4 area wins call for Offensive Player of the Week foursome

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The first edition of The Daily Leader Offensive Player of the Week for the 2021 season will break tradition and honor more than one individual for their output on Friday night.

In doing so, we’ll skip handing out a Defensive Player of the Week this time and give that honor to the linemen of the various local and visiting utility companies that have been working around the clock to restore power to our area.

A historically strong Hurricane Ida hit the coast of Louisiana this weekend and before it came ashore, we had a historical Friday night in regard to high school football in the area.

Pop quiz and don’t cheat — when was the last time that on the same night Brookhaven Academy, Bogue Chitto, Enterprise and Loyd Star all won a football game?

West Lincoln was out this weekend with a COVID-19 cancellation as was Brookhaven High, but on Friday all four of the other Lincoln County based schools played and won.

I was on the sideline at Loyd Star and at halftime the game was close, with Loyd Star holding a 14-13 advantage over St. Andrew’s Episcopal.

A quick scan of the radio in my truck and a look at my phone during the break told me that Bogue Chitto held a convincing lead over Pisgah at halftime on Troy Smith Field and that BA was up big on Central Holmes Christian School in a game being played at Co-Lin.

Enterprise trailed Hillcrest Christian 14-12 at halftime, but I had the Yellow Jackets as heavy favorites in that game and expected them to have a different second half.

That’s what happened and as BC and BA held on for comfortable wins, the only game I was left to focus on was the one I was at.

Loyd Star led most of the second half before SAE tied things up at 20-20. The visiting Saints had multiple chances to go ahead late, but Loyd Star got tackles for a loss when they most needed them.

St. Andrews went ahead 23-20 in overtime and you knew that the Hornets would be using all four of their extra-period downs to go for the endzone — kicking a field goal wasn’t an option.

When Carter Holcomb hit Bryce Ford with the game winning score, it gave Loyd Star the win and had me thinking, when’s the last time these four schools that won tonight did so on the same date.

It was a while ago — so long ago that I actually had hair.

The date was Oct. 5, 2001.

Loyd Star beat Hinds AHS 47-0 that night on the way to an 11-3 season. It would be the final year for LS alum Anthony Hart to lead the team as he left for Franklin County following the season. Hart is now in his first year as head football coach at Brookhaven Academy.

Brookhaven Academy was on the road that night in Baker, Louisiana playing Central Private and that’s where I was too. I was a sophomore at Co-Lin and followed the Cougars that entire season for The Daily Leader. First year head coach Ray Ishee and his team beat Central Private 20-7 that night on the way to a 10-2 season.

Bogue Chitto also had a great campaign in 2001 as they finished 11-2 that year. On Oct. 5 they beat football newcomers West Lincoln 57-0. It was the final season for the Bobcats to be coached by Carl Cole who was at the school for four years. Cole resigned to take an assistant coach job outside of Atlanta. The school hired a young coach named Gareth Sartin to replace him. Sartin is now in his 20th year at the school.

Enterprise whipped Stringer 42-20 on Oct. 5, 2001. Coach Ricky Deere had built the Jackets into a winning program as they made the 1A state playoffs that season and the next.

Since 2001 all of those teams have tasted the ups and downs of high school football.

Brookhaven Academy has won two state titles since then, but also had a losing streak that stretched across multiple seasons.

Bogue Chitto was one of the best 1A program in the state for a spell before they battled a rough patch with a long losing streak as well.

Enterprise had a losing streak that strung across multiple seasons and Loyd Star went eight years between winning campaigns.

That can be the nature of the game though, right? It can happen to anyone.

You have a down year and participation gets low and next thing you know; you’re wondering how you’ll have enough players to go 11-on-11 in practice.

So, you’ve got to celebrate the wins and savor the victories when they come.

And when all four schools that play win and all four have a big offensive playmaker that night, you’ve got to put some of that spotlight on all four.

Here are The Daily Leader Offensive Players of the Week.

Tyler Fortenberry,

Brookhaven Academy

In a 40-14 win over Central Holmes Christian School, the senior quarterback accounted for six total touchdowns. Fortenberry rushed for 77 yards on the ground and scored twice there. Through the air he was 13-of-21 passing for 232 yards and four scores.

Fortenberry got the game started with a. 68-yard TD pass to his younger brother Trevor as the pair hooked up for three scores on the night. Senior receiver Michael Watts also caught a scoring pass from Fortenberry for the final BA touchdown of the night.

Colton Frith, Bogue Chitto

In a 42-20 win over Pisgah, the junior quarterback hurt the Dragons with his arm and his feet. Frith carried the ball 11 times on the ground for 120 yards and three scores. Through the air he was 7-of-13 for 201 yards and one touchdown.

Frith hooked up with fellow junior Cameron Williams on a 91-yard touchdown pass that put BC on the board in the first quarter. He’d then add three more rushing touchdowns to increase the Bobcat lead in the opening half.

Matthew Burns, Enterprise

In a 42-20 win over Hillcrest Christian School, the senior quarterback had a career day. Burns accounted for 333 yards of total offense and was part of six touchdowns. Through the air he went for 217 passing yards and three scores. On the ground Burns carried the ball 14 times for 116 yards and three more touchdowns for coach Trey Woodard.

Senior receiver Jonas “Trap” Caldwell was his favorite target. Caldwell caught four passes for 123 yards and averaged 31 yards per catch.

Bryce Ford, Loyd Star

In a 26-23 overtime win over St. Andrew’s Episcopal, the junior running back knifed through the defense on run-after-run. Ford carried the ball 21 times for 236 yards for his father and head coach, Brian Ford.

Ford ended with one rushing TD on the night but made the biggest play of the game with his hands in overtime. Running from north to south in the back of the endzone, Ford went low to haul in a pass threaded through by quarterback Carter Holcomb. The 9-yard scoring catch was the game winner and capped an impressive night for a player that suffered a knee injury during spring practice.