By David Fleet
With just 1.8 seconds left on a cold, wet football field at Avondale High School—the Brandon Blackhawks etched their mark in school history when Conner Burke hit a 25-yard field goal capping a come from behind 45-44 win in the first round of the playoffs on Oct. 27.
“Avondale called time out,” said Brad Zube, Blackhawk head coach. “But Conner’s a soccer player they could not ice him. He was at ease—there was no doubt he was going to make that kick.”
The field goal capped off an epic Blackhawk drive down field to the Yellowjacket eight yard line.
“It was the first field goal we tried all year,” said Zube, now with a 15-5 record in two seasons as the Blackhawk head coach.
According to the Michigan High School Athletic Association its been 17 years since the Blackhawks won a playoff game. On Oct. 27, 2000 Brandon defeated Fenton 21-12 but lost Nov. 3 to Lapeer West 25-33.
The Blackhawks will travel to Fenton on Nov. 10 to take on Linden in the second round of the playoffs.
“We very much believe in our process,” said Zube. “We do things a differently—it’s not always pretty. We have kids that believe in the system, and in each other. They play as a family, they care about each other, plus we have some great players.”
The game at Avondale was not without highlights and a few lowlights, added Zube.
“We turned the ball over seven times and every turnover lead to points for the Yellowjackets,” he said. “If we don’t turn the ball over we don’t need that kick with just seconds left.”
While turnovers were a concern the Blackhawks rushed for 545 yards even with the wet conditions.
“The key to the season—these kids just don’t panic,” said Zube. “They have learned to step up and get the job done all season through a host of injuries.”
Check out thecitizenonline.com for score updates on Friday.
By David Fleet