BA Cougars can’t rest on AA state title

Published 6:31 pm Thursday, August 12, 2010

Brookhaven Academy’s 2009 Class AA State Football Championshiptrophy rests comfortably on a shelf next to the desk of head coachHerbert Davis. He and his players, plus his assistant coaches,sport sparkling state championship rings to commemorate thehistoric accomplishment. Medallions hang from state championshipteam photos in the field house. Autographed footballs authenticatethe perfect 15-0 season.

Life is good.

Satisfaction is not good. Davis preaches a daily, monotonous sermonabout complacency. His Cougars listen with respectful attention.Some seniors echo the sentiments of their head coach as sweattrickles down their cheeks during another exhausting preseasonpractice.

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It’s not easy being No. 1,…not in football or marbles orbadminton or whatever.

That large bull’s-eye worn by the Cougars is an attractive target.Every opponent wants to hand them their first loss of the season,starting Aug. 20, at Silliman Institute in Clinton, La.

“Coach (Davis) reminds us a lot,” said BA senior left guard CameronBarry. “We don’t want to be satisfied. We still want to behungry.”

State championships are great. Tack on a 15-0 record and it’s evengreater.

Barry said the Cougars have the potential for a repeat performance.”We want perfection. We’ve brought in some more linemen to helpus.”

Left tackle Allen Michael Allred also has title ambitions. He’llsee duty at linebacker, too.

“Our team is looking better this year than we did at this time lastyear,” said Allred. “Our defense is strong, especially on passcoverage.”

No doubt, the Cougars have veterans returning to the secondary, ledby safeties Mark and Jeff Rushing. In practice every day, they areconfronted by a pair of all-staters in quarterback Chandler Rogersand wide receiver Bubba Keene. How’s that for a test of the passdefense?

“We lost our two leading tacklers but all of our starters return inthe secondary,” said Mark Rushing. Keene and Jennings Mills returnat cornerback.

“We have a lot more experience on defense and we get in our gapsquicker,” he added. “We want another good season and a shot at thestate title.”

Mark wants to lead the team in tackles. He was third lastyear.

There are 11 returning starters for the Cougars. Besides Allred,Barry, the two Rushings, Mills, Rogers and Keene, the others arewide receiver Will Lucas, center Hunter Franklin, defensive endBailey Hodge and placekicker Tyler Trout.

Keene, a gifted wide receiver, was a favorite target last season.He also excels in baseball and basketball.

“I feel like we can make another run if we play together as ateam,” said Keene. “Our passing game could be stronger than lastyear.”

For sure, it takes talent, good coaching, attitude and confidenceto achieve an unbeaten campaign. A little luck never hurt theproject.

Intangibles, like injuries and bad breaks, can sink a lot of goodteams. The great teams somehow manage to overcome thoseobstacles.

Football jamborees are scheduled this week, starting with theCopiah Academy jamboree tonight at Gallman. Remember to carry anumbrella for protection from the late afternoon sun and perhaps arain shower. Also pack a canteen of ice water to get you throughthe evening.

On Friday, jamboree action heats up at several locations.Brookhaven’s Panthers host the Terry Bulldogs on King Field,starting with the junior varsity at 6 p.m. Ole Brook coach TuckerPeavey said the varsity’s two, 12-minute quarters would feature agame-style format, complete with punts and kickoffs.

Paul Anderson, former Brookhaven Academy assistant coach, is in histhird year at the helm of Terry’s football fortunes.

Lawrence County hosts Enterprise-Lincoln, McComb and Tylertowntomorrow night, stating at 6. Enterprise meets defending Class 3Astate champion Tylertown in the first two quarters of action. Thenthe McComb and Lawrence County junior varsities clash for twoquarters, followed by the MHS and LCHS varsities.

Brookhaven Academy travels to McComb for the Parklane AcademyJamboree and faces Parklane for JV and varsity action. Parklanetackle Centreville in the final round.

Bogue Chitto travels to Pelahatchie for a jamboree, meetingFlorence and the host Chiefs for JV and varsity action. Hazlehursthosts Hinds AHS in another sweat-soaked showcase tomorrownight.

The jamborees will be recorded by various camera crews and coacheswill pour over the performance, grading and evaluating. A lot ofopposing teams and coaches also will be watching the jamborees inpreparation for the Aug. 20 season openers.

Most of the coaches agree that Aug. 13 is too early for any kind offootball jamboree competition. A lot of them don’t like playing theearly Classic game on Aug. 20. Ole Brook and Wesson won’t starttheir campaigns until Aug. 27.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail