Montgomery Bell Academy quarterback Marcel Reed and a solid defensive showing helped MBA defeat Ensworth 31-21 on Friday night.
Reed, a sophomore, threw for 167 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came in the second half at Ensworth’s Daily Stadium.
“It was tough in the first half, we weren’t playing any good defense and Ensworth was playing good defense themselves,” MBA coach Marty Euverard said. “We felt good at halftime because we knew we weren’t playing well. In the second half, we were able to stop the run a bit more, make them throw the ball and make good plays.”
In the first quarter, Ensworth seemingly moved the ball up and down the field at will. Levi Moore ran for a 58-yard touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 7-0.
The Big Red turned the tide in the second quarter. After forcing Ensworth to go three-and-out, MBA blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for the tying touchdown.
On their ensuing drive, Moore again led the Tigers down the field at ease. However, the Big Red forced a fourth-and-goal at their 1-yard line. Charles Ingram punched in for a touchdown to make the score 14-7 Ensworth with 5:46 left before halftime.
MBA answered with Reed’s first score on a 19-yard pass to Rhett Hayles three minutes later.
Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter. But on the first play, Reed found receiver Lucien Brunetti on a screen that turned into a 59-yard touchdown pass, giving MBA a 21-14 lead. MBA recovered the ensuing onside kick.
“The screen play to Lucien Brunetti and followed by the kickoff that we dropped in the hole, and our guys recovered it…those were two biggest plays of the game,” Euverard said.
The Big Red capitalized with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Reed to Zak Herbstreit to go up 28-14 with 8:22 remaining.
“(Coach Euverard) just gives me plays where I have to make my reads,” Reed said. “When I make my three-progression reads, it slows the game down and makes it easier.”
MBA senior Maxwell Battle intercepted Moore on the next drive to put the game out of reach. Moore finished with 170 yards on 18-of-33 passing. He also ran for 128 yards on 18 carries to account for most of Ensworth's 394 total yards.
The Big Red (3-0) will host Pope John Paul II next Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
“They have the Wisconsin commit (Antwan Roberts), it’s going to be a big challenge,” Euverard said. “We just gotta heal up, go back to the fundamentals, and play good Big Red football.”
Ensworth (0-3) will try to try to bounce back at Father Ryan (1-2) the same night.