Down 21-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Brentwood Academy Eagles football team completed a comeback win over the Pope John Paul Knights 34-31 on Friday night at home in the D-II AAA quarterfinal playoffs.
“[PJPII coach] Justin [Geisinger] and his team did an exceptional job on their start to the game and got after us,” said Brentwood Academy head coach Coach White. “Our kids did a nice job staying in it. We have been in so many tight games; we don’t panic.”
This win advances the Eagles to the semifinals to host McCallie next Friday.
The Knights got off to a sizzling start on their first possession with a 73-yard touchdown pass by sophomore Kenny Minchey to senior running back and Wisconsin commit Antwan Roberts, giving them an early 7-0 lead.
BA answered back on their opening possession with a 20-yard field goal from senior kicker Teagen Lenderick to get on the board 7-3.
With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Knights capitalized on a WR pass to Roberts to extend their lead 14-3.
In the closing minutes of the first quarter, Minchey threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Colin Cook to stretch the JPII lead 21-3.
With less than a minute gone in the second quarter, BA senior quarterback Taylor Montiel looped an 17-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Amir Annoor to cut into the Knights lead 21-10.
At six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Montiel threw a 29-yard strike to sophomore running back Deuce Scott (31yards, 1td) as the Eagles closed within striking distance 21-17.
With 29 seconds remaining in the first half, Montiel (245 yards, 3 tds) went up top to Annoor (68 yards, 2 tds) for a 17-yard pass, his third touchdown pass of the game and the second receiving touchdown by Annoor to give the Eagles the lead at halftime 24-21.
“Our guys up front did a good job protecting us and opened up some running lanes,” said Coach White. “Taylor Montiel is an exceptional player. He dishes the ball and does a nice job.”
The Eagles offense continued to surge in the third quarter with a seven-yard touchdown run by Scott (160 yards, 1 td) to lengthen the BA lead 31-21.
“Deuce Scott is a great football player for us,” said Coach White. “He is only a sophomore and keeps getting better and better. He is going to be someone that a lot of people have to deal with for a very long time.”
Late in the third quarter, JPII forced a safety to cut into the BA lead 31-23.
On JPII’s next possession, the Eagles sophomore Casen Calmus recovered a fumble to stall the Knights drive, keeping the score at 31-23.
With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, BA kicker Lenderick executed a 41-yard rocket to extend the Eagles lead 34-23.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Knights answered the field goal with a 25-yard strike by Minchey (234 yards, 3tds) to Roberts (133 yards, 3 tds) and a rushing two point conversion by Roberts, cutting the BA lead to 34-31.
Both teams had trouble sustaining drives in the remainder of the game.
JPII forced a turnover on downs in BA territory with a little under three minutes remaining.
The Knights turned the ball over in the same possession on an option pitch recovered by senior Caleb Brooks to hold the lead for the Eagles at 34-31.
“The pressure up front caused the poor pitch, so the kids did a nice job with option responsibility football,” said Coach White. “They were in the right spots, and Caleb, playing with a broken arm, got in there.”
BA will face district rival McCallie at home next Friday.
The Eagles got a 30-27 win over the team on the road on Sept. 4.
“We are going to have to compete,” said Coach White. “It is going to be a bloodbath, just like every game we play. We just have to find a way to make one or two extra plays to win a game. It will be fun, and that is what the playoffs should be at this point in the year.”