CLEVELAND — Is Brunswick finally back?
It certainly appears that way.
The sixth-seeded Blue Devils ended more than a decade of misery Friday night with their first win in a playoff game since 2008, beating the Jackson Polar Bears 35-14. It was the postseason opener in a season that allowed all teams to participate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brunswick (5-2) hadn’t been to the playoffs period since 2014, but on this night they asserted their will almost from the get-go. Ethan Fritz had two touchdown passes and ran for another, and Brandon Koenig scored twice to build a 35-7 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
No. 11 Jackson (2-5) tied the game at seven early, but two costly interceptions (one by Kyle Scherette, who also had a touchdown catch) helped the Blue Devils build a sizable lead. The Polar Bears cut it to 14 with plenty of time remaining thanks to two Jayden Baker touchdowns, but Andrew Haber basically ended things with a 56-yard dash to the end zone.
It was an emotional night for Brunswick, as the community was still mourning the death of longtime coach and teacher Tom Fasko earlier in the day. Fasko was the Blue Devils’ head coach from 1988-96, and led them to the Division I state championship game in 1995.
Brunswick will head to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium next week for a second round matchup with third-seeded Canton McKinley, while Jackson’s season ends still without a playoff win since 2001.
Re-listen to Dave "Dino" DeNatale's entire call of the game in the player below, & scroll down to get more scores from around Northeast Ohio: