Despite having several scoring opportunities, the Brookfield football team couldn't punch one in against Centralia on Friday night, falling 34-0 on the road.
The Bulldogs now sit at 1-4, and fourth-ranked Centralia remains undefeated.
Brookfield's defense held its ground, not allowing any scoring in the first quarter. The Panthers then exploded for a three-touchdown third quarter. Trailing by just two scores with a minute remaining in the half, a big hit caused a Bulldog fumble that gave the Panthers a gift of a touchdown entering the halftime break.
"We did a really good job of stopping their run, but they hurt us with some formations that we didn't expect," Brookfield head coach Scott Stevens said. "We had some blown coverages and some miscommunications that allowed two of their big passes early on. Those are things we definitely have to clean up going into next week."
Like last week's Lexington game, Brookfield could have been in striking distance entering the half before something flukey put the Bulldogs in a nearly insurmountable position with 24 minutes remaining. Brookfield also turned the ball over on downs inside the Centralia 20 twice, one of those coming at the three yard line.
Of the Bulldogs' six seniors, only three are currently healthy enough to make an impact. With such a young team, Stevens believes that the Bulldogs still have plenty of time to learn how to play all four quarters.
"Obviously, it's tough, but we've got to keep fighting for one another," Stevens said. "It starts this week with homecoming against a Highland team that's been putting up a lot of points, but at the same time, we think we can use it to propel ourselves moving forward. We know we're a good football team.
"We actually had a lot more of our guys healthy tonight than we thought we would. A bunch of our guys aren't necessarily 100 percent, but then again, nobody is totally 100 percent at this time of the year."