A stingy and stellar defensive effort and a couple of well-executed pass plays were the difference as Brookfield knocked off Lawson, 20-7, in the opening round of the Class 2 district football playoffs.

The Bulldogs got off to a slow start and trailed the Cardinals, 7-0, midway through the second quarter, but Shady McCormick's 53-yard catch-and-run got the 'Dogs rolling. Colton Parn hit the senior tight end over the middle, and Shady did the rest, rumbling into Cardinals' territory. Kendrell Carter capped the drive with a 13-yard burst up the middle, racing untouched into the end zone.

Trailing 7-6, momentum still in the balance, and the Cardinals driving near midfield minutes before halftime, the Bulldogs' defense made its presence felt. Sophomore safety Kameron Perry delivered a punishing blow, forcing a fumble recovered by Carter at the Brookfield 43. The turnover led to a designed Trayce Switzer-to-Colton Parn-to-Peyton Parn lateral and pass play for 41 yards to the Cards' 12-yard line. Devan Parn ended the drive with a touchdown plunge, giving the Bulldogs a 12-7 lead at the half.

A Parn connection, Colton to Peyton, midway through the third period ended all doubt, as the duo linked for a TD on a 21-yard run-pass option play.

The Cardinals had no answer for a defense that held them to 127 total yards and only 17 passing yards. Perry led the charge with 12.5 tackles, one for loss, two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups, while Jake Gladbach collected 10.5 tackles. Peyton Parn had 6.5 tackles (1 PBU); Devan Parn had six tackles; Kendrell Carter had 5.5 tackles (1 PBU); Switzer had 3.5 tackles; and Colton Parn (sack), Cooper Holland and McCormick each had three tackles. Senior defensive back John Walgren snagged an interception and had two pass break-ups.

The Bulldogs (6-4) visit unbeaten East Buchanan (9-0) in Friday's semifinal game.

-Dennis Hughes

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