Simpson County Cougars shut down BA campaign
Published 6:00 am Monday, November 19, 2001
MENDENHALL – In what can only be described as a defensivestruggle the Brookhaven Academy Cougars saw their dream season cometo an end here Friday night in the first round of the Class AAstate playoffs with a 14-0 loss at the hands of the powerfulSimpson County Academy Cougars.
“We just couldn’t move the ball against their defense. They werebig and strong up front,” said Brookhaven Academy head coach RayIshee.
Simpson (10-2) advances to the South State AA championship gameand plays Oak Forest (10-1) Friday night, at Amite, La.
At the start of the game it looked like it might a good nightfor the Brookhaven Academy Cougars as they forced Simpson to turnthe ball over on there first three drives of the game. However theCougars were not able to move the ball on SCA’s defense.
On Simpson’s first drive, the ball was turned over whenBrookhaven’s Paul Coker fell on a fumble at the BA 14-yard line. BAwas forced to punt but the Cougars regained possession of the ballon Simpson’s very next play when sophomore linebacker JonathanWatts made an impressive, diving, one-handed interception ofSimpson’s Lance Sasser.
Once again BA failed to capitalize on the turnover and wasforced to punt. On its next possession, Simpson’s offense sawanother impressive drive end with a turnover when Chad Lagronerecovered Lyle Stewart’s fumble on the BA 36-yard line. For the 3rdtime in the 1st quarter the Brookhaven offense would take overafter a Simpson turnover and for the third time they were forced topunt.
“We needed to get something from one of those turnovers, ” Isheesaid.
At the beginning of the 2nd quarter, Simpson put together aturnover-free drive that they had been looking for. Senior runningback Lyle Stewart shouldered most of the load on the 16-play drive.On his 11th carry of the drive, Stewart burst into the end zonefrom 6 yards out to put the SCA Cougars on the board. Bradley Blairkicked the PAT and with 3:40 left in the half Simpson led 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Brookhaven got a much-needed spark whenjunior wingback Will Rushing ran the ball to the Simpson 32-yardline. The Cougar offense failed to pick up the first down and BAwent into halftime trailing 7-0.
For a team to gain zero first downs in the first half and onlytrail 7-0, the BA Cougars had to feel fortunate with their positionto start the second half. However BA got exactly what they didn’tneed when Simpson’s Barron Smith picked off Ben Davis in SCAterritory.
Simpson’s offense put together the final scoring drive of thenight. The 7-play drive was capped off when Stewart scored hissecond TD; this one from 2 yards out. The PAT was good and SCA ledBA 14-0 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
The remainder of the game saw both teams swap possessions withneither school able to put together a sustained drive. BA moveddeep into Simpson territory late in the 3rd frame but a turnoverstopped that drive.
SCA was content to run the ball and keep the clock going,thereby killing any chances of a BA comeback.
Adam Smith was BA’s leading rusher with 13 yards on 2 carries.Simpson’s offense was led by Stewart who carried the ball 36 timesfor 188 yards and two TDs. Stewart was followed by junior BoyceeVarnes with 14 rushes for 115 yards.
Leading BA in tackles was senior linebacker Blake Killingsworthwith 16. Jonathan Watts added 13 stops, Jeffrey Waycaster made 9,and Chad Lagrone had 8 tackles.
“I’m thankful to get to work with such a good group of kids,”said Coach Ishee. “Our kids played hard tonight but we just came upshort. I really enjoyed getting to coach these seniors. They are aspecial group of young men.”
With the loss BA ends Ishee’s first season with the school’sbest ever record of 10-2.
0 – 0
Simpson, Lyle Stewart 6 run (Blair kick)
Simpson, Lyle Stewart 2 run (Blair kick)