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BA Cougars use passes in victory over Colonels

On a rain-soaked, muddy field, the going was soggy at best. Brookhaven Academy was going nowhere on the ground so quarterback Gage Posey tested the airways and found success, sparking the Cougars to a hard-fought 20-6 Friday night win over archrival Copiah Academy.

     Posey completed 13 of 17 passes for 186 yards and 1 touchdown, helping the Cougars (2-0) remain unbeaten. The winless Colonels (0-2),  limiting the Cougars to just 25 rushing yards, were unable to mount much of an offensive threat in a fierce defensive battle. They were limited to 132 yards total offense.

     “We knew it would be a dogfight,” said Posey. “Copiah gave us a good battle. It was hard to run out there.

     “My receivers ran some great routes and that made it easy for me. We were  in better condition and wore (Copiah) down in the second half.”

     Dressed in black jerseys and black pants for the Blackout Bowl, the Cougars took a 7-0 halftime lead on a 5-yard scoring plunge off left tackle by Landon Nettles and a PAT kick by Kevin Nettles, with 8:48 remaining.

     Posey hooked up with wide receiver Seth Rushing for gains of 16 and 20 yards, plus a 9-yard toss to Will Hickman, setting the TD stage for Nettles.

     The Colonels got their offense in gear near the midway point of the third quarter. They marched 66 yards to paydirt in 6 plays. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Drew hit Bryce Berry on a look-in pattern that was good the final 6 yards and a TD.

     The PAT kick was wide left and the Colonels trailed 7-6.

     Responding with an impressive drive, the Cougars went 52 yards in 8 plays, ignited by Rushing’s 22-yard kickoff return. Posey hit Ross Foreman with a 15-yard completion to CA’s 4-yard line. Two plays later, Nettles plunged off left guard for his second TD of the game.

     It was 14-6 with 1:06 left in the third frame.

     On the next series, Copiah runner Sam Stevens fumble after being tackled for a 3-yard loss and Joey Rushing recovered for the Cougars. BA was stymied by 25 yards in penalties and forced to punt.

     On their next possession, the Cougars reached the promised land. Posey connected with wide receiver Matthew Evans for 44 yards and a TD. Evans made the catch, dodged a tackler and cut back across the field as the home crowd roared with approval.

     BA led 20-6 with 3:50 left to play.

     Senior linebacker Preston Rawls said he wasn’t surprised by Copiah’s intensity. “I was expecting a real physical game. We did a good job stopping their run.”

     Copiah coach Scotty Cline huddled with his team on the field after the game. Clearly agitated, Cline refused to comment on the contest.

     BA head coach Tripp McCarty had his bandaged right hand wrapped in a plastic bag to keep it dry as he sent signals to his offensive unit. He had sustained severe lacerations on two of his fingers Thursday night in a freak encounter with a lawnmower blade while trying to clear the deck housing.

     “We made the game interesting,” said McCarty. “Our kids played hard and they never hung their heads. Copiah has a great running game and we slowed them down.”

     Most of all, McCarty expressed concern regarding his team’s 70 yards in penalties. “We had far too many penalties. If we want to be a championship team, we must improve and reduce our penalties.”

     McCarty’s team visits defending Class AA state champion Simpson Academy Friday night at Mendenhall. Cline’s Colonels are back home in Gallman to host Central Hinds for homecoming.