Brewster, Darlington’s junior quarterback, went 9 of 16 for 191 yards passing and three touchdowns in the non-region contest, while Kolin Rogers had 23 carries for 84 yards and scored two more TDs for the Tigers.
Darlington was down 14-7 midway through the second quarter but rallied for 35 straight points on Pepperell’s home field. Roth Wilcox caught two of Brewster’s touchdown passes, while Tommy Atha Jr. returned an interception 62 yards for a score with 4:29 left in the game to set the final.
The Dragons’ Gage Moses threw for 74 yards and a touchdown in his first varsity game as a starter, but the sophomore was pinned up in the second half and threw three interceptions.
Darlington (1-0) began its comeback with Brewster leading the charge with a 10-yard run and a 14-yard pass to Karsen Swiger on a drive in the second quarter, both plays converting on third-and-long.
Brewster then found Wilcox on the left side of a fourth-and-5 pass and the senior maneuvered his way into the end zone. Then Brewster switched roles and caught a pass from Rogers on the two-point conversion to tie the game 14-14 with 1:42 left in the half.
The first play of the next drive saw Moses’ pass picked off by Darlington’s Cam Watson, and the ensuing possession saw the Tigers convert on a fourth-and-4 before settling for an 18-yard field goal from kicker Alex Liddle with nine seconds on the clock to give Darlington its first lead, 17-14.
Pepperell (0-1) took its biggest lead of the night after Brewster fumbled on Darlington’s second drive of the second quarter and Josh Ross recovered it on the Tigers’ 12-yard line. Moses hit Ross on a 15-yard strike four plays later for the 14-7 Dragons lead.
Camron Miles put Pepperell on the board with the last play of the first quarter as he ran around to the right and into the end zone from 9 yards out. Kicker Ramiro Alanis made the extra point to put the Dragons ahead 7-6.
Pepperell had three unsuccessful drives to start the second half before Atha had his pick-six, but seemed to get into a rhythm on the following drive as Moses and Daren Pasley worked to move the Dragons down the field after having to start on their own 1.
But after marching down to the Tigers’ 31, a downfield pass from Moses went off of the hands of Darlington’s Frank Manning and was caught by Casey Gunn to end Pepperell’s last threat at scoring.
The game was the first time the two local programs had met in a regular season game in 10 years.
Darlington will be in action next Friday as the Tigers visit another region 7-AA team in Coosa. Pepperell is off and will pick its schedule back up on Aug. 31 at Pickens.