Rushing a force in BA’s secondary

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brookhaven Academy senior strong safety Mark Rushing is havingthe kind of season many players just dream about. The team’sleading tackler accounted for 14 tackles and a fumble recovery asthe Cougars crushed Riverfield (La.) Academy 60-6 Friday to remainundefeated in three games.

Rushing’s performance has earned him The DAILY LEADER’s DefensivePlayer of the Week recognition.

Brookhaven Academy head coach Herbert Davis recognizes Rushing’svalue to the BA defense. “Mark is a 3-year starter for us. Heunderstands what we are trying to do defensively. He puts himselfin position to make tackles.”

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Strong safety is a key position in the secondary. Davis said,”Where Mark plays, you need to be a good tackler. We expect him tomake plays and he does.”

Rushing and his teammates practiced Monday morning from 7 a.m. to10:30. They reviewed film, lifted weights, donned full equipmentfor contact drills, broke into groups, reunited for team work,separated for offensive and defensive review and completed theroutine with wind sprints.

Such is life for the defending MAIS Class AA state champions.

“It takes a lot of work to win state,” said Rushing. “We still havea lot of work to do. We have a lot of potential to have a greatdefense this year.”

The secondary, where Rushing thrives, is a strength for theCougars. Four starters return from a defensive unit that was hithard by graduation after going undefeated (15-0).

Rushing’s younger brother, Jeff, is a junior and the team’s freesafety. Bubba Keene and Jennings Mills are the startingcornerbacks. Will Lucas works as a rover.

Asked about his responsibilities at strong safety, Rushing said,”My first job is to key on the tight end. He will run a pass routeor block. I’m responsible for run support and filling the opengap.”

Offensively, the Cougars are averaging over 55 points a game inthree consecutive blowouts. Rushing said stronger teams areawaiting their shot at the defending state champs.

“There are high expectations for our team,” said Rushing. “We havesome good teams to prepare for. Central Hinds has been lookinggood.”

Rushing said he enjoys playing for Davis and defensive coordinatorKenny Williams. “They work us hard but I love playing for them.They do their homework and prepare us well. All we have to do islisten to them.”

He comes from a large sports-minded family who love Ole Missathletics in general. His parents are Paula and Dr. RichardRushing. He has four brothers and two sisters. They are Will, John,Matt, Jeff, Seth, Mary Anna and Sara Kate. Seth is a sophomore whoplays on BA’s kickoff teams.

Looking to the future, Mark said he plans to attend Ole Miss andenter the premed program. His favorite high school subject isbiology.

Right now he and his Cougar teammates are aiming for a successfuldefense of their state title.