The Brighton Bengals and Olympus Titans put their “friendly rivalry” to the test Friday night in an important Region 6 battle.
When it was over, Jack Johnson, Nash Matheson, Kace Gurr and the Bengals came out with the win, but it was the fans and rivalry that may have benefited most in an exciting 28-17 duel between the two schools separated by only a few miles and a freeway.
Johnson threw for three touchdowns, two to Matheson, and Gurr broke loose for 138 yards and a score, as Brighton overcame a pair of first-half turnovers and moved to 2-0 in region play — with another rivalry game in the same neighborhood at Skyline next week.
“In the second half, we really focused,” said Brighton coach Casey Sutera, who is 4-1 overall in his first year. “The kids didn’t get down when we left some points off the scoreboard early. It’s always tough to win here (at Olympus) and it puts us in really good shape as we go into the meat of our schedule.”
Johnson completed 13 of 19 passes for 221 yards. Most importantly, he didn’t have an interception. He teamed with Matheson, who had five catches for 137 yards. Besides the two scores, Matheson also snagged a 40-yarder down the sideline in the fourth quarter that led to Brighton’s clinching score.
Olympus (3-3, 1-1) only seemed to stop the Bengals by forcing turnovers, and they grabbed two in the first half. The first led a a 52-yard field goal by Will Rigby that gave the Titans their only lead, 3-0, in the first quarter.
Olympus trailed 14-3 by halftime, but got their home fans back in the game when quarterback Chase Moseley led them on a 80-yard, 20-play drive that ate eight minutes of clock and included five third-down conversions.
After the teams trade possessions, Brighton retaliated when Johnson led the Bengals on a long drive that ended on an 8-yard scoring run by Gurr, the only Bengal ball carrier all night.
“We never lost our confidence,” Johnson said. “I’ve only lived here a short time, but all of our guys know them (the Titans) and we all know what we can do. We kept lifting up each other, and kept lighting up the scoreboard.”
The game also had another highlight. With 7:47 left in the game, the lights went out on on the northeast side of the Olympus stadium. After a short discussion, the officials and coaches agreed to play the rest of the game only on the south side of the 50-yard line.
Brighton led 28-17, but Olympus kept the pressure on, barely missing a long touchdown throw by Moseley. The Olympus signal-caller, however, left the game with an ankle injury shortly afterward and was clearly limping as the teams gathered for the post-game handshake.
Johnson completed 18 of 30 passes for 185 yards passing. Charlie Sherwood was his favorite target, with eight catches for 136 yards. Rigby also had an impressive night with his long field goal, and long kickoffs that prevented any Brighton returns.