Brunswick School

Brunswick football team tops Avon Old Farms on Senior Night behind three touchdown runs by Bryce Davis; Bruins improve to 7-1 with seventh straight win

Photo by David Fierro: Bryce Davis of Brunswick School powers through a tackle on his way to scoring a touchdown against Avon Old Farms School in a football game held on Nov. 7, 2022. Blocking for him are William Janis (No. 63) and Matthew Augustine (No. 58).

The winning streak is seven and counting for the Brunswick School football team.

And victory No. 7 was a Senior Night special for the Bruins.

Brunswick moved a significant step closer toward solidifying a NEPSAC championship bowl berth with a win against one its main rivals, a team it always has close, back-and-forth battles with – Avon Old Farms School.

The 2021 season saw the Bruins edge Avon Old Farms on the road in the game’s final minute and Saturday night’s matchup was also a nailbiter decided late in the fourth quarter.

Junior Bryce Davis ran for three touchdowns and the defense was on point again for Brunswick in its 20-16 comeback triumph against Avon Old Farms School at crowded Cosby Field.

Photo by David Fierro: Bryce Davis helped lead the Brunswick football team past Avon Old Farms.

With its seventh consecutive victory, Brunswick ran its overall record to 7-1. Should the Bruins beat Trinity-Pawling School on the road on Friday, they will be in prime position to play in a NEPSAC Championship Bowl game, as they did in 2021.

“It was a phenomenal game,” Brunswick first-season coach Wayne McGillicuddy said. “We had a phenomenal Senior Day ceremony. We were able to honor our 25 seniors. This was their last game they will play at Cosby Field, so it was a very emotional game.”

The Bruins held a 7-0 lead following Davis’ short touchdown run in the first quarter, then the Winged Beavers closed to within 7-3 when junior Byran Hornyak converted a 35-yard field goal with 31.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Photo by David Fierro: Avon Old Farms’ Jackson Harper returns a kickoff for a touchdown against Brunswick.

Avon Old Farms wasted little time in taking the lead in the third quarter thanks to Jackson Harper. The speedy senior returned the kickoff to begin the second quarter 99 yards for a touchdown, as he found a seam, cut right and sprinted down the right sideline all the way to the end zone. A bad snap on the ensuing point-after-attempt prevented Avon from making the extra point and it held a 9-7 edge on the Bruins 16 seconds into the third quarter.

The Bruins responded though in front of their spirited home crowd. A pair of big runs by Davis keyed a drive of more than 70 yards that was capped by Davis’ 4-yard run through the left side, in which he broke a pair of tackles on his way to bulling his way into the end zone at the 6:48 mark of the third quarter, making it 9-7 – the PAT was blocked.

“When my name is called, I’m not going to scare away from anything, I go out and get it,” Davis said of his heavy workload against Avon Old Farms. “It’s a great team win for us, it feels great. I can’t put it into words.”

Brunswick quarterback Elijah Cromartie gets ready to pass while receiving blocks from Miles Walker (No. 76) and William Janis (63) during second-half action against Avon Old Farms School on Nov. 5, 2022, at Brunswick.

The lead changed hands again though, courtesy of that man again, Jackson Harper. This time, Harper returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards, down the left sideline, stunning the Bruins and giving the Winged Beavers a 16-13 advantage with just over six minutes left in the third quarter.

Seeing the opposition return two kickoffs for touchdowns can be deflating and demoralizing for teams, yet it didn’t get the Bruins down.

Instead, Brunswick embarked on the game’s go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. Bruins junior quarterback Elijah Cromartie completed key passes for first downs to senior tight end/captain Riley Gilsenan, senior wide receiver Jason Agudelo and senior wideout/captain Tomas Delgado, putting the team deep in the red zone.

Once again, Davis, the Bruins’ leading rusher capped the scoring drive. He ran through a sizeable hole through the right side for a score. Sophomore Oliver Reynolds kicked the extra point, giving the team team a 20-16 lead with 7:56 to go in the fourth quarter.

Brunswick coach Wayne McGillicuddy addresses the team following a crucial 20-16 win over visiting Avon Old Farms School.

“That was just grit right there,” Davis said of his third touchdown. “My O-linemen made a good path, I found a hole and jumped in there.”

Brunswick’s offensive linemen – senior Miles Walker, junior Matthew Augustine, senior William Janis, junior Jadon LaFontant and Patrick O’Connor – protected Cromartie well against the Winged Beavers formidable defensive line and gave Davis room to run.

“It was tough their linemen were strong,” said Walker, a senior left tackle/captain who is headed to Ohio State University. “We started off pretty slow, but like we do with most teams, we started to increase our tempo and we just kept running and running and running and tired them out. That’s how we were able to score.”

“We knew if we won today, we would have a pretty good shot of making a top bowl game,” Walker continued. “But we knew if we lost it would be tougher, so it means a lot. It feels great, we all worked hard, we put in the hours at practice and it showed it on the field.”

McGillicuddy was impressed with the execution the offense displayed.

“Bryce and our entire offensive line have been getting better day-and-day-out,” McGillicuddy said. “It’s nice when you have a quarterback who is making good decisions and being smart. We had a lot of RPOs in and it’s one of those where they are trying to take what they give us. When you let No. 2 run wild and you have a good offensive line that opens holes, they just jell together. Our offensive line has been playing really well, along with our tight ends. We rotate six offensive linemen and two tight ends and they play for the guys next to each other.”

Brunswick offensive lineman Miles Walker helped anchor the team’s strong offensive performance against Avon Old Farms.

Brunswick’s defense slowed down yet another offense. Avon Old Farms freshman quarterback Kharon Craig already has numerous Division I offers, including Georgia. The Bruins’ defensive backs effectively slowed down the Winged Beavers’ passing attack with tight coverage throughout.

On Avon’s last drive in the fourth quarter, a drive in which they attempted to take the lead, senior defensive back Luke Michalik and junior defensive back Hudson Hausmann made key tackles, as did sophomore defensive back Ethan Long and senior defensive back Jackson Wolfram.

“We came into this game knowing it was all about playing as a team,” Michalik said. “We had energy, we had belief the whole night. They scored on two straight kickoff return for touchdowns, which can be demoralizing. But we came back both times. That’s credit to our offense and offensive line. They responded and I am so happy for our team. We played team defense and made plays when we needed to make plays. We were also good at containing their quarterback.”

Luke Michalik was one of Brunswick’s defensive standouts against Avon Old Farms.

Said McGillicuddy of the defense: “They are playing unbelievable. Coach (Sean) Stanley is making sure the guys are in a position to be successful. They are flying around and we are doing a good job of scheming guys up.”

Friday’s game against Trinity-Pawling marks Brunswick’s final regular season game. Then it’s on to the postseason for the Bruins.

“It feels amazing, this is a game that we’ve been looking forward to forever,” Gilsenan said. “To get that win means the world to the whole team. Our defense came up really clutch. Jackson Wolfram did a great job, specifically. Our O-line did great, we got the ball to Bryce and he just ran down the field.”

“We are 7-1, so this puts us in a really good spot for the title game, so it’s a really good win,” Gilsenan continued. “I can’t ask for anything else, it’s such an amazing experience to be a part of this team.”

Brunswick edged Avon Old Farms, 20-16, at Cosby Field.

Prior to the game, Brunswick paid tribute to its 25 seniors.

“They are phenomenal, they are the heartbeat of Brunswick football,” McGillicuddy said of the squad’s seniors. “All 25 of them are phenomenal leaders and I’m so lucky to coach such a great group of guys.”

Riley Gilsenan is one of the Brunswick School football team’s senior captains.

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