Facing a three-point deficit against Green Hope, Wakefield quarterback Evan Brabrand gathered the Wolverines’ offense on the sidelines and delivered an impassioned plea to his teammates to come together and avoid what was shaping up to be a colossal upset in the opening round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs
Brabrand backed up his speech – but not before the deficit swelled to six points – and delivered the game-winning touchdown that allowed the Wolverines to escape with a 14-13 win over the Falcons.
While Brabrand led the offense to the winning score, it was the Wolverines’ effort on defense that kept them in the game.
“This win goes to the defense,” said Braband, who finished the night with 152 total yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. “They played a phenomenal game. The held them, gritted their teeth and went after it.”
Green Hope tallied 332 yards on 77 offensive plays and had the ball for 29 minutes, 35 seconds, yet the Wolverines (11-1) held the Falcons (5-7) to just one touchdown. They also intercepted two passes and had four sacks.
“There are no words to describe how our defense played tonight,” said defensive tackle Rey Gil, whose fourth-down sack with 1:23 to play sealed the win.
After interceptions on the first two offensive series, Brabrand and the offense found some rhythm on their third. The Wolverines covered 86 yards on 6 plays in 1:28, with Josh Lowery hauling in a 30-yard pass for a 7-0 lead.
Green Hope tied the score at 7-all midway through the third quarter after Demetrice Massenburg scored on a 1-yard run. Field goals from 30 and 31 yards by Nolan Paussa had the Falcons leading 13-7 with 7:33 to play.
Mike Shelton’s 50-yard return on a Green Hope pooch kick set up the Wolverines at the Falcons’ 26. Brabrand called his own number six times and covered all 26 yards to the end zone for the winning score.
“They shut us down all game,” Brabrand said. “That last drive I tried to get some yards with my feet. Now we’ve got to learn from our mistakes and come back next week against (Millbrook), who handed us our only loss.”