LILBURN -- Josh Brown had the game of his life for Brookwood, blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown, taking an interception for a touchdown and rushing for a touchdown. Couple that with three rushing scores from Jamaal Cole and the Broncos escaped Berkmar with a 41-27 victory. The win moves the Broncos into a first-place tie in the region with two games to go.
"It's always good to get a win on Friday," said Brookwood head coach Mark Crews.
While the Broncos got a 68-yard rushing touchdown from Cole just 37 seconds into the game, the Broncos largely struggled for the first quarter-and-a-half.
On its first drive, Berkmar moved the ball to the Brookwood 29-yard line. But penalties pushed the Patriots back past midfield, forcing them to punt.
Early in the second quarter, Berkmar's defense took advantage of a Brookwood fumble as Chris Trumpler fell on the ball for the fumble recovery.
The Patriots then threw a little trickeration into their play-calling as Kenyuan Randall threw a reverse halfback pass to Dorren Miller (10 catches, 230 yards) for 31 yards and a first down. However, things stalled there for the Patriots, forcing them to settle for a field goal.
But Brown had other plans.
Coming from the outside, Brown blocked the field-goal attempt, then proceeded to pick the ball up and go 77 yards the other way for the touchdown.
"Josh Brown is a good football player," Crews said. "He carried us in the second quarter."
And, things didn't get any better for the Patriots as a fumble on the second play of their next drive gave the ball right back to Brookwood.
Cole scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from the 26-yard line to make the score 21-0.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Brown got his second score of the evening, this time on defense when he intercepted quarterback Jaquan Morris' pass and took it back 48 yards for the touchdown.
"This game is all about momentum," said Berkmar head coach Jonathan Sanks. "This is a case where do we roll over and die, or do we come out and fight. Our guys came out and fought."
Berkmar wouldn't go away quietly, however. The Patriots scored with 23 seconds to go before halftime, taking four plays to go 67 yards, culminating in a 16-yard strike from Morris to Randall to make the score 28-7.
After punting on their first drive of the second half, the Patriots allowed Brookwood to get down to their 3-yard line. However, a fumble was forced and the Patriots recovered. Two plays later, Morris found Miller in the middle of the field, taking it all the way to the end zone for a 91-yard scoring play.
"We stopped them on first and second downs, then we'd give up a big play on third down," Crews said. "That was the story of the night."
Brookwood answered, however, as Cole scored for the third time in the game, this time from one-yard out to put the Broncos up 35-14 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Still, Berkmar wouldn't go away.
The Patriots took five plays on their next drive, culminating on a 57-yard scoring strike from Morris to Rashad Hall. The extra point was blocked to leave the score at 35-20.
After a Brookwood punt, Berkmar was able to put more points on the board, going 61 yards in 13 plays as Miller scored again, this time on a nine-yard pass to bring the score to 35-27.
However, the onside kick failed and the Broncos got a rushing touchdown by Brown to seal the game.
"We have to overcome the small things," Sanks said. "If we can avoid the mental errors, we can do some good things."
Brookwood was led by Cole with 186 yards on the ground, while Brown finished with 79.
For Berkmar, Morris finished 24-for-42 for 446 yards and four touchdowns, while Hall had three catches for 94 yards.