Hodge accounts for 16 tackles in win over Trinity

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brookhaven Academy senior defensive endBailey Hodge missed most of last week’s practice with a severesinus infection. When Friday night arrived, Hodge was nearly atfull strength.

    The BA Cougars knocked off Trinity Episcopal’s Saints 40-36 in “ThePit” at Natchez, clinching the District 5-AA championship in theprocess. Hodge accounted for 16 tackles in the victory and thatperformance earned him The DAILY LEADER’s Defensive Player of theWeek recognition.

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    Hodge plays much larger than his 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame. In 11games, he has amassed 137 tackles, 18 of them for a loss. He alsohad four sacks, three fumble recoveries and a blocked punt to hiscredit.

    “Bailey makes big plays and he has no respect for his body,” saidBA head coach Tripp McCarty. “He is a strong kid and his motor isalways running.”

    Hodge practices hard, too. “He gives us fits in practice atdefensive end,” McCarty pointed out.

    The Cougars (9-2, 3-0) host Oak Forest of Amite, La., Friday nightin the opening round of the Class AA State Playoffs. It’s the firststep in the march to the championship.

    Hodge, a 3-year starter, treasures his state championship ring thathe earned as a sophomore when the Cougars posted a perfect 15-0worksheet. “I try to wear it as much as I can.”

    He is the 17-year-old son of Don and Donna Hodge. He has an olderbrother, Brady, a 2006 Enterprise grad who played football for the Yellow Jackets. Ageneration ago, their father was a baseball player for BrookhavenHigh.

    “I enjoy playing defensive end,” said Hodge. “I like getting downand going for (tackle).”

    Also working on defense for the Cougars are Ken Britt, GarrettPace, Cody Culbertson and Hunter Franklin in the front line.

    Jacob Philipp, Eli Gatlin, Landon Nettles and Drew Philipp work atlinebacker. Cornerbacks are Matthew Evans and JeffRushing.  Bubba Keene andWill Lucas are at safety.

    “We are doing what we are taught,” said Hodge, when asked todescribe BA’s defense. “We are taking care of  business.”

    Johnny Lane Ball is BA’s defensive coordinator. “We enjoy playingfor him,” said Hodge. “He keeps everything straight.”

    He said the offseason workouts that began in June benefited theentire team. “Lifting (weights) and running helped us get strongerand faster.”

    Hodge said he enjoys playing for Coach McCarty.

    He said the Cougars were looking forward to the playoffs. “OakForest has a couple of good running backs that we have to keepunder control. We have to tackle and hold on and wait for the 10other guys.”

    In his spare time, Hodge enjoys hunting and fishing. He follows theMississippi State Bulldogs whenever possible.

    Hodge said he plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Heis undecided on a career.