Simpson Co. shuts down BA Cougars

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 26, 2002

MENDENHALL – The Brookhaven Academy Cougar football teamtraveled to Simpson County Friday night. They were looking to begintheir season with a win over the team that ended their highlysuccessful 2001 season, the Simpson County Cougars.

The host, red-clad Cougars would not be gracious hosts. Simpsonused a potent ground attack, led by sophomore tailback Dan Napier,to hammer out a hard-fought 19-3 win over Brookhaven Academy atLloyd S. Jones Field, before an estimated crowd of over 1,500fans.

Simpson had defeated BA 14-0 in the opening round of last year’sMPSA Class AA state playoffs. BA finished last year at 10-2.

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Brookhaven hosts Copiah Academy, while Simpson travels toWinston Academy at Louisville, Friday night. Game time is set for7:30 p.m.

Simpson (1-0) wasted little time in getting on the scoreboardwith their initial possession. Simpson went 68 yards in 4 plays atthe 10:14 mark of the opening frame. Napier capped with a 54-yardscoring burst. Justin Blair tacked on the PAT kick and Simpson led7-0.

BA (0-1) took its opening possession and promptly marched downto the Simpson 1-yard line. Two penalties and a Simpson defensivesack brought BA back to the Simpson 14, where a 29-yard field goalattempt by Landon Magee was blocked. Simpson carried a 7-0 leadentering the second period.

BA would get on the scoreboard as time expired in the firsthalf.

After a 39-yard interception return by BA defensive back JohnWayne Havard, BA went to work from the Simpson 46. QuarterbackCollins Case gained 15 yards and a first down to the Simpson 31with 1 second left on the clock. On the next play, Case was sackedfor a loss by Simpson’s Aaron Sullivan as time expired.

But a 15-yard facemask penalty on Sullivan gave BA afirst-and-ten at the Simpson 16. Magee nailed a 31-yard field goaand BA trailed Simpson 7-3 at the intermission.

“We didn’t tackle well tonight,” said BA head coach Ray Isheefollowing the game. “We didn’t do a good job of protecting ourquarterback.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Simpson used two time-consumingdrives to put this game out of reach.

Simpson, coached by Billy Wayne Hankins, capped off a 13-play,72-yard drive that claimed 6:38 off the clock. Quarterback BoyceeVarnes raced around right end with a 4-yard touchdown run. Blair’sPAT kick failed and Simpson led 13-3 with 9:05 left in thegame.

Simpson produced 318 yards of total offense, compared to only115 for BA. Simpson had 280 yards on the ground, while BA couldonly muster 20 yards on 26 carries.

Hankins’ team scored their final touchdown through the air atthe 3:23 mark of the fourth quarter. Varnes found tight end KenGarner with a 22-yard scoring pass. The conversion pass failed.Garner’s touchdown pass capped off a 9-play, 63-yard drive thattook 4 minutes off the clock. Key plays in the drive were firstdowns runs by Varnes, Napier and fullback Justin Duckworth.

“Our running backs ran hard tonight,” said Hankins after thegame. “They are both sophomores.” Hankins was referring to Napier,a 5-foot-9, 185-pound sophomore, who led all rushers with 164 yardson 19 carries and a touchdown. Duckworth carried 9 times for 50yards.

“Our offensive and defensive lines won the game for us tonight,”added Hankins.

Case led the BA offense, completing 5-of-11 passes for 95 yards.Case also had 13 yards on 15 carries. Cole Hodges caught 1 pass for32 yards. Will Rushing had 31 yards on 2 receptions.

“We played with them for three quarters,” added Ishee. “We havea good football team. We are going to get better.”

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Dusty Brattonpaced the BA Cougars with 10 tackles. Chris Falvey and Landon Mageemade 6 tackles apiece. Falvey also had 2 sacks. Hodges had a sack.Havard had an interception.