10-1 BA Cougars capture offensive shootout in Baker

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 6, 2006

BAKER, La. — Brookhaven Academy head coach Bo Milton knew histeam would have their hands full with the Central Private Rebelsand their standout running back Justin Couvillion. On the flipside, the Rebels knew they would have their hands full with theCougars and senior quarterback Price Sessums. Both players lived upto those expectations as Brookhaven Academy left Louisiana with ahard-fought 38-28 victory that wasn’t assured until Sessums scoreda late touchdown to seal the victory.

Brookhaven ends the regular season with a 10-1 mark. CentralPrivate fell to 7-3. Both teams begin the AA state playoffs Friday,with Brookhaven hosting Centreville Academy and Central Privatehosting Porters Chapel of Vicksburg. If both teams can post avictory in the opening round, they’ll meet again in Brookhaven onNov. 17.

Couvillion piled up 242 rushing yards on 34 carries with fourtouchdowns for the Rebels. Sessums responded with 202 yards on 31carries and four touchdowns of his own for the Cougars. He alsoadded 76 yards through the air, one of which was for atouchdown.

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Brookhaven took the opening kickoff and wasted little timeputting points on the board, as they marched down the field with a7 play, 68 yard drive that ended with Sessums finding Daniel Loftonfrom 18 yards out for the touchdown. Sessums ran in the two pointconversion for an 8-0 Brookhaven lead with 10 minutes showing inthe first quarter.

The Rebels responded with a long drive of their own, using justunder four minutes to go 62 yards before Couvillion scored on a 3yard run with 6:16 remaining. Rebels quarterback Dillon Smilleyfound Mitch Crawford for the two point conversion, knotting thingsup at 8-8.

The Rebel defense held Brookhaven deep on the ensuing drive,forcing the Cougars to punt the ball back to the Rebels. They tookadvantage of the opportunity as Couvillion broke loose with a 58yard run with 2:27 left in the first, giving the hosts a 14-8lead.

Brookhaven was able to answer the Rebel score on their ensuingdrive, as Sessums scored his first rushing touchdown of the nighton a 3 yard run with 25 seconds remaining. Corey Dickerson addedthe extra point for a 15-14 Brookhaven lead.

Not surprisingly, the Rebels answered on their next possession,marching 66 yards in 9 plays. The Rebels had to convert a fourthdown deep in Brookhaven territory before Couvillion scored on a 12yard run with 8:59 remaining in the half. He then caught a passfrom Smilley on the conversion attempt, giving Central Private a22-15 lead.

Brookhaven came right back with another long drive, capped offby Sessums scoring on a 12-yard run with 4:14 left, closing theRebel lead to 22-21. Seth Cliburn found Bradley Allred on the twopoint conversion attempt, giving the visitors a slim 23-22 lead atthe break.

Fans from both sides were surprised to see each team’s defensestake over in the third quarter. Neither team was able to sustain adrive and put points on the board. Couvillion broke the ice when hescored on a 9 yard run with 9:11 remaining in the game, giving thehosts a 28-23 lead.

Brookhaven made sure the long drive back to Brookhaven wouldseem shorter as the Cougars were able to score two late touchdownsto seal the victory. Sessums scored on an 8 yard run with 6:52remaining in the game. He added the two point conversion, givingBrookhaven a 31-28 lead.

Brookhaven’s defense came up huge on the ensuing Rebel drive,shutting down Couvillion and the Rebels and forcing a three andout. After the Rebel punt, Sessums and the Cougar offense put thegame away with a long, clock-eating drive that was capped off withSessums scoring on an 18 yard run with 1:48 remaining. Dickersonadded the extra point, ending the scoring spree.

“This was a great high school football game.” said Coach Milton.”It started out looking like it was going to be a shootout, but ourdefense did a tremendous job in the second half of shutting downCouvillion. He had almost 180 yards in the first half, but we heldhim to 60 in the second half.

“We got a couple of turnovers and were able to score some pointsoff of them. It’s a big win for us. Now we just need to carry thismomentum into the playoffs.”

Sessums said the second half was decisive. “This was a realtough, physical game. The second half was without a doubt the besttwo quarters we’ve played as a team all year. Our defense playedgreat, our offense played great. We did what we had to do to winthe game.”

Dickerson added 40 yards on 7 carries and 58 yards on threereceptions in support of Sessums. Kolby Byrd had one reception for30 yards.

On defense, Byrd and Steven Watts ledBrookhaven with 8 tackles a piece. Aaron Douglas and Keith Franklinadded 7 stops each. Bradley Allred made three sacks. Sessums andLofton each recorded an interception. Sessums added a fumblerecovery.