BRUSLY - Those who came expecting University High’s fast-paced offense to pile up points may have been disappointed.
But UHS coach Chad Mahaffey saw what he needed to see. The Cubs’ defense came away with five fumble recoveries, including two near its own goal line while claiming a 7-0 victory over Brusly High on Thursday night at the Brusly Jamboree.
“No team at this point is going to be a polished product,” Mahaffey said. “Most of our problems on offense had to do with bad snaps and timing.
“We put the defense in bad situations, but they held up and didn’t allow any points. That’s huge.”
Chisa Egbelu had two fumble recoveries, including one of the goal-line situations in the second half when it looked like Brusly was in position to tie the game.
“We’ve got to be ready to play and we don’t quite understand that concept yet, but we’ll work on that,” Brusly coach Erik Willis said. “We had chances, but you have to hold on to the ball. They (the UHS defense) made the plays.”
The Brusly and University junior varsity teams played to a 6-6 tie in the first game.
Quarterback Jay Christophe ran for 35 yards and passed for 53 yards to pace the Brusly varsity. DiMario Jackson added 33 rushing yards for the Class 3A Panthers.
Kyle Crifasi finished 4-for-8 for 61 yards and a touchdown for Class 2A University. Nik Kragthorpe was 3-for-5 for 20 yards, while Nick Brossette added 32 rushing yards for the Cubs.
Brusly controlled the ball for much of the first half. The Panthers drove to the UHS 39 on the game’s opening possession before turning the ball over on downs. Christophe and Carsel Alexander just missed hooking up on a long pass play near the end zone.
Terrance West’s interception of a Crifasi pass gave the Panthers the ball back just four plays later. Christophe had runs of 12 and 14 yards as Brusly drove all the way to the UHS 18.
This time, U-High got the turnover as Ben Karam recovered a Panther fumble. The Cubs took advantage when Crifasi led UHS on an 81-yard drive that took just 1:12 off the clock.
Crifasi ran for 15 yards and completed a 16-yard pass to Jarrod Franklin before hitting Hunter Smithburg with a 27-yard touchdown pass. Christian Garon’s point-after kick made it 7-0 with 2:50 left in the half.
Brusly got the first turnover of the second half on a fumble recovery by Montel Williams at the UHS 15. It was the first of two possessions inside the UHS 5 that ended with U-High recovering a Panther fumble.
Soon after that, Brusly drove 42 yards to the UHS 1. Egbelu recovered the second fumble that came on a pitch by Christophe with 7:18 remaining. Brusly got into UHS territory twice more, but could not score.
One final fumble recovery - this one by Hayes Stewart - snuffed out Brusly’s final threat at the 1:04 mark.