COOKEVILLE — Following a nearly flawless first half from both teams offensively, both defenses dug in, turning what started as a fast-paced shootout into somewhat of a defensive struggle in the final two quarters of regulation in Thursday’s Division II-AA title game at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium.
However, overtime was required to settle the highly-anticipated rematch between prestigious private school programs Brentwood Academy and Montgomery Bell Academy.
Brentwood Academy junior quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall hooked up with teammate Camron Johnson on a quick out route on a 2-point conversion play in the second overtime, sealing a 56-55 victory.
It was the Eagles’ first state championship since 2006 and 11th overall and the school’s first title-game triumph over the Big Red in six tries.
“We knew they were going to go for two,” MBA coach Marty Euverard said. “They ran a nice little pick play that a lot of people run. They executed and we didn’t get it done in the end.”
After erasing an eight-point deficit in the final moments of regulation, Brentwood Academy (12-1), which blasted Montgomery Bell Academy by 34 points in the two teams’ Oct. 9 regular-season meeting, knotted things up on Oatsvall’s 8-yard touchdown run in the second overtime.
“Before overtime coaches told us if they score, we get it back and we’re going for two for the win,” Oatsvall said. “We all kind of had the mindset that we have to score and have to go for two and win this football game.
“All that hard work and waking up at 5 a.m. paid off.”
The two sides combined to rack up 698 yards and 28 first downs, resulting in a 31-28 halftime advantage for the Eagles before finishing with 1,047 yards and a BlueCross Bowl record 111 points.
The Big Red (11-2) were led by DII-AA Mr. Football Back of the Year Ty Chandler, who racked up 398 all-purpose yards, three rushing scores and a 40-yard touchdown reception on 44 total touches.
“We were moving the ball well on offense,” Chandler said. “We came up short but we played our guts out; we played with a lot of heart out there.”
MBA battled back in the third and fourth quarters, claiming a one-point edge on the 5-foot-11, 188-pound junior’s state-championship record 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
He later stretched his team’s advantage to 45-37 with a 2-yard touchdown run with just 5:18 remaining, but Brentwood Academy proceeded to march 59 yards on seven plays, capping the crucial scoring drive with Prince Momodu’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1:40 to play.
Oatsvall completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 280 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, while the game’s offensive MVP also amassed 159 yards rushing and two scores on 23 carries.
“He’s a phenomenal kid,” Brentwood Academy coach Cody White said. “It’s funny, I’m a pretty rigid person and he’s kind of loose, but man is he a good player and fun to be around.”
Johnson and fellow receiver Daniel Taylor combined to haul in 14 receptions for 261 yards, while Johnson also finished with 66 yards rushing on three carries, including a 22-yard first-quarter score.
Reach Michael Murphy at 615-259-8262 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports.