Four touchdown runs of 69 yards or more.
And a guy named Jamarious Brooks could not be stopped.
That’s pretty much all you need to know when understanding why Brighton lost to Memphis Central 57-38 Friday night in a Region 8-5A game at home.
Brooks, who finished with 387 yards and six touchdowns on 14 carries (that’s 28 yards per carry), had touchdown runs of 74, 69 and 85 yards and had a 75-yard TD run called back on a holding penalty. Brighton also allowed an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We’ve got to stay away from the big play and we’ve got to quit beating ourselves,” said Brighton head coach Mike David, whose team fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in region play. “We had some great moments tonight and we were in a position to win and we let it slip through our hands. We gave them way too many points.”
Things looked grim early for the Cardinals.
Brooks provided a clue of things to come when he ran for 45 yards on Central’s first play from scrimmage. Central scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, while Brighton punted on its first three, and the Warriors led 21-0 one minute into the second quarter.
Even though Nick Harvell finally got Brighton on the board with a 15-yard TD run, Central scored again moments later and the lead was still 20 points.
Ty Stark pulled Brighton within 14 with a 23-yard TD run. With less than a minute before halftime, Brighton cornerback Emmanuel Thurman picked off a pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to make the score 28-22 and Brighton was back in the game.
Brighton stayed within striking distance through the third quarter and midway through the fourth. Trailing 50-38, one Brighton drive ended on a fumble and another on downs before Brooks put the game away with his final touchdown run of the game.
The Cardinals’ offense had its moments. Stark had a strong game with 113 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Harvell rushed for 68 yards and passed for 64. Braxton Sharp, who was in and out of the game with a leg injury, was limited to 58 yards on 12 carries.
“We think we can score anytime we want and our kids know that, but we cannot give them free points,” David said. “A lot of times that was happening tonight.”