By: Dan Stickradt
FOOTBALL: Brandon stays alive with 28-21 victory over rival Holly
BY DAN STICKRADT
ORTONVILLE — A week after a humbling defeat by Linden, Ortonville Brandon tested it mettle and found the resolve needed to bounce back.
The Blackhawks grinded out a 28-21 Flint Metro League victory Friday over rival Holly, keeping their postseason hopes alive.
Brandon moved to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the nine-school FML and are a road win in Week 9 at Swartz Creek away from making a return trip to the postseason.
Holly (4-4, 3-4) will play at Clio with the hopes of concluding its regular season with a win.
“It was another hard-fought game,” offered Brandon coach Brad Zube. “Last year we pulled away with a couple of quick (touchdowns) late. We told the boys that both teams were 4-3 and this would be a physical game and a case of who wants it more. Our boys pulled it out at the end.
“I thought we responded well after that loss to Linden,” continued Zube. “That wasn’t us. We asked the boys to give better effort this week and get back to assignment football. I thought they did that tonight.”
Locked in a tight game and leading 21-14, Brandon put together an eight-play, 65-yard drive which ended with Kevin Grigereit hitting Josh Monfroni with a 13-yard fade pass with 1:39 left in the third quarter for a two-score advantage.
A drive proved to be the game-winning points, as Holly did close to within 28-21 on Jacob Honstetter’s cutting 17-yard sprint to the end zone with 8:53 remaining.
The Broncos could not get closer the rest of the way, turning the ball over on downs on their final two possessions.
“It was one of those situations where you have two good football teams that played really hard tonight and I thought it could have gone either way,” said Holly coach Ryan Culloty. “Hats of to Brandon for getting the victory tonight. I thought our guys played exceptionally hard. We just came up a little short.”
Sincere Perkins (11 carries, 77 yards), Clay Deboer (12 carries, 62 yards), Mike Nicaj (10 carries, 61 yards) and Monfroni (11 carries, 54 yards) led a balanced offensive attack for Brandon. Grigereit was 6-for-8 passing for 49 yards and added 29 more rushing yards for the Blackhawks.
“We still have a chance. We’ll go up to Swartz Creek and try to get the ‘W’ and make the playoffs,” added Zube. “we’ve put ourselves into a good position to do that with a win this week and a win next week.”
Honstetter finished with 14 carries for 97 yards for Holly, which led 7-6 on Honstetter’s 24-yard TD sweep and 14-6 when Collin Dallwitz’s 15-yard catch-and-run over the middle from Cade Dallwitz’s with 8:35 left in the second quarter.
Nicaj (3-yard run) and Grigereit (3-yard plunge up the middle) followed by Nicaj’s 2-point conversion run tied it at 14-14 in the second quarter for Brandon.
The Blackhawks took the lead for good with 30 seconds left in the first half when Matthew Harrison’s diving 10-yard catch off a dart from Grigereit in the corner of the end zone gave Brandon its 21-14 halftime advantage.