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BA Cougars rush to playoffs

Brookhaven Academy hosted Columbia Academy Friday night in acrucial district matchup, with the right to advance to the MPSAClass AA playoffs on the line. A Brookhaven win would assure theCougars a trip to the postseason, but a loss would significantlyhurt chances of extending their season.

Led by a host of running backs, the Cougars piled up 314 totalyards, while limiting the Columbia-based Cougars to just 87 totalyards of offense en route to a 27-8 win. Brookhaven improved to 6-3overall and 3-1 in district 4-AA play.

Coupled with Simpson Academy’s 42-0 demolition of Copiah AcademyFriday night, the Cougars have secured the No. 2 seed going intothe playoffs. Brookhaven must hope that Columbia can defeat CopiahFriday night, which would propel the Cougars to the No. 1 seed andguarantee Brookhaven home field advantage throughout theplayoffs.

“We did a very good job defensively of stepping up and playingafter giving up so many points last week.” said Brookhaven Academyhead coach Herbert Davis Jr. “Our offensive line did a great jobblocking and that allowed us to have a good night running thefootball.”

Brookhaven took the opening drive of the game and marched 64yards, using up five minutes off the game clock before JenningsMills scored on an 8-yard run up the middle. Nathaniel Sbravatiadded the extra point for a 7-0 Brookhaven lead with 6:55 left inthe first quarter.

Both teams traded possessions until the 7:01 mark of the secondquarter when Columbia punter Michael Saucier mishandled the snap onthe punt attempt and Alan Michael Allred picked up the loose balland returned it 8 yards for the touchdown. Sbravati added the extrapoint for a 14-0 Brookhaven lead.

Brookhaven struck again with 1:33 left in the first half asChandler Rogers found Tyler Parvin on a 14-yard pass for the score.The two-point conversion attempt failed, giving the hosts a 20-0lead at the half.

The Cougars added their final score of the night with 7:47 leftin the third quarter as Rogers found Mills in the back of the endzone from 14 yards out. Sbravati added the extra point, pushing theCougar lead to 27-0.

Columbia’s only score of the night came with 14 seconds left inthe game on a 1-yard run by Daniel Dunaway. Javan Porter connectedwith Nick Sanders for the two-point conversion, ending scoring at27-8.

Sbravati led the Cougar rushing attack, picking up 69 yards on 9carries. Kolby Byrd rushed the ball 7 times for 56 yards. Rogershad 7 attempts for 51 yards and Kyle Burt picked up 37 yards on 9attempts.

Rogers completed 8 of his 17 pass attempts for 86 yards and twotouchdowns.

Robert Ward led Columbia with 36 yards on 5 attempts. JoshHamilton followed with 30 yards on 12 attempts. Brookhaven heldColumbia quarterback R.J. Thomas to 3 carries for minus 35yards.

On defense, Austin Barnett, Kolby Byrd, and Nathaniel Sbravatieach recorded 8 tackles. Will Gatlin registered 6 tackles andforced a fumble. Alan Michael Allred had a fumble recovery.

“We got ourselves into the playoffs, so now we just have to workharder to get better at some things to prepare for that,” saidCoach Davis.

Brookhaven travels to face Adams County Christian School Fridaynight in a non-district match. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.