WATSON — University found itself on the ropes, behind by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter against Live Oak.
But Nick Brossette wasn’t concerned. The sophomore running back kept his poise and broke free for touchdown runs of 8, 42 and 28 yards in the final quarter to pace the Cubs to a 26-14 nondistrict win Friday night.
Brossette finished with 158 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts, pushing him past the 700-yard mark halfway through the season.
“Our offensive line stepped up big in the second half,” Brossette said. “I was just able to get some good runs when my team needed me. I think we stayed physical and wore them down in the end. We have to put this behind us and move on and get ready for next week.”
Cubs coach Chad Mahaffey said the win should give University (4-1), ranked No. 5 in Class 2A, some momentum.
“The biggest thing tonight was that we overcame adversity, and we kept our focus and did what we needed to do to come out with the win,” Mahaffey said. “We made a few mistakes, and we knew Live Oak was a tough opponent, but we kept our composure and didn’t panic when we had our backs against the wall.”
He credited the offensive line and Brossette for their tenacity.
“It wasn’t pretty at times, but both teams fought hard,” he said. “Nick is our main guy and we’re going to continue to ride him. It took us a while to get things going tonight, but I’m proud of him and our offensive line for fighting through to the very end. We hope this experience will help us down the road.”
The Eagles (3-2) fell behind in the first quarter after missing a prime scoring opportunity early in the game. Defensive back Gage Lockwood intercepted a pass near midfield and ran it back to U-High’s 30-yard line.
The Cubs defense held firm, however, and forced the Eagles to attempt a 30-yard field goal that fell short of the mark.
U-High responded with an 11-play scoring drive to take the lead late in the first period. Quarterback Nik Kragthorpe hit Jarrod Franklin for a 17-yard gain to get the drive started, and Brossette carried four times to set up a 15-yard scoring pass from Kragthorpe to D’Vante Dotson.
LOHS got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when Wesley Howard pulled in a pass from quarterback Michael Claverie in the left corner of the end zone. The Cubs blocked the extra point to hold on to a 7-6 lead.
Live Oak coach Tut Musemeche said he was encouraged by his team’s first half performance.
“I thought we were outplaying them for most of the game, but they’re a great ballclub and they’re very well coached and they played an outstanding game there at the end,” he said.
Live Oak pushed its first possession of the second half all the way to U-High’s 2-yard line with the help of a 22-yard gain by Chris Kelly. But the Eagles failed to score on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
Eagles defender Brandt Wheeler surprised the guests on the next play when he pulled down Brossette in the end zone for a safety as the Eagles took an 8-7 lead with three minutes to play in the third period.
The Eagles took advantage of another scoring opportunity when Jonathan Guidry blocked a punt to give Live Oak the ball at the Cubs 11.
Three plays later Claverie found Jarrett Williams to give the hosts a 14-7 lead before Brossette scored three straight TDs.
Brossette barreled in from the 8-yard line on U-High’s next possession, but the conversion was botched and Lockwood intercepted the ball in the end zone as the Eagles preserved a 14-13 lead with 10 minutes to play.