Brighton did not waste any time putting its footprint on Friday night’s Division 7 North semifinal against Latin Academy.
In the teams’ second meeting in three weeks, the Bengals scored twice in the first quarter, built a 20-point cushion at the half, and registered a 28-6 victory at Daly Field.
Brighton will face top-seeded St. Mary’s (9-0) in the sectoinal final.
The lopsided finish did not match the last two meetings. Last Thanksgiving, Brighton won a thriller on a last-minute score by Jerrod Clark. On Oct. 13, Latin Academy prevailed late on Xavier Ortiz’s 8-yard TD pass to Patrick Fitzgerald.
“I’m not going to lie: Obviously the momentum was on our side all night,” said Brighton coach Randolph Abraham. “We have some areas we need to adjust, some things we need to correct, but ultimately we played our game tonight. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re up for the challenge.”
Brighton scored on its first series when quarterback William Jean tossed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Taylor.
On the ensuing possession, Latin Academy drove to the Brighton 1-yard line, but the Bengals made a goal-line stand. One play later, from the 2, Jose Vargas broke off a 98-yard score.
Jean then connected with Jose Pinero in the second quarter for a 54-yard touchdown pass to push the margin to 20-0.
“We take what the defense gives us,” Abraham said. “They were loading the box and once you pass the first level, there wasn’t really to much out there. We have the speed out there to really hurt you.”
The Brighton defense limited Latin Academy to 107 first-half yards and didn’t allow a score until Osahon Izevbizua rushed for a 15-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
“We switched up, we went man-to-man,” Abraham said. “We were playing zone all game but we said, ‘Let’s use our speed, let’s match up.’ So the quarterback had to hold onto the ball a little longer than he was used to and Quincy Taylor and Jerrod Clark got after him.”
Taylor and Clark teamed up for the final score. The 6-foot-6-inch, 275-pound Clark blocked a punt in the third quarter and Taylor recovered the ball in the end zone to put Brighton up for good, 28-6.
“Our coach readjusted that [punt block]. He told me and Quincy to go on the same side so that when I came through I blocked the punt and Quincy scooped and scored,” Clark said.
Brighton advances to the sectional final for the second straight year.
“We’ve been further than this, so I’m just ready,” Clark added. “That’s my feeling right there I’m ready to get to the next game.”
Brandan Blom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.