• 70°

Lofton has career game for BA Cougars

Brookhaven Academy quarterback Daniel Lofton had a career gameFriday night against Bowling Green Academy. He directed the Cougarsto a last-second 35-34 victory. Lofton completed 19 of 26 passesfor 254 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the game-winner to widereceiver Jeremy James with just 5 seconds left to play.

Lofton also rushed 19 times for 136 yards as the versatilesenior continued improving his football skills. This is the firstseason for him to play quarterback.

For his performance, Lofton (6-3, 175) has been selected TheDAILY LEADER’s Offensive Player of the Week.

Brookhaven Academy head coach Bo Milton said Lofton has used hisquick thinking and knowledge of the game to make giant strides atquarterback. He replaced 3-year starter Price Sessums who wasall-state and all-everything on the gridiron.

“Daniel had as good a game as I’ve seen,” said Milton, recallingLofton’s performance against Bowling Green. “Considering he hasnever played quarterback until this year, he has handled theoffense very well.

“Daniel is a straight-A student with a 4.0 (GPA),” Milton noted.”His toughness is exceptional. He’s an all-around good athlete whocan do a lot of things well. He’s a good safety and a good outsidelinebacker, too. He’s also a good receiver.”

Lofton flashed a wide smile and his blue eyes sparkled as herecalled the winning touchdown drive against Bowling Green. He washappy to share the glory with his teammates.

“Personally, it was my best game,” said Lofton. “Our offense hadits best game, too. We have done better on defense.”

Lofton praised his receivers on the winning march. “Corey(Dickerson) did a great job catching the ball and getting out ofbounds on every play. Kolby (Byrd) caught the fourth-down pass andJeremy (James) caught the touchdown pass,” with just 5 seconds leftto play.

Lofton played wingback and worked on defense last season. He haspassed for over 800 yards and surpassed 500 yards rushing thisseason, helping lead the Cougars (5-3, 3-0) to the District 4-AAchampionship. They will host an opening round state playoff gameNov. 9.

Asked about the winning drive, Lofton said, “I knew we could doit. That gave us a whole lot more confidence in our offense.”

Lofton primarily works out of the shotgun formation with onerunning back and four receivers. His offensive line includes CalebWilliams at center, Garrett Posey, left guard; Patrick Wallace,left tackle; Will Gatlin, right guard; and Caleb Covington, righttackle.

“Kolby’s running opens up the passing game for me because thedefense will get in the box to try and stop him,” said Lofton.”He’s a tough runner.”

Lofton said he is enjoying his senior year at quarterback. “It’sa lot of fun for me. I worked out three days a week all summer.

“Coach (Barry) Gray taught me all the fundamentals and otherstuff,” said Lofton. “Coach Milton worked with me, too.”

Besides football, Lofton stars at guard/forward on BA’s statechampionship basketball team. He also is a member of the golf team.His sister, Anna, is a ninth-grade member of BA’s basketball team.He also has a 6-month-old baby brother, Jon Mark.

In his spare time, Lofton said he enjoys hunting and fishing.His father, Greg Lofton, is part owner of a hunting camp nearNatchez, located on the Mississippi River.

Looking to the future, Lofton said he wants to major inengineering at Mississippi State University. He said he has a 3.9.GPA and has scored 24 on the ACT.

On Sundays Lofton said he enjoys watching the Miami Dolphins.Miami defensive end Jason Taylor is his favorite NFL player. “Ilike the way he sacks the quarterbacks. I’ve been watching him foryears.”

The Cougars play a district game at Columbia Academy Fridaynight and Lofton expects a difficult test. “This is theirhomecoming game and they call it a rivalry.”

Lofton said he was looking forward to the state playoffs. “Ithink we have a good shot. We are coming together as a team.”

Notable Performances

Other notable performances in the area last Friday included:Lawrence County’s Kendrick Hardy, 284 rushing yards and 4 TDsversus Mendenhall; Brookhaven’s Semmie Smith, 217 yards rushing vs.Forest Hill. Wesson’s John Craft, 127 yards passing vs. Madison St.Joe.