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Hartselle Enquirer

First half dooms Brewer in opener

Benjamin Maxwell
Special to the Enquirer

The Brewer Patriots (0-1) kicked off their season on the road against West Point (1-0) on Friday night. The Patriots strong second-half effort was not enough to overcome a 43-22 West Point victory.

“It’s a telling game but it’s an easily corrected game,” said Brewer head coach Dan Styles. “We didn’t get whipped; we just didn’t do our job. This game should help us in that respect. We have to take the lessons from this game and get better. We have a long way to go and the kids know that.”

The loss is the first for Patriot’s head coach Dan Styles, who kicked off his head coaching career against West Point.

“These are lessons learned for me too,” said Styles. “It’s my first game calling the defensive plays. It’s hard when you think you’ve done the right things in preparation and they don’t pan out. There were lessons learned for myself. I think there is good we can take away from this game. The kids believe in the process and it’s a teachable moment. There is a lot to work on but a lot to build on.”

Brewer struggled on their opening drive and was forced to punt. The punt was blocked by West Point senior Brandon Wray. However, Brewer bounced back after recovering a fumble on West Point first offensive drive on the Brewer nine-yard line. The Patriots offense stalled again and were forced to punt the ball away.

West Point drew first blood with five minutes remaining in the first quarter as sophomore Bryant Farley rushed for a 27-yard touchdown. Sophomore Ryder Jones received the scoring pass on the two-point conversion play to put West Point up 8-0.

On the following drive Brewer’s offense began to hit their stride as senior quarterback Weston Pritchett hit junior James Daugette on a long pass play. However, the Patriots turned the ball over with a fumble on their own 35-yard line with three minutes left in the first quarter. West Point junior Tristan Dubbery turned the Brewer error into points on the proceeding drive with an 11-yard touchdown carry. Tyler Smith’s point after attempt put West Point up 15-0 heading into the second quarter.

West Point’s offense triumphed over the second quarter. Bryant Farley rushed for a 37-yard touchdown on an option play and topped it off with a two-point conversion run giving West Point a 23-0 lead. Five minutes later Farley completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior Wesley Smith. The failed point-after attempt put West Point up 29-0.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Farley completed another 22-yard touchdown pass to junior Jordan McKenzie. Smith’s extra point gave West Point a 36-0 lead at halftime.

“[At halftime] we talked about how we need to respond and that bad things are going to happen in kickoff games, but it’s our response that dictates where we go from there,” said Styles. “We have so many young guys on the field whose response was strong. There wasn’t a question of them playing hard; it was just about playing smart.”

Brewer’s defense stood tall in the second half. The Patriot’s junior Jade Blocker hit West Point’s quarterback Farley in the backfield forcing them to punt. However the West Point offense would strike one more time with a five yard touchdown rush by Brandon Addison giving West Point a 43-0 lead.

Brewer responded as Pritchett connected two consecutive passes to sophomore Brendon Deberry totaling 56 yards and an 18-yard touchdown reception. A successful two-point play put the Patriots on the board trailing 43-8.

Pritchett and Deberry continued their success through the air as the two connected again to open the fourth quarter up with a 65-yard touchdown reception. Pritchett connected with Devon Green on a two-point play to cut into West Point’s lead at 43-16.

The Patriots offense continued to display their determination through repeated penalty calls on their final drive as Deberry carried the ball 18 yards for another Patriot touchdown. The failed two-point play left Brewer to settle for the 43-22 loss against West Point.

Brewer now prepares to welcome Boaz in their first home game of the season on Sept. 7. West Point will host Athens.

“Our focus this week goes back to the bare essentials of doing what we need to do,” Styles said. “West Point was a tough team; we had to prepare for, basically the triple option and it takes only one guy missing his assignment for it to turn into a big play. I probably had more to learn then the kids did as far as preparation goes. There is a lot to take from the game and move forward, and we will.”

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