Upgraded menu tested BA football

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2002

The Brookhaven Academy Cougars battled through a tough,rebuilding year. With the graduation of fullback Adam Smith andquarterback Ben Davis last spring and a major upgrade in theDistrict 4-AA schedule, the Cougars had to change theiroffense.

Under the direction of second-year head coach Ray Ishee,Brookhaven Academy went to a passing offense and utilized the youngCougars team speed. They finished the season 2-8.

As Ishee explained, the record is not a true reflection of theseason.

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“I think the record is not really indicative of the footballteam compared to last year’s 10-1 team in the regular season,” saidIshee. “Our schedule changed. We played probably against the topfive teams in our division in the state. We had great effort fromour kids.

“This district in AA football is like the SEC of the privateschools,” continued Ishee. “It is real good. The Louisiana schoolsare real football oriented. They concentrate on football. They arefootball schools. That makes a difference.”

The Louisiana district foes are Silliman, Bowling Green andstate champion Oak Forest.

Ishee said hewas pleased with his Cougar’s work ethic andeffort. “I was not disappointed in the effort of our kids. Theeffort and attitude were good. You learn more working really hardand losing, than working real hard and winning.”

Many of the Cougar starters were sophomores and juniors.

“We expect to be better next year,” stated Ishee. “I am lookingforward to it. We are working in the weight room.”

Brookhaven Academy will lose some talented seniors.

“Ben Sandifer, tackle, did a good job for us,” Ishee said.”(Sal) Fiorello, center, was a one-year player. (Trey) Waldrop wasanother one-year player. (Jimmy) Latham did a good job for us atwide receiver and safety. (Cole) Hodges, (Ryan) Nix and (Will)Rushing. Layne Morton played corner for us. John Richard Cole. ColeSmith punted. Tyler Lofton played outside linebacker. He did a goodjob for us this year. He was named to the second team offense.”

Brookhaven Academy has some experienced juniors and sophomorescoming back. Ishee talked about the returning players for nextseason.

“Collins (Case) will be back as quarterback,” explained Ishee.”Cole Hodges is real athletic. He can play a lot of places. We feelpretty good about our quarterback spot. We have to put some folksup front offensively for us.”

Case completed 120 out of 155 passes for 1,110 yards and fivetouchdowns. Case rushed 23 times for 213 yards.

“Eric Terry, offensive lineman, will be back on defense,”continued Ishee. “Dusty Bratton, linebacker, will be back. JonathanWatts, linebacker, is back. John Wayne Havard, safety, led us intackles in several games. He will be back.”

Watts led the Cougar running game with 51 carries for 450 yardsand four touchdowns. He also recovered 12 fumbles and led intackles with 89. Nix followed with 46 carries for 433 yards andthree TDs.

“We have some young kids who will step up,” Ishee added. “We arelooking for a good nucleus. We’ll work during the month of Februaryand spring. We will finish with a scrimmage with Bowling Green inthe spring.”

Ishee feels that working hard in the weight room prepares hisplayers physically to be able to compete during footballseason.

“We’ve been working in the weight room,” added Ishee. “You winfootball games next year right now.”