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Jackets sting BA Cougars

Brookhaven Academy began the MPSA Class AA State playoffs Fridaynight against Oak Forest, looking to avenge a double-overtime lossthe Cougars suffered in the second game of the season. Brookhavenentered the game as the District 4-AA champion, winning eight ofits last nine games to finish the regular season with an 8-3 mark.Oak Forest entered as the No. 2 team out of District 5 with a 9-2mark.

Brookhaven fans had a lot to cheer about early, but as the gameprogressed, Cougar fans realized that basketball season was justaround the corner as the Yellow Jackets stung the hosts 42-20 onR.M. “Red” Stuard Field.

“We just couldn’t catch the breaks,” said Brookhaven Academy coachBo Milton. “We played well in the first half and had a chance inthe second half to be in a position to win the game, but thingsjust didn’t go our way.”

Milton’s Cougars took the opening kickoff and methodically marched74 yards in 12 plays, burning 6:40 off the clock and doing exactlywhat Brookhaven coach Bo Milton wanted- burn a lot of clock and putpoints on the board. Daniel Lofton scored on a 1-yard run to capoff the drive and Nathaniel Sbravati added the extra point for a7-0 Brookhaven lead with 5:20 left in the first quarter.

To Brookhaven’s surprise, Oak Forest took just one play to answerthe Cougar score. On the ensuing kickoff, Michael Gill returned theball to the Cougar 7-yard line. On the next play, Will Stevensscored on a draw up the middle. German Hayes added the extra point,knotting things up at 7 with 5 minutes left in the firstquarter.

Brookhaven responded with another long drive, marching 71 yards in11 plays, before Kolby Byrd scored on a seven-yard run with 30seconds left in the first quarter. Sbravati added the extra pointfor a 14-7 Brookhaven lead.

Again the special teams hurt Brookhaven. Justin Hatcher returnedthe ensuing kickoff 86 yards for the score. Hayes added the extrapoint for a 14-14 deadlock.

Both teams traded possessions until Stevens scored on a 28-yard runwith 4:55 left in the first half, giving Oak Forest a 21-14 lead athalftime.

The Cougars got what they needed in the second half, holding theYellow Jackets on the opening possession and registering a scorelate in the third when Corey Dickerson scored on a 1-yard run onfourth down. The extra point attempt failed, closing the score to21-20 going in to the fourth quarter.

The Brookhaven defense got the ball back for their offense, and theensuing Cougar drive reached the Oak Forest 35 yard line. Loftonconnected with Jeremy James for a 12 yard completion but aquestionable fumble call gave the Yellow Jackets the ball at theirown 18. Two plays later, Luke Petitto scored on a 65 yard run upthe middle. Hayes added the extra point for a 28-20 lead with 9:24left in the game.

Brookhaven was unable to respond and the Yellow Jackets added a 69yard touchdown run by Stevens at the 5:38 mark and a 37-yardscoring run by Justin Hatcher with 1:10 left to end the scoring at42-20.

“I’m proud of these seniors.” continued Milton. “They came backfrom 0-2 and won 8 of their last nine games to win the district forthe second year in a row. I hate that we had to end it tonight butthings just didn’t go our way. That’s part of football.”

Lofton led the Brookhaven offense, picking up 123 yards on 12carries with a touchdown. He completed 12 of his 24 pass attemptsfor 146 yards. Corey Dickerson added 78 yards on 10 carries and atouchdown. Jeremy James led all receivers with 6 catches for 72yards.

“We had a tough battle tonight,” said Oak Forest head coach JasonBrabham. “The game was close to the end and we got those latescores. We knew it would be a battle. It was such a close game whenwe played them the first time and we knew they would be fired upfor us again. We caught some breaks and that helped us late in thegame”

Stevens led the Yellow Jackets with 125 yards on 10 carries withthree touchdowns. Petitto followed with 64 yards on 7 carries witha touchdown.

On defense, Jeremy James, Steven Watts and DanielLofton all had 5 tackles. Lofton had an interception.

Brookhaven ends its season as the District 4-AA champion and an 8-4record.