Eagles Rack Up 28 in First Half, Fly to 5-0

Quarterback Skylar Sappington calls the play in the third quarter against Cuba on Friday at Brentwood High School. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

But coaches aren’t happy about Cuba scoring 24 in 2nd half

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit

Stephen Suntrup Jr. (right) congratulates Kaylon Jenkins for his 23-yard touchdown reception that put Brentwood ahead 34-8 in the third quarter. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

In the past two weeks the Brentwood High School football team has played two incredible halves. They were brilliant in the second half at Orchard Farm on Sept. 12, coming from behind to win a 14-7 thriller. Then on Friday they could do no wrong in the first half against Cuba, building a 28-0 lead and eventually winning 41-24 to stay undefeated.

BHS coach Keith Herring is happy to be 5-0. But he knows that when the postseason arrives the Eagles will have to play two good halves, not just one.

“We haven’t played a full game yet,” he said after being outscored by Cuba 24-13 in the third and fourth quarters. “I’m worried about how we played in the second half. We just didn’t have that killer instinct we’ve had in the past.”

Herring knows the reality of Missouri high school football, where a win is not just a win. To ensure itself of favorable seeding in postseason play, a team must win by at least 13 points.

That was in jeopardy as late as the final minute of the Cuba game. The Wildcats scored with 27 seconds left to cut the Eagles’ lead to 17. Then they recovered their own onside kick at midfield. Brentwood’s defense stiffened to preserve the margin, and there was no question which team was better. Yet no Brentwood coach was smiling afterward — their defense had just been pushed around for an entire half by a team that was 1-4.

“It’s good to get a win but there’s some things we’ve got to get cleaned up,” said Herring.

Said running back Jacob Clay, “I thought we were going good in the first half, our defense was stopping them. But something changed in the second half.”

One big thing that changed was that Brentwood’s leading tackler, senior linebacker Kyle Pudlowski, was sitting on the bench in his street clothes for the entire second half. He made 11 tackles/assists in the first half but didn’t return to the game after halftime because he was experiencing concussion symptoms.

Asked what it was like to play without Pudlowski, linebacker Tyler Pryor-Hall said, “It’s actually really tough, as you can see in that second half when they ran all over us. That’s not to degrade the underclassmen; it’s just a big loss on defense.”

Linebackers Tyler Pryor-Hall (left) and Wesley Sappington bring down Cuba’s Nick Lemons in the fourth quarter. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Jacob, don’t lose that number

As usual, Brentwood’s running game couldn’t be stopped. Clay rushed for 194 yards and Austin Koster got 56, and they combined for four touchdowns.

Clay broke the 1,000-yard barrier and he still has at least four games left. He leads the St. Louis area in rushing yards, total yards and total points. He’s averaging 213 yards a game and a mind-boggling 13 yards a carry.

But all the success doesn’t appear to have changed Clay, who is a man of few words. When asked if he realized he’d hit broken the 1,000-yard mark, he replied, “I have no idea.” Also, when asked how his number had come to be almost ripped from the front of his jersey against Cuba, he glanced down to examine it and replied, “I have no idea.”

Jacob Clay carries in the second half. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Passing game catches on

With such a ferocious running attack, Brentwood averaged only 27 yards of passing per game in the first four outings. But against Cuba, sophomore quarterback Skylar Sappington completed four passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Kaylon Jenkins caught two, both for TDs, for 74 yards.

“The first one was my first touchdown catch of the season,” said Jenkins. “Skylar floated it to me and I caught it and broke a tackle. I caught the second one and sort of stiff-armed this little guy.”

Said Herring, “Kaylon has stepped up in the last two weeks and made some big plays for us.”

Skylar Sappington looks for an open receiver in the second quarter. He had his best passing performance of the year against Cuba. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

First pick, first cramp

With Pudlowski out with an injury in the second half, it was scary to see his fellow linebacker Tyler Pryor-Hall on his back and writhing in pain after a play in the fourth quarter. It turned out to be only a muscle cramp in his leg. After about a minute he was up and walking off the field with a big smile.

It was a memorable game for the senior. He intercepted a pass in the first quarter and returned it 18 yards to set up Brentwood’s first touchdown.

“It was like a perfect pass to me,” said Pryor-Hall. “I was just like, ‘Don’t drop it.’ It was awesome. It was my first first pick. My sophomore year I intercepted the ball and fell. This time I returned it.”

Pryor-Hall also led the team in tackles/assists. And he got the leg cramp.

“That’s another first for me,” he said. “First pick, first cramp in a game, and it hurt.”

Tyler Pryor-Hall limps off the field with team trainer Haley O’Neal in the fourth quarter. The senior later said it was the first major cramp he’s had in a game in four years of playing at BHS. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Herring moved by condolence card

After Herring’s postgame speech to the team at midfield, players handed him a fruit basket and a poster-size card with condolences regarding his mother passing away last week. The card was signed by players, students and BHS faculty members. Herring was moved by the gesture and he thanked the team. Then he smiled and added, “Now I feel bad for getting upset with you about this game.”

Later, the coach added, “I’m so appreciative to have this support. Everybody is like a family here.”

Player notes

It was Rob Bax’s first game back after missing the past two with an injury, and he started at cornerback, kicker and punter. Jenkins, who has been subbing for Bax at cornerback, remained at the position against Cuba when Daniel Neal didn’t dress out. Also back after missing the Orchard Farm game was defensive end Brian Hutton. Justice Harris started at safety, a position previously filled by Jacob Clay.

Rob Bax punts in the second quarter. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Scoring Summary
Cuba (1-4): 0-0-8-16 — 24
Brentwood (5-0): 14-14-0-13 — 41
First quarter
B: Jacob Clay 1-yard run; Rob Bax kick; 8:09
B: Austin Koster 6-yard run; Bax kick; 5:10
Second quarter
B: Jacob Clay 18-yard run; Bax kick; 4:15
B: Kaylon Jenkins 51-yard pass from Skylar Sappington; Bax kick; 1:29
Third quarter
C: Dayton Killeen 9-yard pass from Nick Lemons; Lemons run; 6:53
B: Jenkins 23-yard pass from Skylar Sappington; kick failed
Fourth quarter
C: Lemons 7-yard run; Lemons run; 6:23
B: Austin Koster 4-yard run; Bax kick; 2:16
C: Lemons 3-yard run; Jared Priest run; 0:27

Stephen Suntrup Jr. gets a good block on Cuba’s Jackson Mitchell. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Brentwood Statistical Leaders vs. Cuba
Rushing: Jacob Clay, 21 rushes, 194 yards; Austin Koster, 9-56; Kaylon Jenkins, 7-40.
Passing: Skylar Sappington, 4-for-8, 91 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception.
Receiving: Jenkins, 2 for 74 yards.
Kickoff returns: Kyle Pudlowski, 1 for 30 yards.
Punts: Rob Bax, 3 at 47 yards a punt.
Interceptions: Tyler Pryor-Hall.
Fumble recoveries: Brian Hutton, Alex Patton.
Sacks: Pryor-Hall, Hutton, Patton.
Tackles/assists: Pryor-Hall 20, Hutton 12, Pudlowski 11, Wesley Sappington 10, Luke Tilton 9, Joe Clay 8, Alex Cobb 8, Patton 7.

Alex Cobb surprises Cuba’s Nick Lemons in the third quarter. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Brentwood’s starting offense vs. Cuba
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 offense awaits the play from quarterback Skylar Sappington. They are (from left) Justice Harris, Sam Tilton, Reid Nelson, Austin Koster, Alex Patton, Stephen Suntrup Jr., Tyler Pryor-Hall and Luke Tilton. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Brentwood’s starting defense vs. Cuba
Noseguards: seniors Austin Koster and Ryan Short
Ends: senior Alex Patton and junior Brian Hutton
Outside linebackers: senior Wesley Sappington, sophomore Luke Tilton
Inside linebackers: seniors Tyler Pryor-Hall and Kyle Pudlowski
Safeties: sophomore Justice Harris, freshman Joe Clay
Cornerbacks: sophomore Kaylon Jenkins, freshman Rob Bax

Alex Patton makes a solo tackle in the third quarter. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

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
Beat Cuba 42-14
Sept. 25, Principia, home, 7 p.m. (4-5 last year)
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)

Principia’s 2014 Results (1-4)
8/22, lost to Lutheran St. Charles 42-7
8/30, lost to Lutheran North 72-7
9/8, lost to Crystal City 33-13
9/13, lost to Barat 30-14
9/19, beat Missouri Military Academy 7-0

St. Louis Area Stat Leaders
From http://www.stlhighschoolsports.com
Jacob Clay: 1st in scoring, 1st in rushing yards, 1st in total yards.
Rob Bax: 3rd in punting average.
Kyle Pudlowski: 4th in interceptions, 7th in tackles/assists.
Tyler Pryor-Hall: 5th in tackles/assists, 10th in fumble recoveries.
Brian Hutton: 10th in fumble recoveries.
Wesley Sappington: 11th in tackles/assists.

All photos by Steve Bowman

Wesley Sappington (left) and Kaylon Jenkins stop a ball carrier in the first quarter.
Safeties Justice Harris (left) and Joe Clay take down a runner in the second quarter.
Alex Patton (left) and Stephen Suntrup Jr. (right) pave the way for Jacob Clay in the second quarter.
Emma Stoverink performs with the Brentwood Color Guard during halftime.
Victoria Aunger of the Brentwood Color Guard.
Isabel Zoellner of the Brentwood Color Guard.
Becky Carter of the Brentwood Color Guard.
Brian Hutton makes a tackle for a loss in the third quarter.
Austin Koster runs for a first down on the Cuba 17-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Austin Koster pulls a defender over the goal line for a four-yard TD and a 40-16 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Rob Bax kicks the extra point, with Skylar Sappington holding, after Austin Koster’s four-yard touchdown run in the fourth period.
Freshman Michael Doebber puts the clamps on a Cuba ball carrier in the fourth quarter.
Cuba recovered its own onside kick with 21 seconds left in the game, but couldn’t get into the end zone for a fourth second-half TD.

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