MORGANTOWN - Despite the return of Brooke's starting tailback Raleigh Mason and the absence of Morgantown's standout running back Chazie Thomas, the Brooke Bruins end their football season with a 45-21 loss to the Mohigans to finish 3-7.
Brooke gained momentum with 4:30 left in the first quarter after a fumbled punt return by Morgantown's Blaine Stewart. Raleigh Mason ran the ball four yards into the end zone two plays later, with Jake Schwertfeger capping it off with an extra point to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead.
However, the Mohigans refused to lose on senior night at Pony Lewis Field and gained the momentum until the final whistle. Morgantown put up 39 unanswered points until late in the third quarter.
Brooke head coach Sean Blumette said the atmosphere in his locker room at halftime was not discouraging.
"One thing we've been big on all year is not giving up, not quitting, not letting things get away from us; coming out and battling until the final whistle," said Blumette. "And I really think this senior group embodied that and they set that example wonderfully throughout this year. We've been in some tough games and we've come up on the short end, but we've never once quit."
The Mohigans were led by senior wide receiver Blaine Stewart, who caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Senior quarterback Mark Johnson was 10 for 17 for 166 yards. Important to the running game for Morgantown was senior running back Jalen Thomas with six carries for 88 yards.
Mason made his final appearance as a Bruin after missing nearly the entire season to injury.
Mason had 22 carries for 130 yards. Blumette says Mason's return was vital to the team,
"Raleigh really does bring an intangible to this team with his intensity and his sheer determination. He wants nothing more than to do well for this team." said Blumette.
Other important numbers for the Bruins include two carries for 23 yards and a touch down by senior Zac Morris. Senior quarterback Alec Buchmelter went 5 for 12 through the air before leaving the game due to injury late in the third quarter.
Mason's injury early in the season allowed Blumette to give some underclassmen, such as freshman Justin Loughrie, experience on the field.
This, along with the 35 freshmen who went out for the team this season, gives the Bruins the preparation and experience they need looking toward next season.
Blumette also mentioned the high hopes he has for sophomore quarterback Aaron Walker, who will likely replace the graduating Buchmelter.