SHEFFIELD — The losing streak is over.
Brookside played with poise after falling behind in the fourth quarter, getting a pair of touchdown passes by Tyler O’Malley to beat Oberlin 31-21 and end a 15-game losing streak in a non-conference game.
“It feels amazing and it’s a huge weight lifted off our shoulders,” Cardinals senior running back Jake Morgan said. “We wanted this week to be the week that we won and start putting Brookside football back on the map.”
Morgan was one of four Cardinals (1-1) running backs to run for at least 60 yards, with 110 yards on 16 carries.
Kyle Houston was a workhorse with 80 yards and two scores on 20 carries. Dudley Taw and Arin Pruitt ran for 60 and 61 yards, respectively, as Brookside totaled 228 yards on the ground.
“We just don’t care who gets the ball, we all get our chances to help the team,” Houston said.
“We all run from the different spots on the field so it makes it more difficult for the defenses to figure us out.
“I really believe it was our senior leadership that helped pull us through tonight. I think we can surprise people and have a really good year with this group.”
Despite a 390-282 advantage in offensive output, Brookside still needed a pair of scores in the final 6:11 to pull put the win over an Oberlin (1-1) team that shot itself in the foot with 15 penalties for 147 yards, including two scores called back by penalties.
The Phoenix got a taste of what the night would be like when Kiylan Bugg had an 85-yard kickoff return for a score to start the game called back because of an illegal block.
Oberlin fought through the penalties at first and found itself tied at 15 on the second play of the fourth quarter when Tyler Thomas pushed in from 1 yard after the Phoenix recovered a fumble at the Cardinals 26.
That was the first of five scores in the final quarter, as the Cardinals responded with a 32-yard field goal by Brandon Bellman, his second of the game, to give Brookside an 18-15 lead with 8:24 left.
It took Oberlin exactly 19 seconds to retake the lead when Bugg took a handoff around the left end and never stopped running. He went 80 yards for a 21-18 lead.
Bugg finished with 114 yards on 11 carries. Teammate DeVonte Hougland hurt the Cardinals through the air, pulling in eight passes for 138 yards.
The penalties finally caught up to the Phoenix when it looked like the Cardinals were stopped on a third-and-9 play but the receiver was hit out of bounds, giving the Cardinals a first down.
Four plays later, Tyler O’Malley hit sophomore tight end Max Wilson with a 21-yard strike down the middle for a 24-21 lead after the extra point failed on a bad snap.
Oberlin punted on its next possession after an offensive pass interference penalty killed the drive. O’Malley put the game away by hitting Taw in front of the Cardinals bench, and he raced 50 yards to the end zone for the final streak-busting touchdown.
“The kids saw their opportunity to win last week go away and they were not going to let that happen this week,” Brookside coach Thom Lesiecki said. “It’s been two long years and a lot of work, but these kids worked very hard to make this happen.
“We responded when we needed it and the kids dug deep when things were not going well in the fourth quarter.”
FLAG FEST: Maybe the officials were paid by the penalty. Between numerous conferences, the zebras called an astounding 24 penalties for 207 yards. There were also a few penalties that were declined.