Churchill outlasts Brighton behind OT touchdown run by Alsobrooks
LIVONIA — Livonia Churchill scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to upset Brighton 21-14 in overtime on Saturday morning.
The Chargers (2-0) needed to drive 99-yards with under five minutes to play to tie the game, after the Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead with a 45-yard swing pass from junior Grant Dunatchik to senior Ben Finnegan.
Two facemasking penalties moved the ball to Brighton’s 48 yard line, where Churchill’s offense started to sputter. But on fourth-and-17 with 1:28 left, senior quarterback Brian Alsobrooks had a clutch connection with senior wide receiver Tim Dulin.
“We ran four verticals. I scanned to my left, then right and found my big target,” the Eastern Michigan commit said of the play.
“We knew we had to make a play, and it’s fourth quarter football. I knew Brian was going to get me the ball. We just made the play,” Dulin said.
The two completed a 48-yard passing play to tie the game at 14-14 forcing the game to go into overtime.
On the first play of overtime, Alsobrooks called his own number to put the chargers ahead on a ten-yard run for a 21-14 lead.
“That was a called zone read. I had the pull read and took it to the house,” he said.
The Churchill defense then picked up the offense when sophomore defensive back Jamal Allen went over the middle to seal the win, with a clutch interception.
“We struggled the last few years on defense, but they played very good today. It’s a good feeling to know that if we don’t light up the scoreboard, our defense can pick us up in lower scoring games,” Chargers head coach Bill DeFillippo said.
“Jamal made a big play in overtime. He’s the only tenth grader we have up. He has good speed, and that play will help him grow as a player.”
When the game was halted due to inclement weather on Friday, Brighton (1-1) was moving the ball off a big interception from JD Hamm in the first quarter.
When play resumed, Brighton finished the drive on its own fourth down pass from 34-yards out. Dunatchik connected with Finnegan again over the middle for a 7-0 lead before the half.
Chuchill answered in the third quarter that was sparked off a 29-run by Alsobrooks that put the Chargers in scoring position. A roughing the kicker penalty negated a missed field goal that turned into points. Senior running back Paul Romain on the next play ran up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 8:03 left.
The Chargers had an opportunity to take the lead with 38 second left in the fourth quarter, but Brighton senior Tyler Trisch intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Head coach Bill DeFillippo said his staff has stressed character, toughness, and execution in the off-season, which helped his team pull off the win.
“As a staff, we’ve spent so much time this off-season on character development and non-skill related things. We need to win those battles. Our kids responded to adversity, and played tough,” he said.
““Brian has grown every year. He’s an outstanding kid. He always rebounds, when he’s faced with adversity in games. But we have other kids that step up too. Our running back Paul (Roamin) is a fast, talented kid. When our offensive line blocks, he can find his hole and help us a lot when our offense needs to stabilize itself.”
Churchill hopes it can build off this early season win next week when it plays Westland John Glenn on Sept. 12 in hopes to keep their undefeated season alive.
“This win is going to give us a lot of momentum going into the season. Brighton is a very good team. They stalled our offense a bit before we got going. The game is only going to help us going forward,” Alsobrooks said.