By Derrick Davis
The Valdosta Daily Times
It had been four years since the Brooks County Trojans last celebrated a region 1-AA championship.
At last, the Trojans are back on top.
Brooks County stifled region rival Cook 35-21 Friday night at Quitman’s Veterans Stadium to clinch its first region championship since 2008.
Malcolm Parrish accounted for 122 of Brooks County’s 263 total yards and scored three touchdowns as the Trojans improved to 9-0 on the season and clinched the region championship.
“We’ve been playing hard all year,” Brooks County head coach Maurice Freeman said. “It comes from our summer workouts, believing in each other; our guys are starting to gel and the rest is history.”
Brooks County was able to pull out the victory despite some sloppy play from both teams all night. The teams combined for 30 penalties for 248 yards, with 173 of those yards coming in the first half.
“We (have) go get better and we work on it,” Cook head coach Ken Cofer said. “Especially in a big game like this, you don’t need ten penalties, much less 15. A handful can cost you.”
Brooks County managed to overcome the penalties to take an early lead and never trail in the game, taking a 21-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“I think our guys stuck with it, they stuck with the plan,” said Freeman. “Our coaches did a great job at keeping the kids calm and once we got into halftime and made our adjustments, we felt like we could take over the game and we came right out and did that.”
The Trojans were able to get the scoring started early on in surprising fashion. On just the second play from scrimmage, Cook quarterback Ross Pickle dropped back and threw an interception, which was taken back for a touchdown.
“We don’t turn the ball over that much,” said Cofer. “The first turnover I’m going to chalk it up to me; that was my fault on the play call.”
The Trojans were able to take a 14-0 lead on the next drive that featured four penalties, and ended with Parrish rushing into the end zone for the score.
The Hornets were able to answer right back. On a fourth down from the Trojans 10-yard line, Cook kicked a field goal that would have made it 14-3. But, Brooks County was called for an offsides penalty and Cook took the opportunity to go for the touchdown.
After a three-and-out by Brooks County, the Hornets were able to score another touchdown on an 8-yard slant route to Zak Williams, which tied the game at 14-14 with 3:50 left in the half.
Cook was able to get back into scoring range but missed a 31-yard field goal. Brooks County was able to make the momentum changing play of the game.
With 39 seconds remaining in the half, Parrish rolled out to his right, stopped, and threw a deep bomb to a triple covered Deric Herring in the end zone. Herring was able to leap above all three defenders and snag the pass that put the Trojans head 21-14 at half.
The game was decided soon after the teams came back onto the field to begin the second half. After an initial punt to begin the half, Brooks County scored touchdowns on its next two possessions while forcing Cook into a three-and-out in three of its five drives in the second half.
Brooks County visits Berrien in two weeks to close out the regular season.