up big so we might not even have a next

Big Man On Campus

In addition to the game-saving pass breakup, Trubiano had 68 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown against Westerville South.
He was also 1-for-1 passing for a 9-yard touchdown to Spencer Delande to get
Davidson on the board early in the first quarter.

For his performance, Trubiano was named NBC 4’s Football
Friday Night Player of the Week.

Here are some highlights of Trubiano from our friends at NBC:



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Special thanks to for contributing to this story

* Columbus Brookhaven head coach Anthony Thornton was unavailable for comment on this story

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