BA swats East Rankin
PELAHATCHIE — Brookhaven Academy looked to get back to itswinning ways Friday night as the Cougars took the field for thefirst time since their close 34-28 loss to Trinity Episcopal thatended a state-best, 22-game win streak. East Rankin Academywelcomed the Cougars, looking to register a quality win against theNo. 1- ranked AA Cougars, after a disappointing 2-6 start.
Friday night the Cougar offense returned to its typical form asthey stopped the Patriots 44-35 in a game that went from adefensive struggle in the first quarter to an offensive shootout inthe second half. The Cougars improved to 8-1 on the season. EastRankin fell to 2-7.
BA senior quarterback Chandler Rogers turned in his best effort ofthe year stat-wise as he completed 13 of his 28 pass attempts for258 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, he ran 18 times for78 yards and three more scores. Rogers threw for 199 yards in thefirst half alone as the Cougars jumped out to a 23-7 lead andlooked to have the game under control heading into the second halfof play.
“We have to get better in a lot of areas before the playoffsstart.” said BA head coach Herbert Davis. “We gave up big playstonight. We can’t make those mistakes this late in the year if youwant to be successful. Our offense has to execute better, our guyshave to keep their assignments and we’ve got to be ready to battlefor a full four quarters.
“We were able to answer their scores tonight and put a lot ofpoints on the board, but it’s about to get a lot tougher as theplayoffs get closer.”
Brookhaven overcame a scoreless first quarter to put their firstpoints on the board at the 7:10 mark of the second quarter asRogers connected with junior wide out Bubba Keene on a 19 yardscore, giving the Cougars an 8-0 lead. Four minutes later, Rogersconnected with Keene again, this time from 46 yards out, capping a4 play, 58 yard drive. Tyler Trout added the extra point for a 15-0Brookhaven lead with 3:56 left in the first half.
East Rankin registered its first score of the night just over aminute later as quarterback Jacob Weldon scored on a 51 yard run.J.D. Houston added the extra point, cutting the Brookhaven lead to15-7 with 2:37 left in the first half.
It took the Cougars less than a minute to respond as Rogersconnected with running back Jennings Mills on a 77 yard strike with1:48 remaining in the half. Mills added the two point conversion,pushing the Cougar lead to 23-7 at the half.
East Rankin scored the first two scores of the second half to sendan uneasy feeling through the visiting crowd. Weldon connected withColby Crotwell on a 16 yard pass at the 6:33 mark of the thirdquarter and Weldon added a 63 yard run with 4:18 left in theperiod, cutting Brookhaven’s lead to 23-20.
The Cougars responded with a quick four play drive that ended withRogers scoring on a 14 yard run. Trout added the extra point for a30-20 Brookhaven lead with 2:32 left in the third.
East Rankin answered right back as Weldon connected with Crotwellagain, this time from 39 yards out as the Patriots cut theBrookhaven lead to 30-27 with 8:57 left in the game. Rogers andcompany answered with 7:37 left in the game as Rogers scored on a13 yard run, pushing the Brookhaven lead to 37-27 after Trout addedthe extra point.
Rogers added an insurance score with 2:31 remaining as Rogersscored on a 4 yard run, pushing the Brookhaven lead to 44-27 afterTrout’s successful extra point.
The final Patriot score came with 24 seconds remaining as JoshStuart scored on a three yard run and then completed a pass toWilliam Stanton for the two point conversion, ending the scoring at44-35.
Brookhaven wideout Bubba Keene registered his best performance ofthe year as well, hauling in 10 passes for 164 yards and twotouchdowns. He finished with 243 all-purpose yards on the night.Landon Nettles, a freshman for the Cougars, led the ground attackwith 120 yards on 13 carries.
“Nettles was big for us tonight.” added Davis. “He’s quick, he cutsand accelerates well and he has great vision. He gives us moreoptions offensively in the passing game and rushing game. He hasthe chance to be a big player for us as we get ready for theplayoffs.”
Jacob Weldon led East Rankin offensively, completing 11 of his 22passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once.On the ground, he picked up 149 yards on 16 carries. Josh Stuartfinished with 94 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.
On defense, Bailey Hodge led Brookhaven with 17 tackles. AlanMichael Allred followed with 15 stops and two sacks. HunterFranklin finished with 13 tackles. Jennings Mills intercepted anEast Rankin pass.
What’s more impressive for Rogers is the fact that he set thecareer touchdown record in the Mississippi Association ofIndependent Schools with his performance Friday night. The previousrecord holder is a familiar name to Brookhaven Academy fans, noneother than standout quarterback Price Sessums, a 2006 BA graduate.Sessums totaled 111 touchdowns in his stellar career with theCougars.
With his six scores against East Rankin, Rogers now holds therecord with 115 touchdowns as the Cougars still have two regularseason games and the playoffs to go.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to set the record, but all thecredit goes to my coaches and teammates.” said Rogers.
Brookhaven returns to R.M. “Red” Stuard Field Friday night for itsfinal regular season home game against Columbia Academy in animportant District 4-AA matchup. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.