METTER – Brooks County's playoff journey will carry the Trojans into next week's Class AA semifinal round.
On the road for the second straight week in the postseason, Brooks County running back Omari Arnold ran for a 71-yard touchdown, quarterback Ni'tavion Burrus passed for two touchdowns and added a rushing score, Ernest Whitfield returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown and the Trojans rolled to a 35-6 victory at Metter Friday night.
With the win, the Trojans will advance to next week's semifinal round to play at Callaway.
“At the beginning of the year we were just hoping we could make it to the playoffs. If we could just be one of the four teams in the first round, we'll be happy,” Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman said. “Then all of a sudden we caught fire. These kids just bought into it and they've been fighting real hard. Next thing we know we're getting ready to play in the semifinals. Who would have believed that?”
It was the sixth straight wins for the Trojans, who are winning this postseason with defense. In three playoff games, Brooks County has allowed just 23 points. With Metter's wing-T offense, it was held to just 92 yards on the ground.
“Defensively, I thought we played well,” Freeman said. “Our offense started to come around in the second half and got that game out of hand for us. We made some big plays and showed that we're a pretty good football team.”
Brooks County countered Metter's run-oriented offense with a balanced attack. The Trojans passed for 117 yards and rushed for 234. Arnold paced the Trojans attack with 162 yards on the ground, including a sparkling 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Arnold tallied 127 yards after halftime.
“I've got to give them some props, they've got a pretty sound defense. They got after it pretty good and we thought they were pretty good on defense,” Freeman said. “Once we gained our composure and got our tailback back there some more carries, we made some things happen.”
It was an inauspicious start to the third round for the Trojans, though. Metter booted the opening kickoff high and deep into Brooks County territory but the Trojans returner failed to recover before the Tigers darted downfield to snag the loose ball. It only took Metter's wing-T offense just five plays to move 24 yards, capped by a four-yard touchdown scramble from quarterback Taj Hobbs.
Brooks County's defense clamped down the rest of the half, however. Metter finished with just 63 yards on its final four drives of the half, which included two costly fumbles at the Brooks County 9-yard line and at the Metter 16.
The Trojans' lone score of the first half followed the Tigers' second fumble. Burrus connected with Willie Brown for a five-yard touchdown strike in the corner of the end zone for a clutch touchdown and a 7-6 lead for the Trojans at halftime.