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Football: With Austin Brown out, Highland pulls off upset

Updated: November 21, 2012 6:14AM



GRIFFTH — The storyline coming into Friday’s Battle for the Erie-Lackawana Trail between Highland and Griffith was focused around the health of Griffith’s standout quarterback Austin Brown, who was ruled out before the game.

Highland took advantage of Brown’s absence with a 20-18 upset win, its first win over Griffith since 1999.

“We told the guys if we drew Griffith, we were going to win,” Highland coach Trent Grider said after the game. “We practiced like we were going to win this week.”

Both teams still featured explosive backs.

Highland’s La’Kice Brooks had back-to-back 16-yard runs to set up the opening score of the game.

Griffith’s offense ran through junior Justin Green, who got the bulk of the carries in Brown’s absence. He finished with 31 rushes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Green scored on a 55-yard touchdown for Griffith’s first TD of the game, and then added a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown that tied the game at 12-12 with 1:20 left in the second quarter.

The Trojans ran the ball very effectively, as well, as they racked up 109 rushing yards through two quarters. Brooks finished the game with 31 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns from 5 and 45 yards out.

With Griffith keying on Brooks each snap, Sean McQuillan got free for a 39-yard touchdown run. With a two-point conversion, the Trojans took a 20-12 lead.

The Panthers took the ensuing kickoff down to the Highland 5-yard line, and they scored on a Green 2-yard rush.

The Trojans defense came up with a monumental stop on the two-point conversion, stuffing Green for no gain and maintaining a slim 20-18 point advantage heading into the final frame.

Highland’s defense made a crucial stop on fourth down in its own territory, forcing a turnover on downs halting an impressive Panther drive.

The play of the night came on an Ian Hardy interception which sealed it.

Highland advances to the semi-final against West Side.



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