The Blue Devils finally found a way to overcome host Brentwood 7-0 in the sectional state playoff game. The Devils had beat the Eagles 55-0 in the second week of the regular season.
With 3:15 left on the clock, MRH junior Aaron Spudich stripped the ball from Brentwood senior Danny Lynch. MRH junior Kahlid Hagens scooped up the ball and sprinted 80 yards for the game's first and only score.
“Touchdown, that’s all I thought in my mind,” Hagens said. “Touchdown. The game is over.”
"Kahlid is a super star," said MRH assistant coach Sterling Finney, who is filling in as head coach for the suspended Brandon Gregory. "We know that he can do exactly what we ask him to do."
The Eagles' season ends at 7-4 while the Blue Devils proceed to the state quarterfinals on Saturday.
Up until the fumble, Lynch had run and run. “He’s got a 6-5, 250-pound heart in him, and it just keeps on beating,” Brentwood coach Keith Herring said.
MRH had averaged 44.5 points a game up to this one. The Eagles held the Devils to 79 offensive yards and four first downs through the whole game.
Hagens was 5-for-10 passing for 39 yards. Sophomore PJ Grady-Liska was the leading MRH rusher, gaining 17 yards on five carries. Senior Kashon Hagens was the leading receiver with three receptions totaling 21 yards.
“They played us harder than any team we faced this year, including the losses,” Finney said. “Credit to Brentwood. It was obvious that they watched us on film.”
Hagens said the Blue Devils took the game for granted.
“In our heads, since we beat them 55-0, as a team, we just overlooked them,” he said. “Point-blank, we overlooked them.”
Brentwood was counting on that.
"Everything was falling the way we wanted,” Herring said. “The wet field was going to help us, and they were probably going to overlook us, and we had a great game plan going in. We did a lot of scouting on them.”
Brentwood had 10 first downs to MRH’s 4. It took MRH until the third quarter to get as close as the Brentwood 20, which resulted in a missed field goal.
The Brentwood drive that ended with a MRH touchdown began on the Eagles' own 20 after the missed field goal. In nine plays and three first downs, they were nearing the MRH red zone when Spudich stripped the ball from Lynch.
“We had goals coming in. We were going to try to improve every day,” Herring said.
“District champions. It was fun,” he said. “They bought into everything. They’ve worked extremely hard this year. I’m just so proud of them. I love these kids. My heart breaks for them.”
MRH will face Caruthersville at home on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.