Flowers, Burton carry JM over Brooke
WELLSBURG — John Marshall running backs Dalton Flowers and Alex Burton can change the game on any given play.
Both exploded over and over again Friday night, as each ran for over 200 yards to lead John Marshall to a 61-21 triumph over Brooke.
Flowers racked up four touchdowns and 277 yards on 22 carries, while Burton tallied 208 yards and two scores on 17 attempts behind a dominant offensive line.
“I think a lot of it is our tempo of the game,” John Marshall coach Jason Willis said. “Once we get going and get rolling, it just wears them down. These guys hit the holes, and they hit them hard and do a great job.
“We had some young guys step up on the offensive line and fill in (Friday), so I’m proud of those guys. Our line has done a great job all season.”
With JM clinging to a 21-14 lead, Flowers delivered perhaps the highlight of the game, as he raced 90 yards down the sideline for a quick score to soften the cushion.
He then charged forward for 100 yards in the second half, which included two more touchdowns, followed by a pair of scores from Burton, who provided 103 yards in the second half.
“With a back like Flowers, you have to make sure you put him on the ground when you get a chance,” Brooke coach Mac McLean said. “If not, he is going to squirt out of there. He’s big, he’s powerful and he’s going to run away from you, and that’s pretty much the story of the second half.”
Brooke kept the game close early. In fact, the Bruins struck first and led 14-7 after the first quarter on a rushing touchdown from Drake Hukill and a 64-yard strike from Josh Shorts to Aaron Scipio.
The Monarchs’ first-quarter TD came from quarterback Derrick Derrow, who found Reid Wiley for a 9-yard score.
After three consecutive scores by the Monarchs — two from Flowers and one coming on a pass from Derrow to Bryce Rayl — JM went up 28-14, but an interception by Hukill set up a late first-half touchdown pass from Shorts to Kurtis Leonard to cut the deficit to 28-21 at the break.
“I felt like we were running the ball well in the first half,” McLean said. “We had a nice, short passing game going and we were playing some pretty good defense.
“Big plays were key. Aaron Scipio had a couple of real nice plays in the first half, and Braelyn Sperringer keeps continuing to develop as a receiver as the weeks go on. As a ninth grader, the sky is the limit for him as a football player.”
The momentum switch seemed to shake the Monarchs heading into the locker room, but a brief reminder from Willis to keep their heads up worked to perfection.
“We talked to them at halftime,” Willis said. “They were kind of down. I went in and it was quiet, so I said, ‘Hey, we are up. Let’s go. I told you they were going to come out and fight, so let’s get the ball, go down and score and take control.’ And, we did. Our defense shut them out, and it was a nice win.”
John Marshall came out running in the second half, outscoring Brooke 33-0 down the stretch with Matthew Tschappat busting into the end zone for the final back-breaker in the fourth quarter.
In the second half shutout, the Monarchs defense rose to the occasion, as well, holding the Bruins to 68 total yards in the second half.
Rayl, Brennen Sobutka, Wiley and Noah Beckett all secured interceptions for JM, while Nate Menendez and Alex Thomas recovered fumbles in the win.
“Our defense is flying to the ball,” Willis. “We had — I don’t know how many turnovers — but it was great. I made a stupid call to throw the ball before halftime and they held them out. Our defense is playing well.
“I’m just happy. I thought we came out a little sluggish to start, but we got rolling there as it went along.”
John Marshall 61, Brooke 21
John Marshall 7 21 27 6 — 61
Brooke 14 7 0 0 — 21
B — Hukill 14 run (Blair kick), 5:55
J — Wiley 9 pass from Derrow (Bonocci kick), 2:36
B — Scipio 64 pass from Shorts (Blair kick), 1:00
J — Rayl 7 pass from Derrow (Bonocci kick), 9:25
J — Flowers 11 run (Bonocci kick), 7:05
J — Flowers 90 run (Bonocci kick), 3:44
B — Leonard 4 pass from Shorts (Blair kick), :25
J — Flowers 11 run (Bonocci kick), 9:18
J — Flowers 2 run (Bonocci kick), 7:58
J — Burton 10 run (Bonocci kick), 2:32
J — Burton 76 run (kick failed), :00
J — Tschappat 5 run (kick failed), 2:28
Rushing: John Marshall 59-559-7td (Flowers 22-277-4td, A. Burton 17-208-2td, Derrow 3-7, Tschappat 8-24-td, Rayl 1-5, Menendez 1-11, L. Burton 6-25, Rouse 1-2); Brooke 34-134-td (Hukill 17-60-td, Gabbert 7-34, Shorts 5-34, Campinelli 2-7, Gaschler 2-(-5), Moore 1-4).
Passing: John Marshall 4-8-31-2td-x (all by Derrow); Brooke 14-31-201-2td, 4x (Shorts 14-27-201-2td-2x, Gaschler 0-4-2x).
Receiving: John Marshall 4-31-2td (A. Burton 2-15, Wiley 1-9-td, Rayl 1-7-td); Brooke 14-201-2td (Sperringer 7-66, Hukill 3-48, Scipio 2-75-td, Leonard 2-12-td).
First Downs: John Marshall 25; Brooke 15.
Penalties-Yards: John Marshall 1-15; Brooke 5-40.
Fumbles-Lost: John Marshall 3-1; Brooke 5-2.