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BA Cougars overcome sluggish start to get past Hillcrest Christian

Maybe it was homecoming or maybe it was their competition only having a pair of wins on the season — but Brookhaven Academy had a slow start Friday night against Hillcrest Christian.

Whatever it was, the Cougars shook it off just before half and gutted out a 28-18 win on the campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson.

Hillcrest senior quarterback Chris Robinson streaked around the right side of his line with 8:46 remaining in the first quarter. Robinson was nearly untouched as he ran 45-yards for the score.

A special teams play was what got BA on the board as a snap sailed over the Hillcrest punters head into the end zone late in the first quarter. Senior Luke Johnston landed on the ball after a scramble.

Corey Case blasted the extra point through, and BA led 8-7 with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter.

Hillcrest Christian responded immediately with a 34-yard pass from Robinson to Brandon Freeman that set up a 2-yard TD run by Reagan Britt.

BA took back the lead 14-12 when quarterback Tyler Fortenberry ran in from 2-yards out. The Cougars covered 30-yards on a pass from Fortenberry to Rob Johnson earlier in the drive.

The Cougars had dialed up multiple screens earlier on the drive and Hillcrest shut down the screen attempt on the Johnson catch. Fortenberry scrambled away from the defenders and found his wideout streaking free down the middle of the field.

The drive of the game came with 4:05 remaining in the first half.

A Tyler Fortenberry-to-Trevor Fortenberry pass and catch went for 29-yards and took BA deep into Hillcrest territory.

Coach Ron Rushing saw his team run three plays inside the 5-yard line and get turned away from the HCA defense.

The Cougars sent out Case to kick the field goal, but Hillcrest jumped offside to move the ball up to the 1-yard line.

Rushing looked at Case and his holder Fortenberry and said the name of an SEC West Team after the offside penalty.

His players just nodded as they knew what to do.

Fortenberry took the snap as if holding for a kick, stood up and tossed a shovel pass to a streaking Johnson for a score.

BA led 21-12 with under 20 seconds until halftime after the trick play.

In the second half the Cougars controlled the pace to get a win and move their record to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in MAIS 4-4A district play.

The Cougars wrap up their regular season next week with a home date on R.M. “Red” Stuard Field against Bowling Green in a non-division game.