Carroll helps hold Liberty-Wentzville to 8 points
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
It’s fitting that Kyle Pudlowski and Tyler Pryor-Hall were on the sideline watching the Brentwood High School football team beat Liberty-Wentzville 53-8 on Friday night. The two 2015 BHS graduates made names for themselves here as tenacious defensive players who led the team in tackling despite their size. Each weighed south of 165 pounds.
It’s fitting because out on the field an even smaller guy was carrying on their legacy. Corey Carroll, a cornerback and the special teams’ attack dog, put on a tackling exhibition, bringing down ball carriers 15 times. It was the fourth time he has led the Eagles in tackling this season.
And get this: Carroll is the smallest guy out there, 5 feet 6 and 135 pounds. He makes up for it with speed, stamina and a nose for the football.
“He’s flying around like a little missile,” said head coach Keith Herring.
Carroll is a senior but it’s only his second season playing for Brentwood. He played mostly special teams all the way up to the Cuba game a month ago when he finally earned a starting spot at cornerback. He responded that night by leading the team in tackling, which he has done in three of the past four games.
“He’s extremely athletic, it’s just kind of raw,” said Herring. “This year we tried him in a couple of spots. Then we noticed he’s making all the tackles on kickoff coverage. I’ve always told these guys, ‘If you just run and tackle, we’ll invent a position for you if we have to.’”
Said Carroll, “I try to take advantage of every opportunity. I just fly to the ball and do my assignment, try to play with perfect effort.”
It was senior night for Carroll and his four classmates Jacob Clay, Demetrius Graves, Brian Hutton and Sam Tilton. Though it was officially their last home game, the Eagles are 8-0 and the top seed in the district so they’ll probably host one and maybe even two more home games. Still, several seniors sounded reflective after the game.
“I almost cried tonight,” Carroll said. “I’ll remember this game for the rest of my life. When the National Anthem was played it just hit my heart.”
Said Tilton, “It’s bittersweet. It’s the last regular home game of my career and it hurts a little. But we still have a long ways to go. We still have seven games left.”
Even the normally reserved Jacob Clay felt a twinge of emotion, and not just because he rushed for 115 yards and four touchdowns.
Said Clay, “Coach Herring said before the game, ‘Seniors, it’s your last official game on this field,’ and I was like, ‘Whoa.’”
Clay has 97 TDs
Clay’s four TDs pushed his career total to 97. That’s fourth best all-time in the St. Louis area, according to an article on Clay at Stltoday.com. Ahead of him are Timberland’s Montee Ball (107), John Burroughs’s Ezekiel Elliott (100) and Chaminade’s Rob Standard (98).
“I just don’t really keep track of my touchdowns anymore,” he said.
4 fumbles, 4 touchdowns
Brentwood scored on its opening drive then recovered fumbles on four consecutive Liberty possessions and drove to a touchdown each time. That quickly built a 33-0 lead in the first quarter.
Hutton and Graves recovered three of the fumbles. Asked if they knew why Liberty was so fumble prone, with a total of five, Hutton said. “Because we smacked ‘em,” and Graves added, “There was too much defensive pressure.”
Defensive line adjustment
Liberty finally pieced together a 20-play drive in the second quarter and made the score 33-8. Running back Stone Krogman carried often on the drive and ended up rushing for 136 yards, much of it from a dive play BHS had trouble stopping early.
“Number 28 [Krogman] was the guy we were worried about,” said Herring. “Defensively we really had to prepare for the option and the dive. For a while they were ripping us on it but we made a tiny defensive line adjustment at halftime and it seemed to work.”
Bax 5 of 7 on PATs
Speaking of big results from little adjustments, BHS placekicker Rob Bax made a slight change in his approach to the ball when kicking PATs and he converted on five of seven attempts.
“Coach [Adam] Kobler told me my plant [nonkicking] foot was too close to the ball and that’s why I was always pulling them left,” said Bax. “So I started moving my plant foot farther to the left [away from the ball] and they’ve been going straight through almost every time.”
Bax felt so strong that during a kickoff he booted the ball between the uprights. The ball had been moved back because of a Brentwood penalty on a previous play, so the kick was unofficially a 55-yard field goal.
“Skylar [Sappington] usually does the kickoffs and was lined up next to me on that play,” said Bax. “I actually told him ‘I’m going to kick it through the uprights.’”
Top seed in district with 1 game left
Friday’s victory helped Brentwood remain the top seed for the Class 2 District 5 tournament, which begins Oct. 23. Last week’s No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, Trinity Catholic and Lutheran North, switched places after playing each other – Lutheran North won 40-14.
The final seeding will be announced this weekend after all seven teams in the district play their last regular-season game. The Eagles, 8-0, will play Cleveland NJROTC, 1-7, on Saturday. Lutheran North and Trinity Catholic will also play teams with losing records.
As of Oct. 11, the district seeding is as follows:
1. Brentwood, 8-0, 55.57 points
2. Lutheran North, 4-4, 50.11
3. Trinity Catholic, 6-2, 47.84
4. Hermann, 5-3, 46.99
5. Lutheran St. Charles, 5-3, 42.5
6. Transportation and Law, 1-6, 31.62
7. Principia, 4-4, 29.05
Clay, Hutton, Sappington still lead St. Louis
BHS individuals lead all of St. Louis in scoring, quarterback sacks, fumble recoveries and passing efficiency. Jacob Clay has scored 202 points, 28 ahead of Cody Schrader of Lutheran South. Brian Hutton’s 17 sacks are one ahead of Donnell Sharp of Cardinal Ritter, and his seven fumble recoveries are tied with two other players. Skylar Sappington’s passing efficiency of 210.6 is 47 points ahead of Blake Charlton of CBC.
Brentwood (8-0): 33-06-14-00 — 53
Liberty (4-3) : 00-08-00-00 — 08
First-quarter scoring, key plays
Brentwood: Skylar Sappington 8-yard run; Rob Bax kick
Score: 7-0, 10:06
Key plays: Jacob Clay’s runs of 15 and 13 yards.
Brentwood: Jacob Clay 1-yard run; Rob Bax kick
Score: 14-0, 9:16
Key plays: On Liberty’s previous possession, Demetrius Graves’s fumble recovery at the Liberty 19; Jacob Clay’s 18-yard run.
Brentwood: Jacob Clay 26-yard pass from Skylar Sappington; Rob Bax kick
Score: 21-0, 8:15
Key plays: On Liberty’s previous possession, Brian Hutton’s fumble recovery at the Liberty 36.
Brentwood: Kaylon Jenkins 35-yard run; kick failed
Score: 27-0, 8:04
Key play: On Liberty’s kickoff return, Corey Carroll’s fumble recovery at the Liberty 35.
Jenkins: “In that play we fake to Jacob in the middle and I go left. We’ve run it a couple of times throughout the season and the blockers made the hole but I didn’t make the right cuts to get through it. But this time the blockers did their job and I took it up there and scored. I like that play.”
Brentwood: Justice Harris 42-yard pass from Skylar Sappington; kick failed
Score: 33-0, 2:48
Key plays: Skylar Sappington’s fumble recovery on Liberty’s previous possession; Kaylon Jenkins’s 16-yard reception from Sappington; Jacob Clay’s 10-yard run.
Second-quarter scoring, key plays
Liberty-Wentzville: Brian Jones 13-yard pass from Ryan Bermudez; Stone Krogman run
Score: 33-8, 5:22
Key play: The longest gain on Liberty’s 20-play, 10-minute drive was an 11-yard pass from ___ to Brian Jones.
Brentwood: Rob Bax 41-yard run; run failed
Key play: Jacob Clay’s 30-yard run.
Bax: “That was my first touchdown since Sumner in week 4.”
Seniors recognized at halftime
Third-quarter scoring, key plays
Brentwood: Jacob Clay 12-yard run; Rob Bax kick
Score: 46-8, 8:33
Key plays: On Liberty’s previous possession, the Brentwood defense’s stop on fourth and 5; Kaylon Jenkins’s 26-yard run.
Brentwood: Jacob Clay 22-yard pass from Skylar Sappington; Rob Bax kick
Score: 53-8, 5:18
Key play: On Liberty’s previous possession, Brentwood’s stop on fourth and 8.
Brentwood statistical leaders vs. Liberty
Rushing: Jacob Clay 10-115, Kaylon Jenkins 3-70, Rob Bax 4-60.
Passing: Skylar Sappington 6 for 6, 133 yards, 3 TDs, no interceptions.
Receiving: Jacob Clay 3-68, Kaylon Jenkins 2-23, Justice Harris 1-42.
Fumble recoveries: Demetrius Graves 2, Sappington, Corey Carroll, Brian Hutton.
Tackles/assists: Carroll 15, Joe Clay 14, Stephen Suntrup Jr. 12, Harris 11, Graves 9, Hutton 8, Sappington 8, Luke Tilton 7, Rob Bax 5, Courtland Hill 3, Tayveon Brown 3, Jacob Clay 2, Daniel Neal 2, Justin Shipley 2, Jordon Tate 2, Sam Tilton 2, Kaylon Jenkins 2, DeAndre Boykin 2, David Camp 2, Ricky McQuay 2.
Liberty-Wentzville statistical leaders vs. Brentwood
Rushing: Stone Krogman 27-136.
Passing: Ryan Bermudez 9 for 18, 73 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions.
Receiving: Brian Jones 5-44.
Brentwood’s St. Louis area stat leaders as of Oct. 11
Jacob Clay: 1st, scoring; 4th, total yards; 6th, rushing
Brian Hutton: 1st, QB sacks; 1st, fumble recoveries
Skylar Sappington: 1st, passing efficiency; 8th, fumble recoveries; 20th, punting average
Justice Harris: 3rd, interceptions; 6th, return yards; 8th, fumble recoveries; 18th, kickoff return average
Kaylon Jenkins: 3rd, interceptions; 11th, punt return average; 22nd, total yards; 25th, return yards
Joe Clay: 10th, assists; 17th, total tackles/assists
Demetrius Graves: 8th, fumble recoveries
Brentwood’s 2015 schedule (8-0)
Beat Crystal City 58-6
Beat JFK 54-18
Beat Sumner 55-6
Beat Orchard Farm 39-7
Beat Cuba 53-0
Beat Principia 52-0
Beat Lift for Life 60-12
Beat Liberty-Wentzville 53-8
Oct. 17, Saturday, away vs. Cleveland NJROTC, 1 p.m.
Oct. 23, Class 2 District 5 playoffs
Cleveland NJROTC’s 2015 results (1-7)
Aug. 22: lost to McCluer South-Berkeley 48-0
Aug. 29: lost to Carnahan 26-24
Sept. 5: lost to Vashon 67-0
Sept. 12: lost to Hamilton 45-0
Sept. 19: lost to Sumner 12-6
Sept. 26: beat Northwest Academy 36-6
Oct. 3: lost to Soldan 32-8
Oct. 10: lost to Affton 42-12