Bearcats hold off Warriors

Brookland's Joseph Wright finds a running lane as Westside's Cameron Hedger (23) gives chase during Friday night's game at Warrior Stadium.

JONESBORO — Brookland’s defense came through again Friday night to give the Bearcats their first-ever victory over Westside.

Two first-half touchdowns proved to be enough as Brookland edged Westside 14-12 at Warrior Stadium. The victory was the Bearcats’ first over the Warriors, who won the first nine meetings in the series.

Brookland improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2017. The Bearcats won in similar fashion in their season opener, earning a 7-6 victory at Gosnell.

The Bearcats finished with 208 yards rushing as a team, led by Kaden Matthews with 117 yards on 14 attempts. Joseph Wright added 93 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Barrett Cunningham was 5-of-11 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown.

Wright scored Brookland’s first points Friday on a 10-yard run in the first quarter, followed by Jesus Ramirez's extra point. Westside (0-2) quickly answered as Cameron Hedger returned the kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown with 4:46 left in the quarter, but Ayden Stinnett blocked the extra point to keep the Bearcats in the lead at 7-6.

Brookland missed a scoring opportunity in the second quarter when Sinquan Spratt’s 48-yard touchdown run was called back because of an illegal block, but the Bearcats struck in the final minute of the half for a 14-6 halftime lead.

Stinnett took Cunningham’s short pass 86 yards for a touchdown with 37 seconds remaining in the half. Catching the ball around his team’s 20-yard line, Stinnett raced to the sideline and slipped a tackle near the 35 on his way to the end zone.

Westside capped a long third-quarter drive with a touchdown on fourth down from the 1-yard line as Hedger took a toss and scored off the left side. The Warriors came back with another toss sweep on the two-point conversion attempt, but the Bearcats stopped Hedger just short of the end zone to keep a 14-12 lead with 2:55 remaining in the period.

Hedger found an opening for a 34-yard run to the Brookland 33 to start the fourth quarter, but the Warriors came up empty when a 37-yard field goal attempt bounced off the crossbar with 7:54 left in the game.

Matthews broke runs of 15, 29 and 21 yards in a Brookland drive that reached the Westside 14, but a penalty backed up the Bearcats and they turned the ball over on downs at the 25.

Westside moved the ball near midfield in the final minute before Stinnett intercepted a halfback pass and took a knee at the Bearcats’ 41 with 36 seconds remaining.

Brookland has an open date before hosting Rivercrest in its home opener Sept. 17. Westside closes non-conference play next week with a trip to Hoxie.