HB basks in win to clinch playoffs

With fireworks going off on the hilltop overlooking Korcoulis Field, Queen’s “We Are The Champions” blaring over the PA system and fans lining the field in applause, the players and coaches of the Hollis Brookline High School football team gathered in one end zone for a postgame huddle and soaked in the moment Saturday.

On a picture-perfect fall day, the Cavaliers turned in what may have been their best effort of the year – certainly their most timely – as they beat Monadnock Regional of Swanzey Center, 23-14.

The win clinched a berth in the upcoming Division II playoffs and was the first victory at home for the Cavaliers (4-4) in two years. Wiped away was the residue of their loss to ConVal the week before.

“Our goal in practice was to put the last week behind us,” HB coach Chris Lones said. “I told the kids that this week was about giving the seniors some good memories.”

Consider it done, with no one having a more memorable day than Joe Brooks. The senior caught touchdown passes of 39 and 7 yards from Patch Zorn and ran back an interception 60 yards for another score.

The one low point was the loss of main running back Matt Ferenczhalmy. The senior re-injured his right shoulder in the first half and didn’t return.

Lones is hoping to have him back when the playoffs start in two weeks.

The Cavaliers are headed back to the playoff for the first time since these seniors were freshmen. They stamped their ticket by grabbing the second seed in the West Conference.

The Cavaliers led 10-0 over Monadnock at halftime.

They scored the first time they touched the ball, moving 66 yards in five plays, with Zorn connecting with Brooks on pass plays of 23 and 39 yards in the drive. They also scored the second time they had possession, this time on a 26-yard field goal by Cole Owens.

Zorn – who was back after missing a game – and Brooks connected five times for 174 yards.

All but one went for at least 23 yards, including an eye-catching 69-yard catch-and-run effort by Brooks.

“They were putting 11 in the box,” Zorn said. “On every seam play, there was someone wide open.

Brooks’ interception return made it 16-0 with 5:36 left in the third quarter. The Huskies got on the board with 9:49 left in the game on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Deion Russell to Bailee Johns, but the Cavaliers answered on their next possession.

HB went 57 yards on nine plays and overcame two penalties, one that negated a touchdown. The Cavaliers appeared stalled inside the 10, but Zorn found Brooks crossing along the back of the end zone on fourth-and-7 to make it 23-6 with 4:23 left.

Wyatt Farwell, who stepped in for Ferenczhalmy had 60 of his 65 rushing yards on that drive.

It was the most points HB has scored all season and only the second time they put up more than 13 points on the board.

“It’s the first time all year that everyone stepped up and we played as a unit,” Zorn said.

Monadnock got its final score 1:07 left when Russell hooked up with Hayden Putnam on a 20-yards pass play.