The Brighton Bulldogs had their 2018 season end at the hands of East Kentwood in the first round of the playoffs. This year, they returned the favor in the district finals round, defeating the Falcons 48-26 to earn their first district title since 2005.
East Kentwood marched all the way down the field on their first drive, reaching the Brighton four yard line. They were unsuccessful on their fourth down conversion attempt, turning the ball over on downs. Brighton responded with a ninety six yard touchdown drive, capping it off with a thirty one yard run by Colby Newburg. This gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage after the first quarter of play.
In the first minute of the second quarter, Brighton scored another touchdown. They drew up a trick play that saw a double reverse end up in a two yard touchdown run by John Aurandt. On the ensuing kickoff, East Kentwood fumbled the football. This left Brighton with great field position, just outside the East Kentwood thirty yard line. A few plays later, Newburg scored his second touchdown of the year on a one yard run. East Kentwood was able to respond with a touchdown drive of their own, as Joshua Ledesma ran in their first score of the game. Newburg’s third touchdown, a seven yard run, gave Brighton a 28-6 halftime advantage.
Midway through the third quarter, East Kentwood got the first touchdown of the half. Christian Tanner got the first touchdown of the half when he had a successful quarterback sneak from a yard out. Brighton immediately responded with a fourth touchdown of the game by Newburg to make it 34-12. On the last drive of the third quarter, East Kentwood got another touchdown when Tanner threw an eighteen yard touchdown to Jaylen Smith. This left the Falcons within striking distance, just trailing by two scores.
Immediately in the fourth quarter, Brighton got another touchdown. A thirty one yard run by Newburg, his fifth touchdown of the game, made it 41-18 in favor of the Bulldogs. Tanner brought the lead back down to fifteen when he ran four yards for a touchdown. Brighton officially put it out of reach with five minutes to play when Carson Billig ran twelve yards for a touchdown.
With the victory, Brighton is onto the regional finals. Next weekend, they will host Hudsonville. The Eagles reached this round by defeating Grand Haven on Friday night by a 35-7 margin. The Bulldogs and Eagles are both hoping for their first trip to the semifinals since 2005.