Brandeis senior running back Trinton Ynclan scored only once in the Broncos' 27-20 victory against rival O'Connor on Friday night, but his scintillating 69-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter was the difference in the District 27-5A thriller at Farris Stadium.
Ynclan, who missed the first two games of the season with a dislocated right elbow, ran through, over and around the Panthers' defense for 203 yards on 20 carries for a sparkling average of 10.2 yards a pop. Or, put another way, Ynclan averaged more than a first down every time he touched the ball.
A crowd of 9,827 watched Brandeis improve to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in 27-5A play, and O'Connor slip to 2-2 and 1-1.
"It was a really cool atmosphere between the two communities," Brandeis coach John Campbell said. "They got us last year and we got them this year. That's kind of what rivalries are all about. You'd like to see these games late in the year, but we had one now. It was neat. It was nice for us to be on top, but obviously they've got a real good team. It was good high school football."
Ynclan saved his best for last, scoring his only TD on the first play from scrimmage after O'Connor cut the Broncos' lead to 21-20 on a 36-yard field goal by Dillon Westall with 5:53 left.
Taking a pitch, Ynclan started around the left sideline before cutting inside after he crossed the 50 and outrunning the stunned Panthers to the end zone for the TD with 5:39 remaining.
"It was a toss and we were able to get outside on the edge," Ynclan said, describing the decisive play. "I was thinking about what the safety (Alan Wright) was going to do. So I kind of dipped in and dipped out and dipped back in, and got around it and ran as fast as I could."
Ynclan has rushed for 428 yards in only two games
Campbell was succinct when asked about Ynclan's TD run.
"Shoot, it was like a 2,000-pound something getting lifted off my back," he said.
Ynclan, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 23 TDs last season, hurt his elbow in Brandeis' preseason scrimmage against Judson last month. He has run for 428 yards on 46 carries, a 9.3 average, and scored four TDs since returning to the lineup last week.
Ynclan said he never doubted he would get back on the field after getting hurt.
"I stayed positive throughout the whole thing and was able to execute once I got back," he said. "We still have to take care of district first, but we want to see Steele again in the playoffs."
Steele beat Brandeis in the second round of the 5A Division II playoffs and advanced to the state finals last season.
Brandeis coach John Campbell laughed when he was asked if he's run out of adjectives to describe Ynclan's skills
"We're applying for a fifth year for him," Campbell said. "We're going to try to figure that out. I've said this for three years now. He's kind of what high school football is all about because he breaks all the stereotypes.
"He can do it all. He can catch, he can kick, he can punt, he's very competitive, he's a great student, he's a great young man. I'm proud to have him on our team, but he's one of those kids I'd be proud of if he was playing for somebody else."
Johnson, defense keyed Panthers' second-half rally
Brandeis led 21-10 at halftime, but O'Connor scored the first 10 points of the second half to pull within one before Ynclan broke the Panthers' hearts.
Led by running back Tre Johnson, who scored on a 2-yard run with 8:03 left in the third quarter, O'Connor outgained Brandeis 383-325 in total offensive yardage.
"We had our work cut out for us," Campbell said. "They are good offense, wow, and we knew that going in. It was just one of those deals where we needed to get a couple of stops.
"We wanted our offense to kind of play defense for us a little bit, score some points and possess the ball. O'Connor came out and stopped us a couple of times in the second half, and really made it interesting."
Ynclan spoke highly of Johnson, who finished with 81 yards rushing and caught four passes for 75 yards.
"Tre is like a brother," Ynclan said. "He's somebody you can compete with. There's always somebody who's pushing you. Maybe it's a teammate. Maybe it's somebody else on the other side of the field, but it's just great to have someone like that. He's a terrific athlete."
Johnson, a senior, returned the praise.
"He's a great guy and I follow what he does," Johnson said. "I try to compete with him as much as possible."
Gorman had key sack for Brandeis
Zach Galindo threw a 29-yard TD to Nate Phillips on the first possession of the game to give O'Connor its only lead. Brandeis tied it up the first time it got the ball, capping a seven-play, 74-yard drive with a 23-yard TD pass from Brian Chapman to Larry Stephens.
Dayden Wooster sprinted around right around for a 68-yard TD on the Broncos' next possession. The Panthers cut the deficit to 14-10 on Westall's 27-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.
Jonathan Robinson's 10-yard TD pass to Andrew Heft on an end-around play put Brandeis up 21-10 with 8:28 left in the first half.
O'Connor drove to the Broncos' 5 on the ensuing possession, but Johnson was thrown for a 6-yard loss on first-and-goal and tackle Isaac Gorman sacked Galindo for a 10-yard loss on the next play.
The Panthers got back to the 7 on a 14-yard pass from Galindo to Billy Craft on third-and-goal, but the scoring threat fizzled when Galindo threw incomplete on fourth down.
Westall converted two extra-point kicks and Robinson made 3 of 4 PATS.
Brandeis plays Stevens next Thursday night and O'Connor meets Jay on Friday night.
"We'll have a short week, so we're going to have to be ready," Ynclan said.