BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Dragons used some big plays and a resilient defense to knock off the Brewer Witches, 35-13, in a high school football contest on a chilly Friday evening.

Friday’s Class B North quarterfinal meeting was the second in three weeks between the two teams. Unlike the first meeting, a 14-0 win for the Dragons, Brewer found the end zone. Both offenses were clicking early as the first two drives for each team resulted in touchdowns.

“They were just out-physicaling us up front,” said Dragons coach Dan Cooper. “They came to play. We had a hard time matching their firepower offensively.”

The Dragon offense looked sharp on the opening drive of the game, a methodical 67-yard possession that took almost half of the quarter. Brunswick was 4-for-4 converting on third-down chances on the drive. The Dragon offense went to Cam Hathaway on the ground early, who picked up five- and six-yard gains in third-down situations. The drive was capped off by big back Donald Bromiley’s bruising 16-yard run to the end zone for the touchdown.

The Witches responded with their own ground game and aggressive play calling. Needing one yard, Brewer went for it on fourth down. Quarterback Gene Turner picked up the just enough, and the gamble paid off as Turner closed the drive with another 1-yard dive to tie the game, 7-7.

“We told them that Brewer’s a pretty good team and they’re capable of beating you,” said Cooper. “You better focus and have great days of practice and come ready to play. I felt we did that on offense, but we just didn’t do that on defense.”

Nate Girardin swung momentum in Brunswick’s favor in the second quarter with two electrifying touchdown runs. The Dragons running back totaled 119 yards on his two scores alone. The first was a 63-yard dash to open the quarter as Girardin found a hole and weaved through the Brewer defense and ran relatively untouched for the score.

After Brewer responded with a 67-yard touchdown drive that took 6:19 off the clock, Girardin struck again on just his second carry of the quarter. Girardin bounced outside for a 56-yard dash down the sideline to put the Dragons on top for good, 21-13.

“Nate’s a heck of a player. He’s got speed to burn,” said Cooper. “We haven’t executed well many times this year, but we did on those two long runs that he had. That was huge for us.”

Girardin credited his teammates execution on the plays, and wanted to pick up his backfield counterpart that left the game with an injury.

“Credit the lineman, they reached their blocks,” said Girardin. “They’re just working hard. We all just had to keep our heads up. Everybody was poised and we came out and did it.”

Brunswick’s defense came to life in the second half, forcing a punt on Brewer’s opening drive. On the Witches’ second possession, pressure on quarterback Brandon Glidden led to a Chandler Coombs interception.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Dragons struck early in the fourth. Quarterback Noah Goddard connected with Tyler Nadeau for a 19-yard strike. Nadeau made a nice adjustment, coming back around his defender while the ball was in the air to give the Dragons a 28-13 lead with 11:48 left to play.

“I think we wore them down,” said Cooper. “It seemed like as the game went on they started to wear down a little bit and our kids fed off the momentum.”

Coombs picked off his second pass of the game later in the quarter as the Witches tried to claw back into the game. Nick Munn shut the door on Brewer, carrying two defenders with him on a 7-yard run to the end zone. The Brunswick defense kept the Witches off the scoreboard in the second half to finish off the 35-13 win.

The third-seeded Dragons face No. 2 Cony in a Class B North semifinal this upcoming Friday. The game has been moved to Lewiston High School, as Cony’s field is unplayable.

Two weeks ago at Brunswick, the 7-1 Rams rolled to a 30-6 win over the Dragons.

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