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Simpson outscores BA Cougars

The Brookhaven Academy football teams hasset quite a few records over the past several seasons. The one thatis most overlooked is the 4-game win streak over Simpson Academy,one of the most storied programs in the history of the MAIS.

     While it is a feat mostpeople don’t think about, Simpson coach Billy Wayne Hankins madesure his players were aware of it. The Cougars from Mendenhalldon’t lose very often, and to have a 4-game losing streak to a teamproved to be plenty incentive to get the players fired up. Simpsontopped BA 35-23 Friday night in a showdown of two of the top-rankedteams in Academy AA football.

     Simpson improves to 3-0 onthe young season. Brookhaven, which lost only its third game inthree seasons, drops to 2-1.

    “You can’t spot a good team 14 points.” said BA head coach TrippMcCarty. “We didn’t execute and didn’t convert opportunities andthat was the difference in the game.

    “I’m proud of our guys for not giving up and fighting back afterbeing down three scores early, but we have to improve in a lot ofareas.”

     Early on, Simpson seemedon the verge of blowing the game wide open and never lettingBrookhaven have a chance. On the first play from scrimmage, Simpsonquarterback Brandon Johnston connected with Josh Hankins on a65-yard touchdown strike. After Robert Berry added the extra point,Simpson led 7-0 with 11:51 in the opening quarter.

    After a Brookhaven punt on its first possession, Simpson puttogether a 66- yard drive in five plays, ending with Michael Laytonreaching the end zone on an 11-yard run. Berry added the extrapoint for a 14-0 Simpson lead with 7:57 left in the firstquarter.

    Brookhaven was able to register its first points of the night onits next drive. The Cougars marched 54 yards in 9 plays, but thedrive failed, forcing coach  McCarty to settle for a 27-field goalfrom Christian Keene with 4:53 left.

    Simpson responded on its next possession, going 80 yards in 8 playsbefore Garrett Taylor scored on a 17-yard run. Berry added theextra point for a 21-3 Simpson lead.

    Brookhaven was able to cut in to the Simpson lead in the secondquarter as quarterback Gage Posey connected with Seth Rushing on a27-yard TD pass. The extra point attempt failed, sending the teamsinto the locker rooms with Simpson sporting a 21-9 lead.

    Brookhaven appeared to be a different team to start the second halfas Posey connected with Keene from 41 yards out with 10:49 left inthe third. Keene added the extra point, cutting the Simpson lead to21-16.

    After the ensuing kickoff pinned Simpson inside its own 10-yardline, Bailey Hodge recovered a Simpson fumble at the Simpson12-yard line. On the next play, Landon Nettles scored. Keene addedthe extra point for a 23-21 Brookhaven lead with 9:57 left in thethird.

    However it was the last time the BA Cougars would put points on theboard. Simpson responded with a 14-yard run from Johnston at the7:04 mark, and a 49-yard pass from Johnston to Taylor, ending thescoring at 35-23.

    “It was a war.” said Coach Hankins. “We don’t lose football gamestoo often and Brookhaven has had our number for several years now.We kept telling our kids that this week. I really think our kidsdid a good job of battling back and retaking the lead afterBrookhaven went up by two.

    “We knew it would be a fight and it was. And you have to giveBrookhaven credit. They fought the entire game after falling behindearly. A lot of teams would have given up but their kids played thewhole game. We just made more plays.”

    Posey led the Brookhaven offense, completing 12 of his 26 passattempts for 158 yards and two scores. Keene was the leadingreceiver with 5 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. SethRushing caught 4 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown.  Nettles picked up 54 yards and atouchdown on 15 carries.

    Cade Eiland led Simpson, picking up 195 yards on 22 carries.Johnston completed 3 of his 4 pass attempts for 116 yards and twotouchdowns.

    On defense, Hodge led Brookhaven with 18 tackles and a fumblerecovery. Keene followed with 14 stops. Jacob Philipp added 9tackles and Garrett Pace, Eli Gatlin, and Jeff Rushing eachrecorded 8 stops.

    Brookhaven hosts Parklane Academy Friday night in a renewal of anold I-55 rivalry.