TWINSBURG: Every coach worries about the “Nightmare Scenario,” when the other team does virtually everything right and his players are helpless to stop it.
It rarely happens, but when it does, the evening feels like it will not end.
Manchester coach Jim France and his players lived the nightmare Friday night. Brookfield’s offense was unstoppable and the Warriors defeated the Panthers 55-14 in a Division IV regional semifinal at Twinsburg Stadium.
Panthers fans are used to watching quarterback Nick Peyakov torching defenses with his arm and legs. On this night, they watched Brookfield quarterback Jeremy Quinlan and running back Ryan Mosora take apart a solid Panthers defense.
Quinlan ran for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries and Mosora scored five touchdowns and rushed for 148 yards on 20 carries.
The Warriors had 508 yards in total offense, 460 of that on the ground.
“They just kicked our butts. We didn’t tackle very well,” France said. “The game plan was to keep them off the field because we knew they could score a lot of points.”
By the end of the first half, the Warriors had a 35-7 lead and had racked up 325 yards.
The Warriors (12-0) established their superiority on their first two drives of the game.
Brookfield opened the game with a 14-play, 73-yard drive that culminated with Mosora’s first touchdown, a 1-yard run.
It looked like the Panthers might match the Warriors when Peyakov completed a 32-yard pass to Chad Robertson, but the drive stalled.
A 69-yard run by Mosora set up the second Brookfield touchdown, a 7-yard run by Quinlan for a 14-0 lead.
On the next play from scrimmage, Peyakov launched a high, arching spiral that traveled 50 yards in the air to Robertson, who outran the defense to complete a 90-yard touchdown to trail 14-7.
That was as close as the Panthers got and the Warriors continued to march down the field with ease.
Mosora scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 7 yards in the second quarter, then intercepted a Peyakov pass and returned it 51 yards to the Manchester 19-yard line.
Four players later after a holding penalty, the elusive Quinlan scrambled 14 yards with a nice block from Mosora into the left corner of the end zone for a 35-7 lead 29 seconds before halftime.
France said the 8-4 team accomplished more than he could have expected of this group.
“Nick was about the only starter coming back. We got off to a 0-2 start and I told these guys they could go unbeaten through the regular season, though we did lose one game,” France said. “These kids played hard. We had hoped to go just a little bit farther in the playoffs.”
Peyakov’s final game in a Panthers uniform was a struggle. He completed 10-of-25 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns, most of it on the 90-yard throw to Robertson and a 70-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Hoxworth.
“Nick has been a great quarterback for us, taking us to three conference championships and three playoff appearances,” France said. “The way he kicks the ball into the end zone, punts and kicks field goals, someone in Division I could be missing out on a good kicker if they don’t get him.”
Robertson finished with four catches for 117 yards and Hoxworth had two catches for 88 yards.
Brookfield will play defending state champion Norwayne, a 54-7 winner over Youngstown Liberty in the other regional final, next Friday at a site to be announced.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.