Brunswick needs a win against Wil­lis­ton-Northamp­ton to earn bowl bid

Greenwich Time - - SPORTS - By David Fierro dfierro@green­

Win and in was the theme for the Brunswick School foot­ball team dur­ing prac­tice this week and rightly so.

Ac­cord­ing to coach Jar­rett Shine, should the Bru­ins beat visit­ing Wil­lis­tonNorthamp­ton School on Satur­day, they will earn a trip to the NEPSAC cham­pi­onship bowl game.

“If we win, we are in, though we won’t know right away who we will be play­ing,” Shine said. “Our play­ers came to prac­tice this week know­ing that and they know what’s at stake in this game.”

Brunswick en­ters Satur­day’s 1 p.m. game at Cosby Field — which is its Se­nior Day game — with a record of 7-1 over­all and 6-1 in the Er­ick­son League. Avon Old Farms School and Taft School also own 5-1 league records, but Brunswick beat Taft and lost to Avon. Two teams will most likely qual­ify for a NEPSAC Bowl matchup.

In Wil­lis­ton-Northamp­ton, the Bru­ins are fac­ing a squad that’s 3-4 on the sea­son and played most of its league op­po­nents tough (they were edged by Avon Old Farms, 29-26).

“We cer­tainly can’t take this team lightly, I re­mem­ber last year we only had a 14-7 lead on them at half­time,” Shine said. “Our play­ers are fo­cused and men­tally pre­pared, to face a lot of dif­fer­ent things from this team.”

On a windy day that made it dif­fi­cult for the Bru­ins to get its pass­ing game on track, the team’s de­fen­sive unit stepped up again in last week’s 22-3 road win against Trin­i­tyPawl­ing School. Be­hind lineback­ers Nick Vil­lis and David MacGil­livray and de­fen­sive line­man Howard Powell, the Bru­ins shut down Trin­ity’s po­tent run­ning at­tack and com­pletely held down its pass­ing game. The unit must be pre­pared to face an­other chal­lenge Satur­day against Wil­lis­ton.

“Wil­lis­ton’s quar­ter­back is a play­maker, he can ex­tend plays and is ca­pa­ble of run­ning for a lot of yards,” Shine said. “We have to force other play­ers to make plays for them.”

Eight games into the sea­son, ju­nior Nick Wine­gard­ner no longer re­sem­bles a first-year start­ing quar­ter­back. The Bru­ins’ sig­nal called has steadily im­proved, mak­ing big plays with his arm and legs in key sit­u­a­tions.

“Nicky is play­ing with more con­fi­dence, I’ve seen him make some good throws,” Shine said. “He’s watch­ing more film, which has helped him un­der­stand what he is see­ing from de­fense and it’s en­abled him to im­prove.”

Though it was windy, Wine­gard­ner was able to com­plete a long touch­down pass to se­nior star re­ceiver Cor­nelius John­son in last week’s win against Trin­ity-Pawl­ing. The Bru­ins will look to get some big plays from the John­son Wine­gard­ner con­nec­tion against Wil­lis­ton-Northamp­ton.

“I say this every week, but hope­fully, we can get off to a fast start on of­fense and score early — hope­fully, on our open­ing drive,” Shine said. “We can’t af­ford to get off to a slow start in this game.”

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