COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—Running back Tomario Pleasant ran 32 times for 181 yards and two scores, and Brentwood Academy forced four turnovers and held Memphis University School to just 203 yards, as the Eagles scored a surprisingly-easy 28-6 win in the TSSAA Division II Class AAA state title game at Tucker Stadium on the Tennessee Tech campus.
Safety Jack Victory came up with a pair of turnovers, and Preston Sagan made huge plays on offense, defense and special teams. Quarterback Wade Williams was also big, connecting on 5 of 9 throws for 104 yards, including a pair of first-half touchdowns.
The previously-unbeaten Owls gave up just 90 points all year. But BA hit MUS with a flurry of second-quarter gut-punches that left the Owls stunned, resulting in 21 unanswered second-quarter points and a 28-6 halftime lead.
The BA defense forced three key first-half turnovers and giving up just 117 yards in the first two quarters.
It’s the third-straight state title for the Eagles (11-2).
A second-half rain made for the perfect conditions for the Eagles to milk a lead. The teams traded punts throughout a scoreless third quarter. MUS drove to the BA 28 but Victory picked off a pass and raced 64 yards the other way with 2:50 to play.
The Eagle defense set the tone early.
Victory sacked quarterback Sellers Shy just 27 seconds into the game, and recovered the ensuing fumble at the MUS 16. Pleasant scooted over from three yards out at 10:08 and kicker Perry Paxton’s point-after made it 7-0.
MUS answered with Kendall Hunter scooting just inside the front right pylon from the 7-yard line, that coming with 5:08 left in the quarter. Kicker George Howard’s point-after failed, and the Eagles maintained a one-point lead.
BA lost the ball when Victory fumbled the kickoff, but got it right back after Sagan’s hit forced receiver Maurice Hampton to cough it up, which Amir Annoor fell on at the BA 6.
The Eagles couldn’t capitalize there, but after an exchange of punts, they did. Williams was flushed right, and spotted Sagan far downfield in single coverage. The junior got separation at the last second and waltzed to the end zone untouched from there, making for a 65-yard touchdown score. A Perry point-after made it 16-6 with 7:31 left before half.
BA tacked on another when Pleasant ran over left guard, was stopped momentarily a few yards downfield, then broke his ankles loose from the grasp of a defender for a 44-yard scoring run with 5:23 left before half.
The Eagles then caught MUS off-guard with an onside kick that Sagan recovered at the Owl 35. Pleasant got 14 on an option pitch to the left on first down. Then, on third-and-5 from the 16, Williams found freshman running back Jordan James open to the left side without a defender within a zip code and fired an easy toss for a score with 3:51 remaining before the break.
Two plays later, defensive end Grant Stacy plucked a Shy pass out of the air and gave Brentwood Academy possession at the MUS 39. The Eagles failed to capitalize, with Williams losing a yard on a fake field goal attempt from the Owl 16 on the half’s last play.