When Brunswick School junior quarterback Elijah Cromartie wasn’t throwing touchdown passes to senior wide receiver Jason Agudelo, he was connecting with senior wideout Tomas Delgado for scoring strikes during Saturday night’s showdown against Phillips Academy Andover.
Meanwhile, while the Bruins’ offense was flourishing, their defense was rock-solid as always.
Yes, it was another standout performance on both sides of the ball for the Bruins, who got the better of another Northeast Prep Division foe.
This time, it was Phillips Academy Andover that felt the power of Brunswick, which stretched its winning streak to five games with an impressive 35-14 win at Cosby Field.
Cromartie threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score in the victory, which saw Brunswick enter halftime with a 21-7 lead. Phillips Academy Andover, which hails from Andover, Massachusetts arrived late for the matchup, which was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., due to traffic. The game didn’t begin until approximately 6:50 p.m.
“We felt like they kind of disrespected us coming here late, so we just had a chip on our shoulder and we wanted to come out here with a win and please the crowd,” Cromartie said. “It was a great victory for our team.”
Jason Agudelo hauls in a TD catch from Elijah Cromartie. Click to watch the video.
Once again, another squad had trouble sustaining drives against Brunswick’s stingy defensive unit. Andover’s two touchdowns came off big pass plays, but the visitors didn’t generate many first downs and were forced to punt numerous times.
“We knew we they had a good receiver, No. 11, he knew we had to shut their passing game down over the top,” said Brunswick sophomore defensive back Ethan Long, who is having a stellar first season on the team. “And we definitely knew what their run plays were and that was the key. The blitzes, putting pressure on their quarterback – our defense worked together as a team always.”
Phillips Academy’s first drive stalled at its own 42-yard line due to a fumble, which the Bruins caused with solid tackling, which they exhibited throughout.
“We came out firing, we came out with a lot of energy,” said Brunswick senior defensive back Luke Michalik, who along with Long and junior Hudson Hausmann, helped paced the defensive backfield. “They had a couple of big plays, but besides that, we were fundamentally sound. We tackled well, I was really happy with how we played.”
Brunswick scored the game’s first touchdown. Following a 19-yard run from junior running back Bryce Davis, Cromartie dropped back to pass and delivered a great pass to Agudelo, who caught the ball in the left corner of the end zone with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Sophomore Oliver Reynolds converted the PAT and the Bruins took a 7-0 lead.
“I had a fade route and I just knew I had to run and not look back and worry about catching the ball afterward,” Agudelo said. “When I looked, I saw the ball go to my back shoulder, I had to turn and caught it right there.”
Phillips Academy Andover tied the score at 7-7 on the ensuing possession. Sophomore quarterback Davian McDonald threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to junior Kenneth Edwards, who broke away from the defense, evening the score with 10:49 left in the second quarter. The Bruins took the lead for good when Cromartie connected with Agudelo for another touchdown – this time in the back of the end zone from 12 yards out, midway through the second quarter.
“That was a slant route, I dove for the ball,” Agudelo said of his second touchdown reception. “I was just glad I was able to help out.”
Said Cromartie: “In practice, we have been working together, getting chemistry. I’ve been telling him where I expect him to be at, so we worked on it. He’s (Agudelo) been waiting for his turn, so I’m very happy for him.”
The Bruins added on to their lead late in the second quarter. Delgado, who is in the midst of an outstanding season, snared a touchdown pass from Cromartie from approximately 10 yards out, making it 21-7 with just 21.6 seconds to go in the second quarter.
“On the first touchdown, I had been split out on man-to-man coverage and he played off me about five yards and I broke out to the corner of the end zone,” said Delgado one of the team’s captains. “Elijah put it only where I can get it.”
Delgado was pleased to see Agudelo have a break-out type of performance.
“He’s always been a weapon of ours, but he’s been dealing with some injuries, so today he really came out and just played and it was awesome to see him like that,” Delgado said of Agudelo. “Elijah was reading his reads. When he saw man-to-man coverage, he was throwing it up to Jason and he was reading the zones well.”
In the second half, Brunswick’s defense made it a challenge for Phillips Academy to cut into its deficit. Brunswick junior linebacker Tommy Pope intercepted a McDonald pass and in the third quarter, Michalik registered a sack, while Long made several impressive tackles.
“Our defense flew around, had a lot of energy and made a lot of big plays,” Brunswick coach Wayne McGillicuddy said. “We just have to clean up the little mistakes. Ethan, our D-line, Luke, our linebackers were flying around making plays.”
Effective play in the secondary from Long, junior Blaine McClure, senior Jackson Wolfram and Hausmann helped stop Andover’s drive late in the second quarter. At the 9:03 mark of the fourth quarter, Delgado caught his second touchdown pass from Cromartie, making it 28-7.
“Delgado is a known presence around here,” Cromartie said of Delgado’s effectiveness. “We work on it in practice all week, the chemistry, we show.”
The Bruins again, were strong up front, with offensive linemen Miles Walker, an Ohio State University commit, Matthew Augustine, William Janis, Jadon LaFontant and Patrick O’Connor giving Cromartie time to throw, while opening up holes for Davis and fellow running backs Jaylen Noisette and Riley Redahan.
The Bruins had plenty of time to warm up for the game, since Andover was late arriving.
“We were just trying not to let the guys get stagnate and stale,” McGillicuddy said of the team’s long wait before the game. “We tried to keep them up, keep them moving, but also not have them exert too much energy in the beginning. That was tough. We battled adversity the entire game with penalties and luckily, we got out on the right side of the scoreboard.”
Cromartie reached the end zone on a 5-yard run with 3:57 remaining in the final quarter to cap the Bruins’ scoring. Phillips Academy (1-5) scored its second touchdown on a 75-yard pass play, with McDonald finding receiver Joseph Carrara for the score late in the fourth quarter.
Up next for Brunswick, which is 5-1 in Northeast Prep action, is a road game Friday night against longtime rival Cheshire Academy (3-3).
“We have Cheshire next week, so we have to work on hitting and tackling and get back to it,” Michalik said. “They’re really good, we had a dog fight with them last year and they’ve put up impressive results this year. We have to go up there Friday night and focus on the things we need to fix.”
“They’re a great team, but who doesn’t love competition,” Delgado noted. “They are one of the best teams we’re going to play. We’re going to have a great week of practice and it’s going to be awesome.”