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BA Cougars bounce back, beat Bucs in homecoming

When Bubba Keene returned the openingkickoff of Brookhaven Academy’s homecoming game with Bowling Green83 yards for a touchdown, nearly all of the Cougar fans expectedtheir team to cruise to a relatively easy win. But the Buccaneersfrom Franklinton, La. had other ideas.  Brookhaven overcame a 14-13 halftimedeficit and pulled away late to take a 35-14 Friday nightnon-district win on R.M. “Red” Stuard Field.

    Brookhaven improved to 6-2 on the season while Bowling Green fellto 4-4.

    “We were sluggish in the first half,”  said Brookhaven head coach TrippMcCarty.  “We had a lot oftrouble containing their running game early and we couldn’t get ina rhythm offensively.”

    Apart from the opening kickoff, every bad thing that can happen toa football team happened to Brookhaven.  The Cougars were plagued by twoturnovers that resulted in Buccaneer touchdowns and 12 penaltiestotaling 100 yards that ended would-be scoring drives.  Combined, the two hurdles resulted ina halftime deficit and a team that looked at best to bechaotic. 

    Bowling Green answered Brookhaven’s opening kickoff touchdown onits ensuing drive, marching 56 yards in six plays before JarelMarks reached the end zone from one yard out.  The extra point attempt failed,closing the Brookhaven lead to 7-6 with 9:19 remaining in theopening quarter.

    Brookhaven responded with a 10 play, 60-yard drive that ended withJeff Rushing scoring on a 9-yard sweep.  The extra point attempt failed,giving the Cougars a 13-6 lead at the 5:47 mark. 

    Hunter Thomas answered for the Bucs with 11:57 left in the firsthalf on a 4-yard run. Chris Lott ran in the 2-point conversion for a 14-13 Bowling Greenlead.

    The third quarter looked as though Bowling Green would use apound-it-out rushing attack to burn up clock and put the Brookhavenoffense in an even bigger hole.  The Bucs drove 65 yards to theBrookhaven 35-yard line and chewed up 8 minutes of the thirdquarter before the Cougars were able to force a turnover ondowns.

     The Cougar offenseresponded with a 7-play, 65-yard drive that  culminated with a Landon Nettles1-yard run with 2:26 left in the quarter.  Bubba Keene ran in the 2-pointconversion for a 21-14 lead.

    Brookhaven was able to add two touchdowns in the fourth quarter asNettles reached the end zone on a 20-yard run with 10:49 left andagain on a 10-yard run with 1:57 left, giving the Cougars a 35-14lead after Keene added the extra points. 

    “We made some adjustments at halftime and were able to come out andplay a lot better in the second half,” said McCarty. “We still havea lot to work on before district play starts.”

    Nettles led the Brookhaven offense with 187 yards on 19 carrieswith three touchdowns. Keene followed with 63 yards on five carries.  Gage Posey added 29 yards on 3carries. 

    Jarel Marks led Bowling Green with 133 yards on 13 carries with atouchdown.  Hunter Thomasfollowed with 57 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown. 

    On defense, Bailey Hodge led Brookhaven with 16tackles.  Jeff Rushingfollowed with 13 stops. Bubba Keene and Eli Gatlin each recorded 12 tackles and GarrettPace added 10.  HunterFranklin recovered a fumble. 

    Brookhaven travels to Columbia Academy Friday for its firstdistrict game of the season.   Kickoff is 7 p.m.