The Valdosta Daily Times
Brooks County advanced to the Class AA state football quarterfinals with a 49-21 win over McIntosh County Academy on Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
The second-ranked Trojans rolled up 408 yards of total offense in the victory. Star quarterback Malkom Parrish had another big game, throwing for 271 yards and five touchdowns. Deric Herring was his favorite target, catching nine passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Herring also had a defensive touchdown.
“We had a lot of things that we put on them that they had to try to defend,” Brooks County head coach Maurice Freeman said. “Offensively, we gave them some looks that they probably hadn’t seen (before), and we’ve got a bunch of guys with a little foot speed. (Also) the run game came on tonight and really looked good.”
Brooks’ defense forced eight turnovers and picked off McIntosh quarterback Darry Herrington five times.
“I think what they do well — they run the pistol, but it’s (like) the I formation — is what our defense plays well. We can defend that well,” Freeman said. “We do a good job with that.”
“I think all the young men tonight did a good job of playing team football,” Brooks’ coach added.
Next week, the top two teams in Class AA will meet in the state quarterfinals. The second-ranked Trojans will face top-ranked Calhoun, which defeated Washington-Wilkes 34-7 on Friday. Brooks and Calhoun, which are both 12-0, will flip a coin this morning at 9:30 a.m. in Macon to determine which team will be the home team.
On Friday night, it took Brooks County less than six minutes to put three touchdowns on the board and build a 21-0 lead.
The Trojans got the ball to start the game, and quickly took the lead. On second-and-25 from the Trojans’ 49, Parrish took the snap and threw a short pass to Herring. Herring caught the ball, eluded a couple of defenders, got blocks in front of him and took off running. Around the 10-yard line, one of his teammates took out the last defender with a bone-jarring block, and Herring ran untouched into the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown reception, giving the Trojans a 6-0 lead.
McIntosh got the ball, but on the second play of its drive, running back Nick Cummings coughed up the ball, and Brooks’ Marquis Cody recovered the fumble at the Buccaneers’ 31. Two plays later, Parrish found Sam Bradley wide open in the middle of the field for a 20-yard touchdown. Then Parrish ran for a two-point conversion out of the swinging gate, giving Brooks a 14-0 lead.
McIntosh went three-and-out, and after a short punt, the Trojans took over at midfield. A 15-yard penalty at the end of a nine-yard run by Parrish helped move the ball to the Bucs’ 21. Then Brandon Golden took a handoff, ran the ball off tackle, broke into the open and dove across the goal line for Brooks’ third touchdown. Daniel Hodum’s extra point gave the Trojans a 21-0 lead with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter.
But the Buccaneers fought back. At the end of the first quarter, they got on the scoreboard with an eight-play, 51-yard drive. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Romello Palmer took the handoff and ran into the end zone behind the right side of the line. Bryan Mixon’s extra point cut Brooks’ lead to 21-7.
Then the Buccaneers recovered a fumble at the Trojans’ 19. Three plays later, MCA’s Jamal Bryant got behind a cornerback and hauled in Herrington’s pass in the end zone, making the score 21-14 early in the second quarter.
A few minutes later, Brooks’ Davonte Lane recovered a fumble at the Bucs’ 33, and the Trojans took advantage of their good field position. On first-and-goal from the 10, Parrish took the snap from the shotgun, scrambled around while looking for an open receiver, then fired a strike to Atta Jenkins in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, giving Brooks a 28-14 lead.
McIntosh went three-and-out, and Brooks got the ball back. On first-and-10 from the Bucs’ 42, Parrish threw a long pass into the end zone. Herring hauled in the pass on the run for another touchdown, which increased the Trojans’ lead to 35-14.
In the final seconds of the first half, the Trojans were driving, trying to add more points before halftime, when disaster struck. Brooks called for a pass towards the sidelines, hoping to get enough yards to set up for a field goal. But Bryant read the play perfectly, stepped in front of Parrish’s pass, picked it off, then raced 75 yards down the Brooks sideline and into the end zone for a touchdown. It was the final play of the half, and it cut the Buccaneers’ deficit to 35-21.
The Buccaneers nearly got seven more points on the first play of the second half. Cummings caught the kickoff at the start of the second half, went to his left, got by the kick coverage and raced 92 yards into the end zone. But McIntosh was flagged for a hold at its own 18, and that wiped out the touchdown.
On the next play, Herrington tried to throw the ball towards the sideline. But Herring read the play, and picked off the pass at the Bucs’ 20. Then he took off running, followed his blocks and ran into the end zone for a touchdown, making the score 42-21.
Herring’s interception return put the momentum back in Brooks’ favor. And it stayed there for the rest of the game. McIntosh County Academy drove deep into Trojan territory three more times, but was unable to score again.
Brooks sealed the victory with one more touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Parrish ended an MCA drive with an interception at the goal line, and returned the ball to the Brooks 9. Golden carried the ball for 26 and 15 yards on the first two plays of the ensuing drive, and a couple of completions helped move the Trojans into the MCA red zone. On second-and-11 from the MCA 20, Parrish found Herring in the back corner of the end zone for another touchdown. It was Herring’s fourth touchdown of the day, and it extended the Trojans’ lead to 49-21.
Golden rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for Brooks.
Herrington passed for 220 yards for the Buccaneers, but was also picked off five times by the Trojans’ secondary.