Football: Brooke falls at home

WELLSBURG – It’s no secret Brooke has one of the toughest schedules out of all the West Virginia Class AAA schools.

It continued when undefeated Point Pleasant made the three-hour trek to Brooke Memorial Stadium.

The Big Blacks (5-0), though, didn’t show any lag from the long bus ride as they ran through and around the Bruins defense for 219 yards and four touchdowns on their way to a 35-7 victory.

”Brooke plays such a tough schedule,” Point Pleasant coach David Darst said. ”We’re such a young football team and obviously we’re the smallest AAA school in West Virginia, so we never know when we go up against a school like this. We’re blessed with a bunch of kids that like to play football. We’re nothing special, but they like to play.”

It didn’t take the Big Blacks long to jump on the Bruins (1-5).

After the defense recovered a fumble at Brooke’s 26, Point Pleasant’s offense capitalized as sophomore Cody Mitchell rumbled through the Bruins defense for a 3-yard touchdown.

The Big Blacks were on the board again three minutes later after the defense forced a Brooke three-and-out as junior Gage Buskirk ran up the middle for a 10-yard score.

”There’s no doubt one of the things we’ve struggled with is stopping the run,” Brooke coach Sean Blumette said. ”The majority of that is missed tackles. It’s stuff we can’t afford. We’ve been working on it and working on it, but I just don’t know if I have an answer for it right now.”

The Bruins also didn’t have an answer for Big Blacks’ quarterback Robert Yates, who went 6 of 7 for 146 yards, 80 of which came off a pass to Charles Walton that put Point Pleasant up 21-0 with a little more than five minutes to play in the second.

Brooke, however, did show some offensive life on its next possession as quarterback Aaron Walker tossed a jump-ball to Thomas Cole, who used his 6-foot-5 frame to clear the defender and take the ball 31 yards to the end zone to give the Bruins their only score.

Brooke had another opportunity to score after Walker found Cole again for a 78-yard hookup that set the offense up at the Point Pleasant 1 during the fourth quarter.

After being stuffed on first down, though, Walker dropped back to throw, but was pressured by the Big Blacks defense and fumbled the ball away.

”That’s been the story of our season,” Blumette said. ”Every week we’ve had opportunities. There’s times when our defense has played well and forced a turnover and the offense gets good field potions, but then there’s a penalty or a turnover or whatever. It’s just mistakes that we continue to make that we just can’t afford to make.”

Those mistakes were evident throughout the night.

On a fourth down during the second quarter, Point Pleasant faced a fourth-and-1, but got the Bruins to jump offsides.

The Big Blacks used the same strategy in the third quarter, but this time the defense stood still. However, when Point Pleasant went to punt, Brooke had too many men on the field, which resulted in a first down for the Big Blacks.

”It’s very frustrating,” Blumette said. ”It is for the kids, the coaches, me, the fans, everybody. Everybody deserves better.”

The road doesn’t get easier for the Bruins, though.

Following its bye week, Brooke has one final home game against Parkerburg South, then ends the season on the road against Weir, John Marshall and Cabell Midland.

”It’s brutal,” Blumette said. ”There’s no doubt.

”Seven points is not acceptable. We’re asking our defense to do a helluva lot and they’re busting their (butts) to do it, but they can’t play the entire game. Our offense has got to step up and do something.”