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15-0 BA Cougars claim AA championship

JACKSON — Fifteen weeks ago, Brookhaven Academy kicked off the2009 football season with probably no one outside of the lockerroom expecting anything more than a rough rebuilding year. CoachHerbert Davis heard all the talk and didn’t really know what toexpect from his young team.

But after those 15 games, the Cougars had grown as a team andmanaged to put together the best season in Brookhaven Academyfootball history. That season was culminated Friday night at HarperDavis Field on the campus of Millsaps College as BA produced adominating performance in a 63-28 whipping of Lamar School’sRaiders. With the win, the Cougars claimed the MAIS AA State titlefor the first time since 1993 and finished the 2009 season with aperfect 15-0 record.

“It’s almost like a fairytale,” said Davis. “After the preseasonscrimmage and the jamboree we played at Parklane, no one expectedus to win more than four or five games. But these kids grew asfootball players and as men. They overachieved all season long.It’s been a special season.”

There was plenty of hype to go around prior to Friday’s kickoffwith Cougars junior quarterback Chandler Rogers–3,460 passingyards and 54 touchdowns– set to face off with Raiders senior WittHaggard, who had accounted for 3,506 yards and 59 touchdowns. Butwhen the final horn sounded, it was Rogers celebrating not only astate championship, but a spectacular individual performance.

Rogers completed 15 of his 24 pass attempts for 353 yards and 5touchdowns: a 77-yard strike to Jennings Mills, 44 and 14 yards toBubba Keene, and 77 and 16 yards to Tripp Jolly. On the ground,Rogers ran 18 times for 139 yards.

Brookhaven struck first to open the scoring at the 2:36 left inthe opening quarter as Mills capped an 11-play, 94-yard drive witha 4-yard run. The Cougars were able to catch the Raider defense offguard on the extra point, as Mills ran in the two-point conversion,giving Brookhaven an 8-0 lead.

Brookhaven struck again with 44 seconds left in the first as theCougars turned an interception by Alan Michael Allred into paydirt.Rogers connected with Mills on a 77-yard pass up the middle. TylerTrout added the extra point for a 15-0 Brookhaven lead.

Lamar answered on the first play of the second quarter asHaggard hooked up with fellow senior Bo Bidgood on a 72-yard score.Haggard ran for the 2-point conversion, cutting the Brookhaven leadto 15-8.

Brookhaven responded at the 9:54 mark of the first half whenRogers connected with Keene from 44 yards out, giving the Cougars a22-8 lead.

Haggard methodically marched his team down the field andanswered the score as he hooked up with Charlie Nosco on a 20-yardcompletion with 6:47 left in the first half. The extra pointattempt failed, giving Brookhaven a 22-14 lead.

Rogers drove the Cougars 52 yards in 8 plays on the ensuingdrive before hooking up with Tripp Jolly from 16 yards out with2:08 left in the half. Trout added the extra point, pushing thelead back out to 29-14.

Brookhaven’s defense was able to force a turnover from theRaiders on downs on their ensuing drive, giving the ball back totheir offense. Rogers marched the Cougars 49 yards in six playsbefore passing to Keene from 14 yards out. The 2-point conversionattempt failed, giving the Cougars a 35-14 lead with 23 secondsleft in the half.

Lamar met disaster on the ensuing kickoff, fumbling the ball andallowing Kolby Kent to recover at the Lamar 22-yard line. Trout wasable to kick a 31-yard field as time expired, giving Brookhaven a38-14 lead.

Haggard started the scoring in the third quarter with a 2-yardrun with 7:27 left. Haggard connected with Bidgood on the 2-pointconversion, closing the Brookhaven lead to 38-22.

Brookhaven answered the score in just two plays as Rogersconnected with Jolly on a 77-yard touchdown with 6:33 left in thethird. Mills ran in the 2-point conversion, giving Brookhaven a46-22 lead.

Lamar scored its final TD of the night with 5:06 left in thethird quarter. Haggard connected with Bidgood from 4 yards out. The2-point conversion attempt failed, cutting the lead to 46-28. Itwas as close as Lamar would get.

Trout added a 28-yard field goal with 2:13 left in the thirdquarter, pushing the lead to 49-28. Keene scored on a 9-yard runwith 7:10 left in the game and Mills scored the final score of thenight with 2:07 left on a 1-yard run. Trout added both extra pointsfor a 63-28 score.

Mills picked up 144 yards on 26 carries with 2 touchdowns. Healso had two receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Keene led the Brookhaven receivers with 6 catches for 129 yardsand two touchdowns. Jolly followed with 5 catches for 116 yards andtwo touchdowns.

Haggard completed 12 of his 33 pass attempts for 270 yards andthree touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.

Bidgood led all receivers with 7 receptions for 191 yards andtwo touchdowns.

On defense, Mark Rushing led Brookhaven with 14 tackles and aninterception. Jamison Powell followed with 10 tackles. Alan MichaelAllred had an interception. Kolby Kent recovered a fumble.