Bowling Green escapes BA

Published 1:15 pm Sunday, September 15, 2013

Preparation for the Brookhaven Academy Cougars this week going into the match-up with the Bowling Green Buccaneers was pretty simple – contain their playmakers.

BA Coach Tripp McCarty explained, “They have some excellent players in the skill positions that we can’t allow to make big plays.” McCarty continued, “We will have to contain those guys as well as concentrating on being consistent when we have the ball on offense.”

The Cougars put together their highest offensive yard total of the season and defensively, but for two big plays by the Buccaneers’ all-purpose skill player, Patrick Roublow, BA held the Bucs’ offense in check on the night. However, stats aside, when the final horn sounded, the Cougars would come up short on the Buccaneer six-yard line as time ran out with the Bucs escaping with a 22-20 victory.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Cougars would start their first possession on the BG 35-yard line and methodically march straight down to the Buccaneer one-yard line. On first down, a high snap over quarterback Heath Hickman’s head turned a probable six-minute touchdown drive into a second down and goal to go from the 22-yard line.

The Cougars were unable to find the end zone from there and turned the ball over on downs to the Buccaneers.

A quick three and out gave the ball right back to the Cougars, and they went to work again pushing the ball down to the Buccaneer 30-yard line before shooting themselves in the foot again with a fumble that the Bucs quickly recovered to squelch another BA drive as time ran out in the first quarter.

Starting at their own 32-yard line, the Buccaneers pounded three quick run plays right at the Cougar defense setting up Roublow who took a toss sweep around right end and went virtually untouched for a 55-yard touchdown run and the first score of the night. The run for conversion failed, and the Bucs led 6-0 at the 10:06 mark of the second quarter.

Needing a quick answer, the Cougars went to work would mounting a 64-yard drive of their own, highlighted by slip screen pass from Heath Hickman to senior wide out Steven William who did the rest from there for a 23-yard touchdown catch and run. Parker Myrick added the PAT and put the Cougars up 7-6 with 5:23 to play in the half.

After stopping the Bucs with a solid defensive effort, the Cougars would threaten again, marching deep inside Buccaneer territory but could not convert a fourth down play from the 23-yard line as the first half of play would come to a close clinging to a one-point lead.

The Bucs took first possession to start the second half of play and decided to gamble on a fourth and three at their own 49-yard line. The Cougar defense stood tall and held Buccaneer running back Elgin Austin to a one-yard gain and took possession at the 50-yard line.

Hickman again hit Williams on a big gainer for a 39-yard gain and had the Cougars knocking at the door again. Wide out Jacob Thurman would do the rest from seven yards out on a shuttle pass speed sweep touchdown from Hickman. Myrick added the PAT and the Cougars push their lead to 14-6 midway through the third quarter.

After holding the Buccaneers again on downs and forcing a punt, the Cougars seemed to be taking control of the game at that juncture. Again driving the ball down to the Buccaneer 19-yard line, BA was poised to put the game away. However, a strong rush and hard hit on Hickman by the Buccaneer defensive line resulted in a loose ball that was eventually recovered by the Bucs back at the 45-yard line.

That’s when they turned to their power back Austin who amassed 57 yards rushing on five straight carries, eventually finding the end zone from four yards out. Quarterback Connor McCain would hit wide out Logan Wood for the two- point conversion, knotting the game at 14-14 just into the fourth quarter.

On the Cougars’ next possession, the Bucs would again take advantage of another BA miscue and pounce on a fumbled football at the Cougar 41-yard line. Facing a third and 12, McCain hit Roublow across the middle, and the speedster would do the rest from there, taking the catch and running for a 42-yard touchdown. McCain would shake off two tacklers to convert the two-point try and give the Bucs a 22-14 lead with 7:32 to play in the contest.

Needing to make something happen with seven minutes to play, the Cougars marched right back at the Buccaneers, and Hickman capped off a 67-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run, leaving a critical two-point conversion attempt to come. The Buccaneer defense stiffened, denying Cougar tailback Connor Dorman the game, tying conversion at the six-inch line to maintain a slim 22-20 lead with just 5:15 to play.

Having to get the ball back, the Cougars would have to come up with a stop and do it quickly. The Buccaneers were able to dig themselves out of a hole on a couple of occasions, eating valuable time off the clock, but eventually the Cougars would take over after a short Bowling Green punt at their own 23-yard line with merely 1:08 left to play.

As they had done most of the night, the Cougars advanced quickly, moving deep into Buccaneer territory. With :10 showing on the clock, BA was positioned on the Bowling Green 15-yard line but had exhausted all their available timeouts.

Hickman was able to find Williams on a promising inside slant pass only to be tripped up at the six-yard line as he made his final cut to daylight. The clock expired with the Cougars hurrying up to the line attempting to get one last snap off giving the Buccaneers a narrow 22-20 victory.

An exhausted Tripp McCarty commented in the locker room after the game, “To lose one like we did tonight stings, and I hurt for those young men in there, but we did so many things better in this ballgame than we’ve done all year.

“We just came up short on the scoreboard, and that’s where it counts the most,” he continued. “We left three, maybe four touchdowns on the field and had opportunity to put the game away, but we didn’t do that.”

McCarty concluded, “I know our guys are mature enough to put this behind them, build on what we did good tonight and be ready to go to work on Monday to prepare for our second district game next Friday night.”

The offensive stats confirmed McCarty’s thoughts about the game. The Cougars tallied 425 yards of total offense but turned the ball over three times, erasing good scoring opportunities. The Buccaneers had 254 yards of total offense but had no turnovers on the evening.

Junior running back Connor Dorman led the Cougars’ ground attack with 96 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Heath Hickman completed 23 of 34 passes for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hickman also recorded one rushing touchdown for the Cougars.

`Steven Williams led all receivers with six catches for 101 yards and a score. Ross Foreman added six grabs for 86 yards, Caleb Brown hauled in five catches for 70 yards and Jacob Thurman also had five catches and a touchdown receiving for the Cougars.

Defensively, Tramel Shedd led BA with eight tackles. Carter Culbertson contributed seven stops and Michael Fiorella added six tackles.

The Cougars are back home next Friday night, taking on the Amite School Center Rebels in a district contest. The game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff on R.M. “Red” Stuard Field.