GRAY — It took one play for the good times to return for the Brunswick football team.

Cam Beal’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Gerrish on the first down from scrimmage opened the floodgates for a potent connection between the two players, one that led Brunswick to a 54-26 victory over Gray-New Gloucester in the team’s first game as an eight-man football program.

The victory, however, had a deeper meaning for the players and coaches who celebrated afterward. The Dragons had been dogged by a hazing scandal that derailed their 2021 season, and then had to endure a winless 2022 in which they were outmanned on a weekly basis by their Class B opponents.

It had been 721 days since Brunswick won a football game, a number written on assistant coach George Hutnan’s marker board. In the postgame huddle, Hutnan crossed out the number and flung the board as far as he could, to the cheers of his players.

“It’s incredible,” said Beal, who finished 20 of 30 for 357 yards and five touchdowns. “It feels amazing. … It doesn’t matter if it’s eight-man, 11-man, if it’s flag football. We’re coming in to win. That didn’t really change the energy, but you felt it. It was more like ‘Let’s hammer down today. Let’s win.’ ”

Beal did most of his damage throwing to Gerrish, who finished with 11 catches for 274 yards and four scores.


“It was obviously a tough season last year but we stayed through it. Everyone was still here,” Gerrish said. “It pays off to see that scoreboard over there.”

Gerrish began the game in emphatic fashion for the Dragons, getting open behind the Patriots’ defense and hauling in a long pass down the seam. Gray-New Gloucester drove into the red zone on its next series but the drive stalled, and Beal found Liam Scholl (six catches, 60 yards) for a 12-yard touchdown on the next drive to make it 14-0.

The Patriots got an 8-yard run from Kobi Conant and a 75-yard screen pass connection from Conant to Ben Powell in the half, but they were offset by touchdown passes of 10 and 26 yards from Beal to Gerrish to help Brunswick to a 26-12 halftime lead.

“(Gerrish) was a baller. He was a force out there,” Patriots Coach Mike Caiazzo said. “No matter what we tried to do, our guys couldn’t keep up with him.”

Brunswick’s defense, anchored by lineman Hunter Duval, took over in the second half, while the Dragons’ offense pulled away. Gerrish had another 10-yard touchdown reception from Beal, while Scholl, Jimmy Cook and Beal had touchdown runs.

The Patriots managed a 10-yard touchdown pass from Conant to Nick Geer and a 70-yard touchdown run from Brady Castrucci. It wasn’t enough to chip away at the deficit, and the Dragons earned a feeling that had been a long time coming.

“They’re great kids but they didn’t believe in themselves,”said Mark Renna, the new Brunswick coach. “They’ve had nothing but negative. Well, now we’re trying to bring positive into the program.”

Friday night certainly helped.

“The work you put in, to not get anything out just because you’re smaller (was tough),” Beal said. “It means so much to get back on the field with the boys and love it, and just be able to capitalize on what we’re really made of.”

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