SNELLVILLE - Brookwood linebacker Rennie Curran wasn't on the football field at halftime to accept his homecoming king award on Friday.
He was in the locker room with his teammates, one of the few times all night the Broncos weren't creating havoc in the Berkmar backfield.
Behind a defense that had seven sacks and held the Patriots to minus-25 rushing yards, Brookwood topped the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 35-7 victory in Region 8-AAAAA play. Curran had three of the sacks and Andrew Geschke had two to lead the defense.
Berkmar quarterback T.J. Smith had minus-70 rushing yards because of the sacks and had just 64 passing yards on 10 of 18 attempts. The Broncos' blitzes kept him in trouble much of the night.
"That was one major thing we wanted to do, get as much pressure on (Smith) as we could and just get him to rush his throws," Curran said. "We just wanted to put that heat on him."
Curran dropped Smith for a sack at the Berkmar 5-yard line on third down of the Patriots' first possession, setting up a short field for Brookwood's first score. After a short punt, it took five plays for the Broncos' Brice Smith to score on a 3-yard run.
It stayed 7-0 until a Terrence Davis interception put the hosts in position at the Berkmar 37-yard line. On the next play, Daniel Peek hit Demetre Ledlum for a 37-yard TD pass and a 14-0 lead with 4:04 left before halftime.
The Patriots (1-4, 0-2) fumbled on the first play of the next series and the Broncos (3-2, 2-0) went on a seven-play drive, capped by Peek's 5-yard TD run just 27 seconds before halftime.
A Kadeem Wise interception early in the second half briefly gave Berkmar hope, and the visitors used the momentum to score on an 11-yard TD pass from Smith to J.J. Harbin.
But Brookwood responded with a five-play scoring drive that included a 37-yard run by Ledlum. Peek's 3-yard TD run made it 28-7.
Ledlum rushed for 118 of Brookwood's 239 yards on 21 carries, Peek had nine rushes for 63 yards and Brice Smith had 12 carries for 59 yards.
Longtime Brookwood trainer McLane passes away on Friday
Brookwood's football team played Berkmar with a little extra motivation, hoping to earn a win for longtime athletic trainer Ben McLane, who passed away on Friday morning.
McLane, known affectionately by the Bronco players as "Doc," battled cancer this year and was still stricken by the illness when he suffered a stroke on Tuesday. According to his son, Brookwood assistant football coach Benjie McLane, his father died "peacefully" at Gwinnett Medical Center at 6:30 a.m. on Friday. He was 76.
McLane was known for his years of dedication to high school kids working as a volunteer trainer. He worked for 20 years at Henderson High before volunteering at Brookwood from 1987 to 2006.
Just last month, Brookwood named the school's training room, the Ben "Doc" McLane Training Room.
"The guy spent 40 years working with kids," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said of McLane. "The influence that he has on the kids goes well beyond the tape and the pre-wrap and the bandages. It wasn't just that he worked with the kids because he was a trainer. He worked with the kids because he loved kids. It's a loss for our team. It's a loss for our whole community when you lose somebody who's that giving of his time for our kids."
McLane, a native of Birmingham, Ala., also spent his life working at what is now Lowndes and McLane Funeral Home in Tucker. He also worked as a medic in the Navy.
"Doc McLane was a great guy," Brookwood senior Rennie Curran said. "He taped me up a couple of times. He had love for us. He'd do anything for us. That's one thing we said going into the game, we had to do it for Doc McLane."
Funeral arrangements for McLane were pending as of Friday.