Hodge helps BA swat Simpson

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Defensive end Bailey Hodge and his Brookhaven Academy teammatesspoiled the upset ambitions of Simpson Academy last Friday night.In a showdown of previously unbeaten MAIS Class AA football powers,Brookhaven Academy defeated Simpson 34-18 as Hodge accounted for ateam-leading 15 tackles.

That performance has earned Hodge The DAILY LEADER’s DefensivePlayer of the Week honors.

BA head coach Herbert Davis moved Hodge from linebacker todefensive end this season as the Cougars rebuilt their defensivefront line. It was a wise move.

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“Bailey has flourished at defensive end,” said Davis. “He has aknack for knowing where the ball is. His technique and lateralmovement has improved a lot, too.”

Davis said Hodge is a high-energy player. “Bailey’s motor is alwaysrunning. That makes him play hard and practice hard.”

Hodge, a 5-foot-11, 150-pound junior, wears No. 52 on his jersey.Simpson’s running backs and quarterbacks saw a lot of him.

“I like making tackles in the backfield for a loss,” said Hodge. “Iplay the run and squeeze. I try to make the running backs bounceoutside so the linebacker can make the tackle.”

Hodge played middle linebacker in the jamboree at Parklane Academyin early August. He has enjoyed his move to defensive end.

“Our defense has the capability to be just as good as last year, ifnot better,” said Hodge, referring to BA’s state championship marchto a perfect 15-0 record in 2009. “Everyone has to be a technicianout there.”

Hodge and his defensive mates battled a bruising ground game atSimpson. Running back Cade Eiland rushed for 211 yards on 26carries.

“Our defense gave up too many big plays,” said Hodge. “We did agood job overall but we got tired the second half.”

The arrival of long-awaited cooler weather this week should helpevery football team increase its endurance level.

Centreville Academy visits BA Friday night for homecoming on R.M.”Red” Stuard Field. The Tigers are notorious for having a punishingground game.

Hodge said Davis and defensive coordinator Kenny Williams wouldhave the Cougars ready to play. “Coach Williams always has a gameplan. If our team does what (coaches) tell us to do, we will beable to do the right play.”

The Cougars are riding a 21-game victory streak and are seeking asuccessful state title defense. Hodge said, “It’s exciting.”

The 16-year-old son of Don and Donna Hodge is a Mississippi Statefootball fan. His hobbies are hunting and fishing. He’s an avidsquirrel hunter. He has an older brother, Brady.

Looking to the future, Hodge said he wants to pursue a career inindustrial maintenance technology at Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege.