• Brightons' Ethan Hector stops a RePublic runner during the Cardinals' 51-0 win Thursday night in Brighton. Photo by Jeff Ireland

Thursday’s RePublic-Brighton football almost didn’t happen.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday night at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn. But when there was a problem getting officials for the game, it was moved to Thursday night in Brighton.

After a hot week of practice and installing a new offense, the Cardinals looked rejuvenated on a cool night. Seven different Brighton players scored touchdowns as Brighton broke a four-game losing streak with a convincing 51-0 win.

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“They needed that,” Brighton head coach Morgan Cruce said, referring to his players. “It’s good for those guys because it’s been difficult.”

After losing its top two quarterbacks (Cade Crowson and Bryan Bratcher) and leading rusher (Ty Stark) to injury, Cruce decided to change the Cardinals’ offensive scheme from a power spread run/pass option to a flexbone, and the changed yielded results.

“I told the guys that it was time to give ourselves an opportunity to compete, to distribute the ball and take control of the clock in our favor,” Cruce said. “That’s what we did … I can’t say enough about our guys. I was extremely proud of our guys to be able to translate that into execution on the field.”

Jakesteion Anthony (10 carries, 84 yards) scored on a seven-yard run to make the score 7-0 and Henry Taylor ran it in from 12 yards out to push the lead to 14-0. Late in the first quarter a 21-yard touchdown run by Josh South put Brighton ahead 21-0.

The second quarter was more of the same. After Sherman Brown scored on a 10-yard run and Brighton got a safety on a RePublic snap that went into the end zone, Pierce Mecham returned a kickoff 60 yards for a score and a 36-0 Brighton lead. Just before the half, Hunter Lampley hooked up with Jalen Terry for a 55-yard touchdown to push the lead to 44-0.

Brighton’s final score came on a 30-yard run by Aiden Potter.

The Cardinals’ defense was lights out, holding RePublic, a Nashville school which resurrected its football program this season after shutting it down in 2018, to just 39 yards of offense. A pair of Taylon Carpenter interceptions helped the cause.

Brighton (2-4) now turns its attention to Munford, which will host Brighton next Friday in a Region 8-5A game.

Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland

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