BA QB Fortenberry is All-Area Football MVP

Published 2:00 pm Friday, December 31, 2021

Brookhaven Academy senior QB Tyler Fortenberry is The Daily Leader MVP for the 2021 football season

In every game he played, there would be at least one moment where Brookhaven Academy senior quarterback Tyler Fortenberry left you saying, “Wow.”

It might have come on a throw or a scramble or a designed run, but the 2021 Daily Leader All-Area Most Valuable Player would use his athleticism in such a way that would leave you shaking your head.

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A three-year starter at the position for the Cougars, Fortenberry put the team on his shoulders in 2021 as the Cougars were hit hard by graduation the season before. The team needed him to do more in his final season and the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Fortenberry delivered.

He went 100-of-176 through the air for 1,536 yards passing. He tossed 17 touchdowns and just one interception. He carried the ball 115 times for 967 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He played more defense than ever in his career and made 26 tackles while breaking up three passes, blocking a kick and snagging an interception.

Fortenberry saved his best for last as he and the Cougars faced Kirk Academy in the quarterfinals of the MAIS 4A Playoffs. That night, playing his final high school football game on his home field, Fortenberry fought for every yard he gained.

He ended the night with 27 rushes for a season high 219 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns. He reached a season high through the air too, throwing for 256 yards on 13-of-26 passing for one score.

Brookhaven Academy (8-3) came up short though as Kirk scored first in overtime and held on for a 45-38 win.

Fortenberry quickly made the transition to basketball where he plays every minute most nights for the Cougars and is the reigning Daily-Leader All-Area MVP in that sport as well.

He’ll go down as one of the best athletes to ever walk the halls at the school. As a junior he threw for 2,698 yards and 28 touchdowns, while picking up 810 yards on the ground and scoring 12 times on the ground.

In his first season as the starting QB, he threw for 1,636 yards and 15 scores while running for 588 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. Fortenberry was a Daily Leader All-Area selection after both his sophomore and junior seasons for football.

The Cougars went 7-5 and 8-5 in those two seasons under then coach Ron Rushing, who left BA after Fortenberry’s junior season to take the head coaching job at Parklane Academy.

Former Loyd Star, Franklin County, Lafayette County and Madison Central head coach Anthony Hart was hired to replace Rushing and in 2021 he led the Cougars to a MAIS District 4-4A title as the team finished 3-0 in their division.

The 2020 BA team had 14 seniors, all starters, and the team came into the 2021 season with plenty of question marks on who’d step up at what spot. The receiving group lost the top three pass catchers from the season before and the offensive line had nearly a complete turnover ahead of this season.

BA ended the year with the loss to Kirk Academy and began the season with a 46-21 loss in Natchez at Adams County Christian School.

In between those two games, the Cougars got better each week in 2021. The only other loss was a 45-7 setback to a bigger, deeper team from Copiah Academy (11-3).

The players at BA all talked about Hart’s focus on mental preparation. The coach in his first year at the school wanted his players to know that you don’t get to Thursday night and start thinking about what it’s going to take to win the game.

The process of eliminating distractions and thinking about what you can do to help your team win begins much earlier than that.

His numbers might not have been as gaudy this season as they were in the past, but Fortenberry’s decision making on the field reflected a full maturation in 2021. Gone were the days of him taking risks while throwing the ball.

His interceptions dropped from 19 as a sophomore to five as a junior and then to one as a senior.

Fortenberry picked up an offer from the University of South Alabama during the season and has since received offers to play quarterback from both Co-Lin and Northwest Mississippi CC.

His time playing football for the Cougars is done, but so many of those “wow” moments from Fortenberry still shine bright when you think about the 2021 Daily Leader All-Area Most Valuable Player.