PARMA — A non-league game at Valley Forge did not start how the Brunswick football team had hoped Friday and, despite recovering to put on their best offensive performance of the season, the Blue Devils were unable to rally and fell 27-14.
Brunswick is off to only its second 0-3 start since 1974.
On the first drive, Brunswick sophomore quarterback Jacob Scherette dropped back for his first pass in his first career start, but Valley Forge linebacker Michael Miller stepped into the lane and picked him off. Miller ran across the middle and found the left sideline, taking the ball to the end zone and giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead.
“Obviously, some of us made mistakes tonight. It happens. It’s football,” Scherette said. “We have a chance to get better now. We just have to take it.”
Scherette and the offense recovered on the next drive, marching 56 yards, all on running plays, with Scherette taking the ball through the right side for a 16-yard touchdown on a possession that took up more than 6 minutes. The score was Brunswick’s first offensive TD of the season.
“I thought offensively, we did OK in the first half,” Brunswick coach Mark Pinzone said. “We certainly made some mistakes, but we moved the ball and were able to get in the end zone, which is something we didn’t do well in the first two games.”
The Blue Devil defense, which had been strong through two games, faltered early in the first half thanks to Valley Forge’s supporting cast. Brunswick successfully keyed on All-Great Lakes Conference fullback Mike Pappas (19 carries, 53 yards), but that opened the outside for wingback Matthias Chmielewski.
Less than two minutes after the Patriots took over on their first drive, Chmielewski swept around left end and raced 46 yards for the first of his three rushing touchdowns.
Valley Forge forced a Blue Devils punt on the ensuing drive, and Brunswick junior Justin Hagler caught a high snap and got off a punt that pinned the Patriots on their 2-yard line. The Blue Devils could not take advantage, as Valley Forge methodically 98 yards on a drive that took nearly 7 minutes. Chmielewski dove in from the 1 to give the Patriots a 21-7 advantage.
“Our defense, for the first time, was the side that was struggling a little bit, but I give our defense credit,” Pinzone said. “They didn’t give up and they made some plays that gave us a chance in the second half.”
The Blue Devils flipped deep into their playbook to start the next drive, as Scherette gave the ball to senior Jaden Taylor, who then tossed it downfield to Scherette for a 29-yard gain. Scherette finished the drive with an 11-yard score on a read-option to cut Valley Forge’s lead to 21-14 with just over a minute left in the first half.
Scherette rushed 22 times for 123 yards, caught a 29-yard pass and went 2-for-10 passing for 18 yards.
“We were just pounding the ball,” Scherette said.” We were running the ball very successfully, and then they switched up their defense.”
Brunswick’s defense returned to form in the second half. After the Patriots took the opening drive to the Blue Devil 28-yard line, they faced fourth-and-4. Senior safety Ben Mewhinney stopped Chmielewski a couple feet short of the marker to halt a 13-play drive.
The Blue Devils could not capitalize, as Valley Forge safety Sam Rizzuto recovered a fumble by Scherette on the Brunswick 45.
Chmielewski capped his 199-yard night with a 69-yard touchdown with 3:18 left.
Contact John Urchek at email@example.com.
Valley Forge 27, Brunswick 14
BRUNSWICK 7 7 0 0 — 14
VALLEY FORGE 14 7 0 6 — 27
V — Michael Miller 34 interception return (Christopher Hein kick), 9:40.
B — Jacob Scherette 16 run (Justin Hagler kick), 2:57.
V — Matthias Chmielewski 46 run (Hein kick), 1:02.
V — Chmielewski 1 run (Hein kick), 3:15.
B — Scherette 11 run (Hagler kick), 1:03.
V — Vhmielewski 69 run (kick failed), 3:18.