The Brookhaven High School football team held off a late rally by visiting Chillicothe to come away with a 29-27 victory in a Division III, Region 9 first-round matchup on Nov. 8.
The third-seeded Bearcats won their first playoff game since 2009 to improve to 9-1 and will face second-seeded and City League-rival Marion-Franklin in a regional semifinal Nov. 15 at a site to be determined.
The Red Devils — who defeated Dover 34-14 on Nov. 8 to advance — beat Brookhaven 27-2 on Sept. 6 to hand the Bearcats their only loss.
“Like I told (the team), you just won a playoff game over a 9-1 team,” Brookhaven coach Trevor White said. “Hats off to Chillicothe. They were everything we thought they’d be: tough, physical, disciplined, fight to the end. We knew it was going to be that kind of a game.”
The Bearcats trailed 14-10 after a first half that featured a combined seven turnovers from both teams. After Davon Grant’s 4-yard touchdown run with 5:15 left in the third quarter put Brookhaven in front 16-14, sophomore quarterback Macyah Fleming hit Asan Crego with a 67-yard scoring pass to make it a 23-14 with 49 seconds left in the third period.
Fleming — who was 10-for-21 passing for 254 yards — also hit Terry Barker with a 37-yard touchdown pass to give the Bearcats a 29-14 cushion with 10:47 to go.
Fleming had thrown just three interceptions during the regular season, but he was picked off three times in the first half.
The sixth-seededd Cavaliers (9-2) made things interesting down the stretch, however. D.J. Vinson made a one-handed catch for a 19-yard touchdown from Ryan Mathis with 8:54 remaining to make it 29-21.
With just over three minutes left, Fleming made a mistake deep in his own territory while attempting to punt. On fourth-and-8 from his own 12-yard line, Fleming bobbled the snap and was brought down at the 7-yard line.
Daiquan Hall’s 1-yard run for Chillicothe on fourth-and-goal made it a two-point game with 1:36 left. But on the two-point conversion attempt, the Cavaliers’ Jalen Mischal couldn’t haul in a pass from Mathis in the left back corner of the end zone.
The Bearcats fielded the ensuing pooch kick and ran out the clock to advance.
Markel Cain had a 36-yard touchdown run and a 95-yard kickoff return in the first half for Chillicothe.
David Peoples opened the game for Brookhaven with a 6-yard touchdown run, and Ceesay Abass added a 33-yard field goal in the opening half.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am of these kids” White said. “We knew we were in for a four-quarter slugfest.”
B--Peoples 6 run (Abass kick)
C--Cain 36 run (Weber kick)
B--Abass 33 FG
C--Cain 95 kickoff return (Weber kick)
B--Grant 4 run (kick blocked)
B--Crego 67 pass from Fleming (Abass kick)
B--Barker 37 pass from Fleming (kick failed)
C--Vinson 19 pass from Mathis (Weber kick)
C--Hall 1 run (pass failed)