NEW MILFORD — His team may have come up short, but football coach Larry Badaracco found plenty of positives to take away from the Green Wave’s 45-34 loss to Brookfield last week.

“Our feeling is always that we’re going to win,” Badaracco said. “The goal for us a coaching staff is to make sure our players know they always have the opportunity to win. When you get that close against that type of an opponent, it can go either way. It’s just the bounce of a football.”

Brookfield’s Andrew Collins did everything he could to squash New Milford’s late surge when he scored his fifth touchdown of the night with just over five minutes remaining.

With his team up by five in the fourth quarter and facing 4th-and-6, the senior back/receiver lined up for one more crucial carry.

“The best play we had was our sweep, and we thought if anybody was going to get six yards, he was going to get it,” Brookfield coach Rich Angerano said. “We tried it and he got us more than six.”

Collins took a sweep left to make it to the sticks, veered back to his right and put a wicked juke move on the last defender who had a chance. The 36-yard touchdown scamper with 5:16 remaining gave momentum back to the Bobcats.

“I told my linemen right before that I’m going to take this to the house,” Collins said. “I was definitely going to get that first down, if not the touchdown.”

With the game still scoreless late in the first quarter, Collins showed off his open field ability when he took a sweep left and got around the end before cutting back to his right.

Collins put a few nifty moves on some would-be tacklers and went into the end zone to give the Bobcats the lead with seven seconds left in the opening quarter.

On the second play of New Milford’s next possession, Tyler Hansen looked left and launched a deep pass for Jackson Olson.

Olson made the catch after shielding the defender, who fell down, and went untouched into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.

Three plays into Brookfield’s next possession, Collins took a handoff left and suddenly broke free into the secondary. Collins cut against the grain to avoid a defender, maintained his balance after nearly tripping over his blocker and extended the ball over the goal line while being tackled by his ankles.

That touchdown put Brookfield in front for good.

“I thought we did outstanding in our running game,” Angerano said. “Andrew Collins had 150 yards or more with five touchdowns, and Bobby (Drysdale) had close to 100 yards.”

Still up 14-7 in the second quarter and punting from midfield, Brookfield caught a break when the New Milford returner tried to make a fair catch on his own three and fumbled.

The Bobcats recovered at the six, and Collins scored his third touchdown on the very next play.

On its final possession of the first half, New Milford went 80 yards in 60 plays, a drive that culminated when Hansen threw deep right to Max Vaughey. Vaughey and the Brookfield defender deflected the ball back into the air, but Vaughey came down with it for six.

Brookfield got the ball back with just over a minute remaining in the half and went 42 yards on five plays (all runs) to set up Dane Borges for a 40-yard field goal.

Borges connected to give his team a 24-14 halftime lead.

Brookfield recovered New Milford’s surprise onside kick to start the third quarter, and Collins capped off the Bobcats’ drive with a four-yard touchdown run for the 31-14 advantage.

With his team needing a jolt, New Milford’s Ryan Christopher stole the ball from a Brookfield running back and raced 24 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Green Wave closed to within 31-26 on a two-yard carry to pay dirt by Hansen, but Brookfield scored the next 14 points to seal the win.

“We were methodically driving the ball down the field,” Hansen said. “I was able to get the ball out quick. We know we can score points. It’s just a matter of execution.”

New Milford (0-2) goes for its first win on Bunnell on Friday at 7 p.m. Twitter: @jchik17



7 17 7 14 — 45

New Milford

0 14 6 14 — 34

B—Andrew Collins 17 run (Dane Borges kick)

NM—Jackson Olson 75 pass Tyler Hansen (Chris Montalvo kick)

B—Collins 50 run (Borges kick)

B—Collins 6 run (Borges kick)

NM—Max Vaughey 23 pass Hansen (Montalvo kick)

B—Borges 40 field goal

B—Collins 4 run (Borges kick)

NM—Ryan Christopher 24 fumble return (run failed)

NM—Hansen 2 run (pass failed)

B—Collins 36 run (Borges kick)

B—Austin Reich 14 run (Borges kick)

NM—Vaughey 5 pass Hansen (Liam Kenney pass Hansen)

Records: Brookfield 2-0; New Milford 0-2