by Clellie Allen
WAKEFIELD — There doesn’t seem to be much to point at to explain Wakefield’s 23-16 second round playoff loss to Millbrook High School Friday night.
Both teams had solid defense and offense, providing nail-biting plays on both sides of the field; it just didn’t seem to be Wakefield’s night to win.
Wakefield came to the game with an 11-1 record while Millbrook was 9-3. The Wolverine’s sole loss came at the hands of the Wildcats, just a month ago, when Millbrook delivered a 40-19 knockout to Wakefield.
Friday’s game started off with both teams determined not to let the other get on the board first. It wasn’t until Millbrook’s second possession of the game, and after almost nine minutes were gone off the clock, that the Wildcats were able to move the ball close enough to the end zone for Jarrett Cervi to kick a 36-yard field goal on fourth and nineteen.
Two minutes later, Wakefield joined Millbrook with a 32-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3.
In the second period, the teams traded three-and-outs until there was just 11 seconds on the clock and Millbrook’s quarterback, sophomore Reid Herring, connected a 15-yard pass right into the corner of the end zone. With a successful extra point attempt. the half ended with the Wildcats up 10-3.
Coming back from the break, Millbrook intended to hang onto their lead. Their first possession of the third period lasted nearly half of the quarter, and ended when Jarrett Cervi, on fourth and nine, kicked an astonishing 47-yard field goal to push the score out to 13-3.
Wakefield’s Evan Brabrand then took matters into his own hands and ran 7-, 18- and 6-yard keeper plays, plus connected on 13- and 16-yard pass plays to get the ball down to the Wildcat 1-yard line. After being stymied two plays in a row, Brabrand then carried the ball himself into the end zone. Charles Morris was good for the PAT and the Wolverines were once again within three at 13-10 as the fourth quarter began.
Millbrook scored again, though, at the 8:17 mark and stretched back out to 20-10. Brabrand worked the ball to within 2 yards and made a another dive into the end zone for six with five minutes left to play.
On the extra point attempt, however, Millbrook’s Khalil Spears made a crucial block, ensuring that only another touchdown could catch Wakefield up as the score was 20-16.
Then the Wildcats put the icing on the cake: They kept possession of the ball until just 1:17 remained and Cervi kicked a 38-yard field goal, to move the score 23-16.
Not giving up, Brabrand and the offense got the ball to the Millbrook 47 on a 21-yard in-the-air pass to Marius Cooper. But then the offensive line collapsed on second and 10 at the 47 and Brabrand was pushed back into Wakefield territory on a sack.
The Wolverines then attempted twice to put together another solid pass play to move the ball, but were not successful and the ball turned over on downs on the Wakefield 45.
With 31 seconds on the clock, Millbrook took a knee and let time run.
“You can’t take anything away from them, but we played hard,” said Wakefield coach Rod Sink. “In the first half, we missed some opportunities — we’d get something going, but then it would fall apart,” he said.
“We had the energy, we just couldn’t transfer it into what we needed.”