Preps: Quarterback's breakout performance carries BA past MBA

Monday, September 3, 2012 at 9:38pm

Everything considered, this might have been Max Staver’s best game yet at Brentwood Academy.

Wearing an ice pack to cool off his hot right arm after a 24-6 victory over long-time rival Montgomery Bell Academy on Friday, the 6-foot-5 Eagle senior quarterback had just finished a game where he did pretty much all one could ask.

Staver accounted for all three of his team’s touchdowns, which allowed the Eagles to enjoy the Labor Day break all the more. He ran for two from in close (four yards and one yard, the latter on fourth-and-goal), then capped his big night with a 64-yard bomb to lightning fast receiver Jalen Ramsey in the final quarter.

He threw for 288 yards, connected on 15 of 23 passes and did not throw an interception. The Eagles scored in every quarter.

For sure, Staver has had better statistical games over the past couple of years. None were against a team the caliber of an MBA.

“We had a good game plan, and the offensive line gave me all the time in the world,” he said. “I can’t say enough about those guys.”

Staver, a Florida commitment, showed he could use his big frame and sturdy legs as additional offensive weapons, sort of a high school version of a Tim Tebow.

“I’m a big guy, and my coaches remind me I weigh 230 pounds and I need to use that to my advantage,” Staver said. “I’m no speed demon, but I need to use my size from time to time to get the yards we need.”

He hit four different receivers, including Ramsey who was virtually silent offensively until his big catch and run which sealed the game with 4:51 to go.

“Jalen uses his athleticism once he catches the ball, you can’t keep him down long,” Staver said. “I just missed him on a couple I threw to him earlier. I have some great receivers.”

That group includes junior flanker Brandon Taylor, who had six catches for 98 yards, and sophomore C.J. Sanders, who had six for 79. Ramsey had two for 100.

“We had them (MBA) really scouted well, the coaches had us completely prepared and Max did a great job,” Taylor said. “We had a great week of practice.

“If we keep this up, we can be a really good team.”

Dominant defense: BA’s defense was equally impressive.

It held MBA to two field goals on four trips inside the 20. On their last drive late, the Big Red got to the 2 but were thrown for a four-yard loss on third down. Then a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

It is the first time MBA has been held without a touchdown since a 32-0 loss to Baylor in the final game of a 4-6 season in 2006.

“We had their passing game scouted well and our coaches had us well prepared,” senior cornerback D’Montre Wade, who had seven tackles and three pass breakups, said. “I’m really proud of how we played, especially on defense.”

MBA (1-2) got 11 tackles from senior linebacker Franklin Garstin, who appeared to be all over the field on defense. Offensively, senior JeTarii Donald led all rushers with 116 yards, including a 64-yard bolt to the BA 16 in the second quarter that up a field goal, which made it 14-6 at halftime.

• A good start: The victory was new Brentwood Academy coach Cody White’s first in TSSA Division II competition — it also was his first D-II game.

“This division (DII) is as good as I’ve seen as anywhere I’ve ever coached,” White, who coached at three different programs in football crazy Texas – Highland Park, Odessa Permian and at Denison, said. “Defensively, we were outstanding. D’Montre was great, he may be the best overall player we have on our team, and we have many very good ones.

“We still have a long way to go and improvements to make.”

The Eagles (2-1) look like they are going to be a formidable force in the race for the DII-AA state title. Of course, an Oct. 19 road date with two-time state champ Ensworth (3-0) looms. That, and a possible rematch with the Tigers in the playoffs, could also come into play.

BA seeks its third straight win at home Friday vs. Stratford.

Briefly

• As expected, Battle Ground Academy has made a formal request to the TSSAA to move from DII-AA to DII-A, effective next school year (2013-2014).

With about 330 students in its upper school, BGA is the smallest school in DII-AA, which has enrollments in other DII-AA schools in the 500-plus range.

“This is a decision we have not taken lightly,” John Griffith, BGA head of school, said in an announcement. “Ultimately, we want to be competitive in all sports. The division in which we will play contains some great competition with schools with which we have had some great rivalries.”

Last year, BGA started 5-0, but lost to powerhouses Ensworth, BA and Baylor late in the season. The Wildcats still made the playoffs.

• Nashville Christian School will host a fund-raiser for the girls basketball team Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., featuring a USA Championship Wrestling event in the school gym. It will include Jerry “The King’” Lawler against “Dirty” Dutch Mantell, following a tag-team event which starts the program.

Golden Circle seats are $20, ringside $12 and students/general admission $10. Tickets are available at the school. For more information: (615) 356-5600.

• The TSSAA network has produced a 15-minute highlight video which features the top plays from the past school year. It will be on display at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville. The video can be viewed online here.

• Christ Presbyterian Academy forward Braxton Blackwell and Ensworth guard Andrew Fleming have been invited to the U.S. basketball developmental national team mini-camp Oct. 5-8 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Fleming will try out for the 17-under team and Blackwell will try out for the 16-under squad.