STORY BY GRANT LEDGISTER | PHOTOS BY ANDY COLLIGNON
It was a back and forth game throughout the entire contest, but in the end, the Brentwood Academy Eagles (2-1) fell to the McCallie Blue Tornado (3-0) in a battle of unbeatens at BA Friday night.
This first quarter was close. McCallie Jumped out to a 7-3 lead early and had a chance to widen its lead in the waning minutes of the quarter, but the kick failed, and the team turned the ball over on downs.
The Blue Tornado established the run game early, and throughout the rest of the game, it was working well. On the legs of their quarterback and running back (DeAngelo Hardy and BJ Harris), the Blue Tornado chewed up over seven minutes of clock on one drive.
It was far from a perfect game for both teams on both sides of the ball, especially in the second quarter. On two consecutive drives, both with McCallie near or past midfield, the Blue Tornado committed turnovers by fumbling the ball away. Brentwood Academy and its quarterback Wade Williams, however, were not able to capitalize on either turnover, being stopped by strong defensive play and penalties killed the drives.
“We have to do better at getting off the field,” Brentwood Academy head coach Cody White said. “If it wasn’t for the turnovers, it might not have been close. It’s good experience for us to see really talented backs, because we’re going to see more of them down the road.”
McCallie had one more chance to score near the end of the half, but the final pass was intercepted by Elijah Oatsvall. He was tackled before making much progress.
Early in the third quarter, it was the Blue Tornado’s turn to get in on the turnover action. McCallie was able to do what Brentwood Academy could not, and methodically drove the ball down the field until it was able to find the end zone to make it a two-score game.
It was special teams’ turn for the spotlight. Jordan James ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown, and the game was once again within a single score.
A series of quick drives led to several scores, neither team being able to pull away from the other. In the fourth quarter, McCallie led 22-17.
After a good defensive stand from the Eagles, the Blue Tornado punted and pinned their opponent deep in their own territory. This didn’t seem to faze Williams and running back Jordan James much, as the two were instrumental in leading the Eagles on a 92-yard touchdown; and by the end of it, the Eagles led 23-22 after a failed 2-point conversion.
The game was far from over. McCallie and Harris went on a five-and-a-half-minute drive to score a touchdown and put the Blue Tornado ahead for good, though the Eagles were only four yards away from a game-winning touchdown on the final play had Williams’ last pass not fallen incomplete.
Despite the loss, White feels this game can still be useful for the Eagles.
“These early games are good for us,” White said. “We’ll stockpile this and hopefully improve as the year goes and hopefully be there at the end of this thing.”
Williams had 219 yards passing for the Eagles, and James added 100 on the ground. Hardy passed for 120 yards and rushed for 134 more.
Next week, Brentwood Academy has another home game against Whitehaven.