Brantley's seven touchdowns power Faith Christian to win


Sports Writer

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Faith Christian football team wasn’t sure if its top running back would be available for Friday’s home game against John Paul II Christian.

Hobart Brantley injured his knee last week and had his mind made up all day Friday that he wouldn’t be able to play. The senior came out of an orthopedic appointment later in the afternoon with good news and a changed mind.

“I had my mind set that I wasn’t going to play,” Brantley said. “But I saw an orthopedic doctor today, he said ‘It’s homecoming, you can’t hurt it anymore, and you’re good to play.’ I heard that and thought about it real hard. I thought this would be my last time I could play in a homecoming game so I had to do it.”

Shaky knee and all, Brantley carried the Patriots to a 58-26 win with seven total touchdowns.

Brantley ran for four rushing touchdowns from 14, 6, 7 and 40 yards out. He caught two passes from quarterback Chandler Cockrell — both went for touchdowns — and added a fourth quarter 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The senior entered just shy of 1,000 rushing yards with 995, and after adding 190 on the ground in Friday’s win is up to 1,185 yards on the season.

“Fortunately the injury wasn’t as bad as we feared,” FCS coach Russell Weinstein said after the game. “There wasn’t any structural damage, so we dodged that bullet.”

Brantley, who plays both sides of the ball, said that he felt some pain during the game, but the adrenaline of being on the field for much of the blowout win masked most of the discomfort.

Shaikey Hardy, the other punishing runner in the Patriots’ backfield, ran for 107 yards and a 27-yard touchdown run.

The Patriots (3-3, 2-2) played with the lead ever since scoring on their opening drive. They held a 30-6 lead at one point in the second quarter, and took a 30-14 lead into halftime.

Despite the early deficit for John Paul (1-4, 0-4), the Saints never went away. They ran the ball for 261 yards, led by Devin Crumble’s three touchdown, 134-yard effort. The Saints ran an old-school, single wing offense and made for a tough night for the Patriots’ defense.

John Paul’s offensive linemen were pressed in close, and it made for an effective wall of blockers for its running game.

“Their backs had a good knack at feeling the crease and being patient for the crease to develop,” Weinstein said. “It’s a hard thing to defend when they’re packed in there like that to find a place to get to the ball carrier.

“That’s an old school type of way to play football, the single wing. It’s back in the Notre Dame days with Knute Rockne and that crowd back in the day. It’s sound, good football, but it’s different in today’s time.”

The only time the Saints scored consecutive touchdowns came when they punched in a 1-yard run at the end of the first half, then opened the third quarter with a 54-yard touchdown drive.

The offense was effective at moving the ball, but the Saints didn’t break as many chunk plays as they would like as the FCS defense didn’t break often.

“They want to shove it down your throat and they did that pretty good,” Brantley said. “They were overpowering us at times when they pulled a guard, and that’s why we couldn’t get that many big stops. But we found a way to stop them.”

Next up for FCS is a road game at rival Arendell Parrott Academy on Friday.

Scoring plays

First quarter

FCS — Hobart Brantley 14 run (pass failed), 8:30

FCS — Brantley 12 pass from Chandler Cockrell (Tullyn McKenzie pass from Cockrell), 3:26

Second quarter

JP — Devin Crumble 4 run (run failed), 19:49

FCS — Brantley 6 run (Brantley run), 6:49

FCS — Brantley 7 run (Brantley run), 4:26

JP — Crumble 1 run (Grason Heath pass from Ethan Mitchell), 0:37

Third quarter

JP — Crumble 5 run (pass failed), 5:41

FCS — Brantley 25 pass from Cockrell (Brantley run), 3:41

Fourth quarter

FCS — Shaikey Hardy 27 run (pass failed), 10:07

JP — Shiyah Waller 50 run (run failed), 8:03

FCS — Brantley 40 run (pass failed), 5:28

FCS — Brantley 60 interception return (Brantley run), 1:55