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The Simpson Academy Cougars advanced to the second round of the MAIS class AAA playoffs by defeating the Green Wave of North Delta by a score of 41-26.
The game was held on the campus of SCA on the Eve of Halloween. The Green Wave came with their treat bag full of trick plays and offensive gimmicks in an effort to thwart the obvious advantage the Cougars had in size and strength.
However, the Green Wave was not expecting Kyle Burney to come dressed as, well, Kyle Burney. Kyle torched the Green Wave for 287 yards and 4 touchdowns on 30 carries. More than likely, the Green Wave made the long trip back to Batesville wondering who bought the tickets for them to see Nightmare on Academy Circle.
Unlike Freddie Kruger and his gloved arms full of razors, Kyle Burney needed only his two feet, both legs and a pair of cleats to make it difficult for North Delta to sleep that night. Visions of Kyle running up and down the field had to leave them lying awake throughout the night.
Burney scored on touchdown runs of 73, 42, 27 and 30 yards. In between the scores were runs that alternated between hard nose running and shifty and elusive. The offensive line for the Cougar held a decided size advantage and made the most of it throughout the night, opening hole after hole for Burney to run through.
Cullen Shows, Nicholas Dukes, Alex Hamilton, Peyton Neely, Jayce Knight and Patrick Mullins make up the starting line. This line performed well in the game, as they have all season long. Rarely do linemen get the credit they deserve, but this group has been one of the reasons why the Cougars have been able to rush for 3,678 yards this season.
Scott Johnson, along with his holder Chris Cockrell, have become a very reliable duo in the kicking game, and Johnson’s field goal in the opening minutes of the ball game gave the Cougars their first lead.
The Green Wave answered with a touchdown to take their one and only lead for the night on a 25 yard touchdown run. Nineteen seconds and 73 yards was all it took for Kyle Burney and the Cougars to retake the lead when he sprinted down the home sideline for his first score of the night.
Matthew Burney, at the quarterback position, stretched the lead when he scored on a 1 yard run in the second half. The Green Wave scored on their next drive to bring the score within 4 points, trailing the Cougars 13-17.
Fifteen seconds was all it took for the Cougars and Kyle Burney to stretch the lead to 24-13 when Kyle Burney scored his second touchdown, this time a 42 yard run. That lead held as the two teams went to their respective locker rooms for halftime.
The Green Wave managed to score the only points of the third quarter, on a 15 yard pass play. The Green Wave attempted the two point conversion but were unsuccessful.
The Cougars put the game away when another Johnson field goal was book ended by two more Kyle Burney touchdowns. With just two minutes to go in the ball game, the Cougars led by a score of 41-19. With the game all but decided, the Green Wave scored on a 5 yard pass play with just 30 seconds to go in the ballgame. The final score was 41-26.
Triston Cowan was his reliable, multi-talented self, rushing for 15 yards, 43 yards of receiving on 3 catches and recorded 6 tackles with 3.5 taking place behind the line of scrimmage.
Riley Runnels led the charge with 8 tackles while playing both special teams and linebacker. Will White was consistently present in the Green Wave backfield, disrupting play after play. White had 7.5 tackles and recorded 2 sacks that caused the Green Wave to lose 27 yards. Aaron Burney recorded 7 tackles, Dylan Hallman had 5.5 and Austin Teater had 4.
The Cougars advanced to the second round of the playoffs where they will face the number 3 seeded Starkville Academy Volunteers. Because of the higher seed, Starkville will host the game. The Volunteers advanced to the second round of the playoffs by defeating Lee Academy by a score of 29-0.
Starkville is 11-1 on the season, winning all of their home games and boasting a 4-1 record in away games. Their lone loss came at the hands of The Lamar School in the 4th week of the season, losing by a score of 13-31. The Cougars had defeated Lamar the week before, winning 26-22.
Since that loss, the Volunteers have won seven straight ballgames, including Friday night’s playoff game. The Volunteers were undefeated in a District that included Heritage, Leake and Winston Academies. The second round playoff game is scheduled to kickoff at 7pm.


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