When Brentwood lost to Maranatha High of Pasadena five weeks ago in a football game that it led midway through the fourth quarter, 28-7, the chances of having a rematch seemed remote.
But it will happen Friday night, December 1 in a semi final CIF playoff game.
Brentwood continued its remarkable late season play by defeating second-seeded Boron, 14-6, on Friday, November 24, in a second round game played at Clark Field in Lakewood.
Of the four teams remaining in the division’s playoffs, three are from the Alpha League. In the other semifinal, Whittier Christian of the Alpha League will play top-seeded St. Margaret’s of the Academy League.
“All along I thought our league was the toughest in the division and it’s turning out that way,” said Brentwood Coach Patrick Brown.
But how did Brentwood rise from its lowest point of the season to compete with the division’s heavyweights?
“A lot of teams would have folded if they lost a big lead in the final six minutes like we did, especially in a home game,” said Brown. “With our team it was the opposite.
“Our practices have been good all season and they continued to be. And we started eliminating key penalties and winning games.”
Brentwood climbed back into the league race by defeating Whittier Christian. Brown began alternating quarterbacks Mason Moss and Josh Amster on every play, and Manny Benton emerged as a running back with the help of an improved offensive line.
But Brown knew Boron would present quite a challenge.
“Boron is a tough, physical team with a sound running game,” he said. “They were certainly deserving of being the No. 2 seed. If you know the statistics from our game you’d have a hard time figuring how we won. Boron had 20 first downs to our seven and ran 58 plays to our 28.”
But after Brentwood led, 7-6, and Boron executed a lengthy drive in a bid to go ahead, the key plays of the game occurred.
Boron had third and goal inside the Brentwood one-yard-line but failed to score. On fourth down it lost two yards. Brown didn’t single out any defenders, saying the entire defense combined to make the stop.
On the next play Benton took a handoff from Amster and ran 98 yards for a touchdown.
“Manny is big and fast,” said Brown. “He broke a couple of tackles, then picked up outstanding blocking from our receivers and others.”
The touchdown was too much for Boron to overcome.
Brown said he won’t emphasize the revenge factor against Maranatha in this week’s practices.
“We don’t get caught up in that,” he said. “They just happen to be the next opponent. Since we played, both teams have become a lot better and both deserve to be in the playoffs semifinals.”
For the second straight game, Brentwood will have the home advantage but must play at a neutral site because the CIF requires playoff games to be contested at night and Brentwood’s campus field doesn’t have lights.
“There was a nice Brentwood turnout last week,” said Brown. “A lot of alumni came back.”
Maranatha’s enrollment is about the same as Brentwood – in the range of 450.
Maranatha has an outstanding runner in Mark Love, an outstanding defensive line and quality linebackers.