Brunswick overcame a 12-7 third-quarter deficit against Governor’s Academy in NEPSAC’s Todd Marble Bowl on Saturday, as the Bruins rallied for a 19-12 win over the Governors. It was the fourth time the two teams played in a NEPSAC Bowl. Brunswick now holds a 3-1 lead in the post-season match-ups.
The game was the final contest for both schools, as Brunswick finished the year at 8-2, while Governor's Academy fell to 7-2 on the season.
Playing at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, in Wilbraham, Mass., under bright skies and chilly temperatures, Governor’s Academy struck first with a 29-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the contest. Brunswick’s Kevonne Wilder blocked the extra-point kick, as the Bruins trailed 6-0 at the 10:38 mark of the first quarter.
Alex Burdick halted a second-quarter drive by the Governors, as the Bruins’ defensive back picked off a pass on the Brunswick 15-yard line.
Following the interception, the Bruins marched deep into Governor’s Academy territory. After a 24-yard scamper by Jalen Madison, along with a nifty sideline catch by Will Coen, Wilder burst up the middle for a 15-yard run to put the ball on the Governors’ 30-yard line. Later in the drive, a pass interference penalty called on the Governors put the Brunswick offense on the nine-yard line. Madison capped the drive with a touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage, bouncing a run to the left side for the score. Chris Chavez added the extra-point kick, as Brunswick took a 7-6 lead with 4:19 remaining in the first half.
On the next drive for the Governors, the Brunswick defense forced a turnover on downs with a fourth-down sack on the 50-yard line with 38.8 seconds left in the half.
In the half's waning seconds, the Bruins offense moved the ball to the Governor’s Academy 21-yard line, however a 39-yard field goal by Brunswick sailed wide left as time expired.
The Governors regained the lead at the 5:27 mark of the third quarter on a 91-yard touchdown pass. Brunswick’s defense denied the two-point conversion, as Governor’s Academy led the Bruins by a 12-7 margin.
Brunswick responded with a methodical, 15-play, 67-yard touchdown drive, capped by Madison’s five-yard TD run. The touchdown allowed the Bruins to regain the lead (13-12) with 11:22 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Bruins defense forced another fourth-down stop of the Governors on the next drive, giving the Brunswick offense possession near midfield with 8:15 left in the game.
After the defensive stop, Brunswick quarterback Nick Winegardner ran 34 yards on an option play. Two plays later, Winegardner kept the ball on a bootleg and ran in for a touchdown from 13 yards out. Despite the failed two-point conversion, the Bruins led 19-12 with 7:07 left to play.
Governor’s Academy started a potential game-tying drive on its own 26-yard line. The Governors moved deep into Brunswick territory, converting a pair of fourth downs, but were finally stopped on the 14th play of the drive on an interception by the Bruins’ Colin Mulshine on the Brunswick one-yard line, with under a minute to play.
Taking over on its own one yard-line with a 19-12 lead, Brunswick ran one play from scrimmage to seal the bowl win, as the Governors had no time-outs to stop the clock.
For the game, Madison rushed for 130 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Winegardner was 14-of-16 from the pocket for 160 yards, while adding 25 yards on the ground, including a touchdown run. The Brunswick offense converted 4-of-9 third-down opportunities, while the Bruins’ defense held Governor’s Academy to 3-of-11 conversions on 3rd down and 2-of-8 on fourth-down conversions.
Brunswick, making its 14th NEPSAC postseason appearance, holds a 9-5 record in bowl games.