The Simpson Academy Cougars rode the arm and legs of quarterback Brentley Berry and tailback Carter Cockrell to a convincing 31-13 victory over the East Rankin Academy Patriots September 11 at Moody Davis Field in Pelahatchie.
On the first play from scrimmage after forcing the Patriots to punt following the opening kickoff, junior quarterback Berry hooked up with sophomore Cockrell for a long SCA touchdown pass that covered 60-plus yards.
“He’s (Brentley) a talented passer and a good runner as well,” said Cougar Coach Dan Napier. “At one time in the game, both of our offensive tackles were out with injuries so one of the keys to our win was the pass protection our offensive line gave us. Our backups on the line did a great job!”
The win in their first district game improved SCA’s record to 2-2, with a tough home game against Hartfield Academy coming up September 18. “This was our most important game of the year to this point,” Napier added. “We were pleased with the effort on both offense and defense, but we weren’t happy with the number of penalties we received. That will be a point of emphasis in practice this week.”
Coach Napier said he expected the hard-fighting East Rankin squad to be tough up front so the Cougar offensive game plan was geared toward passing. With Berry on target for much of the game and Cockrell breaking off punishing runs for two additional touchdowns, the Cougars racked up more than 300 yards of total offense, including 211 yards rushing. Berry scored the second SCA touchdown on a 10-yard scramble around right tackle. Cockrell added another 60-yard running touchdown in the second quarter and a 5-yard score in the rain-soaked second half.
The Cougar defense came up big, adding a first-quarter safety and executing two takeaways, an interception and a fumble recovery to keep the frustrated Patriots on their heels. Senior kicker Jaden Wedgeworth added to the Cougar scoring with consistent points-after-touchdown boots. On his first attempt, however, Wedgeworth scrambled to convert a muffed snap into a two-point conversion with a nifty run.
Sophomore Tyler Stanford was active on defense, making a momentum-changing tackle on a fourth-and-two play for East Rankin in the first quarter before the contest got out of hand. Senior receiver Bryce Jensen hauled in several key catches to keep Cougar drives moving.
In looking forward to Friday’s district matchup, Coach Napier says Hartfield is “a really good football team at 3-1.” Hart- field gave undefeated Leake Academy all they could handle in coming back from an early 27-0 deficit to nearly complete a comeback win.