Briarfield routs Humphreys 54-6 to claim 8-man championship

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, November 18, 2017

JACKSON — When Briarfield Academy was on offense, it sprinted right down the field. When it was on defense, it swarmed to the football like a pack of wolves.

And, when it came time to hoist the championship trophy, the Rebels lifted it high.

Holt Martin accounted for eight touchdowns — five passing and three rushing — Grayson Parker caught five passes for 100 yards and three scores and Briarfield routed Humphreys Academy 54-6 in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools 8-Man championship game on Saturday.

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Martin completed 10 of 19 passes for 177 yards and added another 165 yards on the ground for Briarfield (11-2), which set championship game records for margin of victory and fewest points allowed.

“It’s kind of surreal right now. I don’t know what to think. We’ve been putting this in ever since we were 5 years old. Our dads told us we were going to follow in their footsteps and to actually do that, not everybody gets that opportunity,” Martin said.

It’s the first state championship for Briarfield as a member of the MAIS. It won three titles in the defunct Louisiana Independent School Association in 1979, 1989 and 1991 — past success that helped fuel this year’s run.

Parker and Martin’s fathers played together on the 1989 championship team.

“Me and (Martin) have been playing football together since in peewee. We’ve been working for it and we knew what we needed to do when we came into the season and we did what we had to do,” Parker said. “My dad and (Martin’s) dad played together for a state championship and they’ve been pressing us to do the same thing. We finally did it our senior year.”

Humphreys (12-1) came in undefeated and as the No. 1 seed in the 8-Man playoff bracket, and Briarfield was No. 3. Right from the start, however, Briarfield owned the day with an efficient offense and a lockdown defense that never gave Humphreys an inch of daylight on the field or the scoreboard.

Martin threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Parker on the third play of the game, and then scored on runs of 13, 70 and 29 yards on the Rebels’ next three possessions as they jumped out to a 26-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Martin added a 21-yard touchdown pass to Parker midway through the second quarter, and a two-point conversion made it 34-0.

“We put in the work, so we kind of had the expectations that that was what we wanted to do,” Martin said of the fast start. “This week has been crazy. We’ve been putting in unbelievable hours of work and study. Our coaches have really been hard on us. We wanted it to go that way, but we didn’t think it was going to happen like that.”

Humphreys only had 106 yards of total offense in the first half. It did score on a 3-yard run by Kenny Coalson in the final minute — after it was stopped on downs at the goal line and Briarfield fumbled it back two plays later — but never threatened to get back in the game.

Martin threw two more touchdown passes in the third quarter, one to Parker and another to Daniel Frasier, and added a 51-yard score to senior lineman Kade Howard in the fourth quarter to cap the romp. The 12-yard touchdown to Frasier with 2:40 left in the third quarter pushed the lead to 48-6 and triggered a running clock for the rest of the game.

Humphreys finished with 131 yards and six first downs in the game. Three of its first downs came via penalty.

“It’s all about attitude. Ever since Riverdale (a 22-14 loss on Oct. 13) it’s zero points. Everything else is unacceptable. Six points, I’m not happy with it, but it took them seven times to score inside the 5. So I’ll live with it,” Briarfield defensive coordinator Will Jackson said. “They tackled and they fought their butts off. Humphreys came out and tried to hit us in the mouth and we stood our ground. It was a great defensive effort from all eight guys out on the field.”

Briarfield recorded three sacks and forced a pair of turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown by T.J. Baker that was negated by an illegal block well behind the play.

Briarfield just missed its fourth consecutive shutout and sixth of the season. It allowed a total of 12 points in its last six games.

“We were shooting for a shutout, but I guess one point won’t hurt,” Parker said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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