Eagles Win Thriller to Stay Undefeated

Keith Herring tears up while talking to his team on the field after the game. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Players dedicate game to coach’s mother, beat Orchard Farm 14-7

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

As he does after every Brentwood High School football game, coach Keith Herring called his players together on the field for a few last words before heading to the locker room on Friday night. But this time his eyes were bloodshot and beginning to fill with tears. His voice was steady but you could tell he was straining to control his emotions.

“I’ll never forget this game, until the day I die,” he said. “Thank you, guys. I love you.”

The fact that the Eagles had just won the most important game of their regular season wasn’t the main reason for Herring’s emotion.  Nor was it that they had come from behind to beat an undefeated team and stay perfect, 4-0, themselves. Besting Orchard Farm 14-7 on the road was only a sliver of what was driving Herring’s emotions.

Foremost on the coach’s mind was that his mother had died earlier that day. Nola Mae Herring lived in a St. Louis area nursing home and her health had been failing. Keith visited her on Thursday and she passed away early on Friday.

“I knew it (her death) was coming but I knew I was going to be out here tonight, and these guys had my back the whole time,” said the coach. “I had so many texts from them yesterday saying, ‘Stay strong, coach. We love you. We’ve got your back.’ And I knew we were going to play hard tonight. I knew it, I knew it.”

Said senior Tyler Pryor-Hall, “He wasn’t at practice on Thursday and we knew she was sick. Then I got the news that she had passed. So on Friday it was just 100 percent focus the whole day. We knew what we were going to come out here and do, and what for. We knew this victory would pick up Coach Herring tremendously. And it brought us together like a family. We dug down deep a lot.”

Jacob Clay carries the hammer as Brentwood players come on to the field before the game.

Night (first half) and day (second half)

Brentwood dug deep in the first half and didn’t find much. Their powerhouse running game was being stuffed and they were giving up big chunks of yardage to Orchard Farm’s 197-pound running back Armand Keely. At halftime Keely already had more than 100 yards while BHS’s Jacob Clay, who was averaging 236 yards a game, had only 39.

But on the second play of the third quarter, Kaylon Jenkins intercepted a pass and the Eagles scored on their next two drives to get the lead. They seemed to have the game in hand with a long drive in the middle of the fourth quarter but they fumbled and a rejuvenated Orchard Farm drove 68 yards to the seven-yard line. Jenkins broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-14 to preserve the Eagles’ perfect record.

Herring said the single biggest play of the game was the interception by Jenkins. It was the sophomore’s first start; he was replacing Rob Bax, who suffered a concussion last week against Sumner.

Said Herring, “We talked to Kaylon and said, ‘You can do this, you can step up,’ and he makes a great play.”

Brentwood’s senior captains listening to a referee during the coin toss are (from left) Kyle Pudlowski, Tyler Pryor-Hall, Alex Patton and Austin Koster.

‘Family effort’

Jenkins wasn’t the only one who made big plays in the second half. Kyle Pudlowski caught a 25-yard pass at the Orchard Farm 5, and had a season-high 20 tackles/assists for the night.

Wesley Sappington made a tackle for a 10-yard loss that led to a punt.

A hard-rushing Luke Tilton forced quarterback Tyler Westerfeld to throw an incompletion on third and 14, resulting in a punt.

Jacob Clay started breaking loose and gained 125 yards and two touchdowns in the second half alone.

As the Orchard Farm defense keyed on Clay, Austin Koster carried up the middle for several big gains. In fact, a stark difference between the teams is that BHS used five running backs and Orchard Farm used only two, with Keely getting 37 of the 43 handoffs.

“This was a family effort tonight,” Herring told the team after the game. “Way to believe in what we do. Nobody doubted, even when the going was tough. We just believe. We trust one another.”

Said Pudlowski, “We learned that if we come out with one heart, one mindset, we can do whatever we want. We just came out here and played the game for Coach and for all our moms tonight.”

Said Jacob Clay, “We played for our moms and for Coach Herring’s mom.”

First quarter

Jacob Clay doesn’t find much running room in the first quarter. He rushed for only 39 yards in the first half.
Orchard Farm quarterback Tyler Westerfeld gets a big gain early in the game. In pursuit are (from left) Daniel Neal, Joe Clay, Kyle Pudlowski and Kaylon Jenkins.
Jacob Clay tries to move the pile.
With Rob Bax injured, Skylar Sappington did the punting. He punted six times.
Armand Keely gets a long gain but Kyle Pudlowski and Austin Koster keep him out of the end zone on this play.

Second quarter

In the second quarter there was still no room to run for Jacob Clay.
Under a steady drizzle, Skylar Sappington punts yet again in the second quarter.

Halftime

Head coach Keith Herring talks to his players in the locker room during halftime. The Eagles trailed 7-0 but Herring’s tone was positive. Behind Herring are assistants (from left) Tom Pitcher, Robert Findley and Adam Kobler.
Resting on the locker room floor at halftime are (from left) Ryan Short, Skylar Sappington, Justice Harris, Jacob Clay and Austin Koster. Behind them are Wesley Sappington (left) and Kyle Pudlowski.

Third quarter

Kaylon Jenkins intercepts a pass in the third quarter . . .
. . . and returns it 25 yards to the Orchard Farm 36-yard line.
Jacob Clay scores on a four-yard run less than three minutes into the second half.
Tyler Pryor-Hall dives for Armand Keely. Brentwood slowed the 197-pound back in the second half but Keely still ended up gaining 237 yards in the game.
Tyler Pryor-Hall (left) and Justice Harris react to stopping Orchard Farm on fourth-and-two on the Brentwood 36.
Austin Koster flies forward on a 12-yard gain for a first down on the Orchard Farm 30.
Kyle Pudlowski hauls in a 25-yard pass from Skylar Sappington for a first down on the Orchard Farm five-yard line.
Jacob Clay gets congratulated for running a four-yard touchdown that puts Brentwood ahead 12-7. He was initially stopped on the play but his second effort put him in the end zone.
Armand Keely is stopped by (from left) Kyle Pudlowski, Tyler Pryor-Hall (54), Joe Clay (3), Luke Tilton (52) and Wesley Sappington.
Wesley Sappington and Alex Patton smile about Sappington tackling an Orchard Farm player for a 10-yard loss, which led to a punt.

Fourth quarter

Defensive lineman Ricky McQuay catches quarterback Tyler Westerfeld.
Kyle Pudlowski reaches Tyler Westerfeld as he throws a pass.
Joe Clay cheers after Kaylon Jenkins breaks up a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-14 with 1:09 left in the game.
The referee signals that the Orchard Farm pass is incomplete as Joe Clay (left) and Tyler Pryor-Hall run to congratulate Kaylon Jenkins for his coverage of the receiver..
Celebrating in the end zone for their pass coverage are (from left) Kaylon Jenkins, Joe Clay and Justice Harris.
Kyle Pudlowski (left) and Justice Harris are happy to be 4-0.
Reid Nelson hugs Keith Herring after the game.
Keith Herring thanks his players for supporting him while he mourns the death of his mother. Her funeral is Sept. 15.

Player notes

It was Koster’s first game back after missing the past two. Jenkins was playing at cornerback in place of the injured Rob Bax. Punting and kicking off for Bax was Skylar Sappington. Extra-point attempts were kicked by Jacob Clay. Defensive end Brian Hutton didn’t play and was replaced by, as Herring said, “D-line by committee,” including Jordan Roddy (six tackles/assists) and Ricky McQuay.

Scoring Summary
Brentwood (4-0): 0-0-14-0 — 14
Orchard Farm (3-1): 7-0-0-0 — 7

First quarter
OF: Armand Keely 1-yard run; Tyler Westerfeld kick; 0:12
Third quarter
B: Jacob Clay 4-yard run; Clay’s kick failed; 9:25
B: Jacob Clay 5-yard run; Clay run; 3:10

Brentwood Statistical Leaders
Rushing: Jacob Clay, 23 rushes, 164 yards; Austin Koster, 6-43.
Passing: Skylar Sappington, 1-for-5, 25 yards, 0 interceptions, 0 TDs.
Receiving: Kyle Pudlowski, 1 for 25 yards.
Kickoff returns: Jacob Clay, 1 for 36 yards.
Punts: 6 at 30 yards a punt.
Interceptions: Kaylon Jenkins 1, Kyle Pudlowski 1.
Tackles/assists: Pudlowski 20, Tyler Pryor-Hall 16, Wesley Sappington 16, Joe Clay 10 .

Brentwood’s starting offense vs. Orchard Farm
Quarterback: sophomore Skylar Sappington
Running backs: seniors Austin Koster and Wesley Sappington, junior Jacob Clay
Center: senior Tyler Pryor-Hall
Guards: sophomores Stephen Suntrup Jr. and Luke Tilton
Tackles: seniors Reid Nelson and Alex Patton
Tight ends: senior Kyle Pudlowski, junior Sam Tilton

Brentwood’s starting defense vs. Orchard Farm
Noseguards: seniors Austin Koster and Ryan Short
Ends: seniors Alex Patton and Jordan Roddy, freshman Ricky McQuay
Outside linebackers: senior Wesley Sappington, sophomore Luke Tilton
Inside linebackers: seniors Tyler Pryor-Hall and Kyle Pudlowski
Safeties: junior Jacob Clay, freshman Joe Clay
Cornerbacks: sophomore Kaylon Jenkins, freshman Daniel Neal

Brentwood’s 2014 Schedule
Beat Crystal City 61-26
Beat John F. Kennedy 44-14
Beat Sumner Academy 67-20
Beat Orchard Farm 14-7
Sept. 19, Cuba, home, 7:30 p.m. (2-8 last year)
Sept. 25, Principia, home, 7 p.m. (4-5)
Oct. 3, Lift for Life, home, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10, Liberty –Wentzville, away, 7 p.m. (played freshman schedule)
Oct. 18, Cleveland NJROTC, away, 7 p.m. (0-10)

Cuba’s 2014 Results (1-3)
8/22, lost to St. James 12-6
8/29, lost to Herman 54-12
9/5, lost to Owensville 35-8
9/12, beat Windsor 22-6

St. Louis Area Stat Leaders
From http://www.stlhighschoolsports.com
Jacob Clay: 1st in scoring, 1st in rushing yards, 1st in total yards.
Kyle Pudlowski: 2nd in interceptions, 4th in solo tackles, 4th in tackles/assists, 8th in return yards.
Tyler Pryor-Hall: 3rd in fumble recoveries, 5th in solo tackles, 8th in tackles/assists.
Wesley Sappington: 5th in tackles/assists, 7th in solo tackles.
Rob Bax: 7th in punting average (43 yards).

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