16-point win over Lutheran St. Charles makes record 10-0
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
The Brentwood High School football team advanced to the semifinals of the Class 2 District 5 playoffs on Friday with a 49-33 victory over Lutheran St. Charles at BHS.
So, why wasn’t anybody celebrating afterward? After all, the team is 10-0 and the BHS football program has now won 20 of its last 21 games. The Eagles will take a bus to Hermann on Friday for their big chance to advance to the district title game for the first time since 2011. And if they beat Hermann they’ll be two wins away from the state championship game at the Edward Jones Dome.
Besides, there were some great individual efforts on Friday. Jacob Clay, sporting his first-ever beard, had his second-best game of the year, rushing for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Kaylon Jennings rushed for 103 yards. Kyle Pudlowski made 14 tackles/assists. Tyler Pryor-Hall recovered two fumbles, blocked an extra point and got kicked in the nose, which of course didn’t cause him to miss a play.
But the tone was subdued during the team meeting on the field after the game. Some players smiled but most just looked tired. Coaches looked worried. Many in the huddle were unhappy with how the 10-win Eagles never really put the three-win Cougars away. Three times Brentwood’s three- and four-touchdown leads were cut to two TDs. Even with the starters in, they failed to score in the second and fourth quarters.
“We were definitely not on our ‘A’ game,” said senior Reid Nelson. “We need to clean stuff up.”
“Our guys, I just don’t know if we have the maturity,” said head coach Keith Herring. “I know they want to do it, but I don’t know if they know how to keep the pedal to the metal the whole time.”
Keep in mind that the Eagles are young. Of the 22 starting positions, 24 including kicker and punter, 11 are filled by freshmen and sophomores.
“We have a really young defense so I do whatever I can do to get them motivated,” said Pryor-Hall. “But sometimes we’re so quiet out there.”
Said Herring, “I think they keep thinking, ‘Aw, we’ll get by, we’ll get by.’ But you can’t have that attitude in the playoffs.”
Certainly not against Hermann, whose 8-2 record is better than all of Brentwood’s 2014 opponents except for 8-2 Orchard Farm. When asked if his team will have to play its best game of the year to win on Friday, Herring replied, “Oh yeah, yeah. But the positive thing is that I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet.”
Behind, then way ahead
Lutheran St. Charles opened the game with two trick plays that worked. First they recovered their own onside kick, despite Brentwood coaches and players screaming that a Cougar had touched the ball before it had covered the required 10 yards. Then, on their first offensive play, halfback Bryce Jefferson threw a 40-yard bomb to Derek Griffitts. Two plays later the Cougars were in the end zone.
“That opening kickoff set a bad tone with me,” said Pryor-Hall, who was in on the play. “I know we can’t control the refs, but he [a Cougar] batted it down. That call just has to be made.”
Angry about the kickoff and disgusted with trailing so early, the Eagles went on a rampage. They scored four touchdowns in less than six minutes for a 28-7 lead.
Refusing to give up
But late in the first quarter, just when it started to look like it’d be a rout, Lutheran St. Charles shocked everybody again with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Holtmeier to Jefferson. Brentwood answered with another score but then was forced to punt, followed a few minutes later by the Cougars’ third TD of the half to make it 35-21.
The slim, two-touchdown margin loomed for 10 more minutes of play, until late in the third quarter, when the Eagles finally scored again. The dry spell must have seemed like an eternity for a BHS team that’s used to scoring almost at will.
“That’s one of the things we need to fix,” said senior Wesley Sappington. “We have teams that are ready to quit. It was 28-7 and if we had scored again it would have been done, but we just kind of let them back in somehow.”
Clay vs. Jefferson
If the game had been on ESPN it might have been billed as “Clay vs. Jefferson.” For most of the season, Brentwood’s Jacob Clay and Lutheran’s Bryce Jefferson have been statistically close in points scored, yards rushed and total yards gained, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Both backs were outstanding on Friday — Clay rushed for 302 yards and four touchdowns and Jefferson got 174 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving and three TDs. Clay led Brentwood’s 455-yard ground game and Jefferson was the top receiver in Lutheran’s 142-yard passing game.
Lutheran’s season ended with Clay No. 1 in points scored and yards rushed and Jefferson No. 1 in total yards gained. But neither is ahead by much. Clay has scored 46 more points (250 to 204) and rushed for only three more yards (2,306 to 2,303). Jefferson’s final total yardage of 2,410 leads Clay by only 30 yards.
The score stayed close enough that coaches kept Clay on offense for the entire game, which is rare.
“Yeah, it was fun,” he said. “It feels good but we know there are more games.”
After voicing his initial worries, Herring seemed to put things in perspective.
“We’ve gone 10-0 two seasons in a row, which is a great accomplishment for these kids,” he said. “Now we have Halloween in Hermann.”
Justin Shipley started at left guard in place of Alex Cobb, who was sick during the week. Joe Clay returned to defensive back after missing the past two weeks with an injury. He suffered a different injury in the third quarter and did not return. Herring said the Hermann game might see the return of lineman Brian Hutton and defensive back Justice Harris.
Lutheran SC: (3-7): 14-7-0-12 — 33
Brentwood: (10-0) 35-0-14-0 — 49
L: Aaron Holtmeier 1-yard run; Derek Griffitts kick; 10:33 0-7
B: Jacob Clay 38-yard run; Rob Bax kick; 10:19 7-7
B: Clay 21-yard run; Bax kick; 9:24 14-7
B: Kaylon Jenkins 68-yard run; Bax kick; 6:41 21-7
B: Clay 35-yard run; Bax kick; 4:25 28-7
L: Bryce Jefferson 61-yard pass from Aaron Holtmeier; Griffitts kick; 3:28 28-14
B: Jenkins 22-yard pass from Skylar Sappington; Bax kick; 0:46 35-14
L: Bradley Williams 3-yard run; Griffitts kick; 2:58 35-21
B: Jacob Clay 2-yard run; Bax kick; 4:56 42-21
B: Austin Koster 2-yard run; Bax kick; 2:10 49-21
L: Jefferson 8-yard run; kick blocked; 8:31 49-27
L: Jefferson 3-yard run; kick not attempted; 0:01 49-33
Brentwood Statistical Leaders vs. Lutheran St. Charles
Rushing: Jacob Clay, 27 carries, 302 yards; Kaylon Jenkins, 10-103; Austin Koster, 9-38.
Passing: Skylar Sappington, 5 attempts, 2 completions, 31 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions.
Receiving: Jenkins, 1 catch for 22 yards; Koster, 1-9.
Punt returns: Jenkins, 1 for 15 yards.
Fumble recoveries: Tyler Pryor-Hall 2.
Tackles/assists: Kyle Pudlowski 14, Pryor-Hall 8, Wesley Sappington 7, Rob Bax 7, Jacob Clay 7, Alex Patton 5.
Kickoffs: Bax, 8 for a 29-yard average.
Extra points: Bax, 7 for 7.
Brentwood’s offensive starters vs. Lutheran St. Charles
Center: senior Tyler Pryor-Hall
Left guard: sophomore Justin Shipley
Right guard: sophomore Stephen Suntrup Jr.
Left tackle: senior Alex Patton
Right tackle: sophomore Luke Tilton
Tight ends: seniors Kyle Pudlowski and Wesley Sappington
Quarterback: sophomore Skylar Sappington
Running backs: senior Jacob Clay, sophomore Kaylon Jenkins
Fullback: senior Austin Koster
Kicker: freshman Rob Bax
Brentwood’s defensive starters vs. Lutheran St. Charles
Linemen: seniors Reid Nelson, Jordan Roddy and Ryan Short; sophomore Luke Tilton
Linebackers: seniors Kyle Pudlowski, Tyler Pryor-Hall and Wesley Sappington
Safeties: junior Jacob Clay, freshman Joe Clay
Cornerbacks: sophomore Kaylon Jenkins, freshman Rob Bax
Punter: freshman Rob Bax
Brentwood’s 2014 Schedule (10-0)
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
Beat Principia 51-3
Beat Lift for Life 62-22
Beat Liberty-Wentzville 67-0
Beat Cleveland NJROTC 62-20
Class 2 District 5 Tournament:
Beat Lutheran St. Charles 49-33
Oct. 31: No. 3 BHS at No. 2 Hermann in semifinals, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7: championship, 7 p.m.
Hermann’s 2014 Results (8-2)
Aug. 22: beat Montgomery County 61-12
Aug. 29: beat Cuba 54-12
Sept. 5: beat St. James 52-20
Sept. 12: beat Liberty Wentzville 65-7
Sept. 19: lost to Owensville 19-16
Sept. 26: beat Sullivan 24-12
Oct. 3: beat St. Clair 38-0
Oct. 10: beat Pacific 32-24
Oct. 17: lost to Union 35-32
Oct. 24: beat Northwest Academy 36-6
Brentwood’s St. Louis Area Stat Leaders (top 10)
Jacob Clay: 1st, scoring; 1st, rushing; 2nd, total yards.
Tyler Pryor-Hall: 2nd, fumble recoveries; 4th, total tackles; 6th, solo tackles.
Brian Hutton: 6th, fumble recoveries.