BA’s magical season ends shy of state championship game
Published 10:18 pm Friday, February 17, 2023
RIDGELAND — Brookhaven Academy saw its magical boys soccer season come to an end Friday night. Madison St. Joseph beat the Cougars 2-0 to advance to the state championship. BA accomplished many program firsts this season.
BA rolled into the match on a hot streak and played its best soccer. Head Coach Alex Brown won the program’s first playoff soccer game in either boys or girls soccer this year with a 2-1 win over St. Aloysius last week and came up just shy of playing in the state championship.
Madison St. Joe has had the Cougars number the last few years knocking the squad out of the MAIS playoffs in boys and girls soccer. They continue to be the team to beat, Brown said.
“I knew they would be tough but I think my boys were up for the challenge,” Brown said. “They played their hearts out tonight. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
BA not only won its first playoff game in program history this season but battled through adversity. At the winter break, Adams County Christian School coach Chris Hughes told The Natchez Democrat the likely favorites to claim the two playoff spots were Copiah Academy and Oak Forest. Brookhaven Academy had matches against Cathedral, Oak Forest and Copiah Academy upon their return that they had to win.
Brown said his squad “fought back,” and pulled off four consecutive district wins to make the playoffs. They throttled Copiah Academy 6-1 in a must win game to advance to the play-offs.
“The fact they could win a district championship for the first time in program history, host a playoff game for the first time in program history and win that playoff game I think speaks volumes to these boys’ character,” Brown said. “I think we will continue to develop and grow this year. The longer I have been at BA. The more tactical I’ve been able to be with the kids. It is difficult to teach them everything at once. I have taught a few things here and there. I just plan to continue to add more things to our tactics and strategies as they continue to learn and grow. They are such great kids and I’m very fortunate and blessed to be able to work with them.”
Seniors Enrique Hernandez, Parker Moak, William Johnson and Tyler Shann enjoyed an 11-5 season (6-2 in district) in their final season with the Cougars. The program will naturally see turnover with graduation but some key players will return for the next year.
Those returning include Yojan Hernandez who has a strong nose for goal, Jaden Lea who is a stonewall in goal, Cooper Strickland and Matt Newman are additional offensive threats. BA will continue to train and get players on the soccer ball throughout the spring and summer.
“I wish I could have all my seniors back for another year but that is part of the process,” Brown said. “I had a ton of young guys that got a lot of minutes this year. They are coming back so it is exciting to have that experience returning for next year. That is one thing we didn’t have much of this season. We lost eight seniors last season and all were starters who played huge minutes. I have a lot of young ones that love the game and are going to be itching to keep playing all during the offseason.”