By TRACY WATSON
For The Intelligencer
WELLSBURG - Brooke coach Sean Blumette has three runners he is comfortable with in the team's offensive attack and is looking to feed the hot hand any chance he gets.
Friday night that turned out to be senior Nick Ossman, who easily had his best night in a Brooke uniform.
Ossman rushed for 131 yards on 13 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns while also throwing a 40-yard touchdown pass on a gadget play that gave the Bruins a two-score lead at the half and helped them wrap up the home portion of their schedule with a 41-28 victory against Parkersburg South at Brooke Memorial Stadium.
The victory moves Blumette's unit to 3-4 with games remaining against Weir, John Marshall and Cabell Midland. First-year coach Mike Eddy watched his Patriots slide to 2-5.
"It has been pointed out by many people, including the media, that we have a pretty brutal schedule," Blumette said with a smile. "There are no easy ones, and Parkersburg South is a good football team. They have a new coach who is doing a good job, and they are struggling with some of the things that we did in our first year. They are getting a restart, and that takes time.
"They really battled us the first half, but we did a very good job re-establishing the run in the second half and pulling away."
The Bruins struck first after holding South on downs at the home 40. Brooke moved into Patriots territory, but seemed to be bogged down after a holding penalty and short loss had them looking at a second-and-18.
However, junior quarterback Aaron Walker zipped a pass deep over the middle that 6-foot-5 sophomore Thomas Cole reached up and pulled out of the air before covering the 38 yards with 5:40 showing on the first-quarter clock..
Parkersburg South got it back early in the second, thanks to a 74-yard Brendon Schwendeman run on the final play of the first period that put the ball on the Brooke 4. On the next play Cody Smith busted in for the score six seconds into the second to knot the score at 7-7.
Brooke retook the lead at the 8:26 mark on Ossman's 14-yard burst up the middle, however, the kick after sailed off to the right to keep the score at 13-6. The drive consisted of seven plays for 58 yards and followed a nice Heath Hildreth kickoff return.
Things got interesting again as Walker picked off Garrett Gilkeson on the next play and returning the ball into South territory, with a 15-yard penalty setting the ball up at the 40. One play later Walker pitched back to Ossman who threw a 35-yard bullet to Cole, with the lanky receiver again using his height, pulling it in near the fall and hitting the end zone with 16 seconds remaining for a big swing and a 20-7 halftime score.
After stopping the Bruins on a three-and-out to begin the second half, South seemed to be ready to do the same facing a third-and-11 from its 45. But Schwendeman again busted loose, this time for 49 yards to the Brooke 6 with Smith again finishing things off a play later with 8:05 showing to make it 20-14.
Again the hosts got it right back with Walker, Ossman, Loughrie and Nigel Bowland pushing the ball downfield on the ground. Bowland handed the final three carries, finishing things off from a yard out with 3:53 to go. Brooke turned it into a 28-14 advantage when Hildreth hit Joey Staffilino with the 2-point conversion.
Brooke went back to the pass on the first play of the fourth with Hildreth sneaking behind the defense and actually standing at the 25 waiting for the pass to get to him, before completing the 61-yard scoring toss at 34-14.
Smith's 1-yard burst at 2:01 was followed by a successful onside kick that led to South's final score of the contest, a 28-yard scoring strike from Gilkeson to Smith deep down the middle of the field.
While Ossman finished with 131 yards, Walker threw for 147 and two more scores.