The Brookhaven High School football team plays host to Beechcroft on Friday in a matchup that pits one of the speediest backfields in the City League against a team that emphasizes the power running game.

Whichever team can establish its systemcould have the advantage in the latest meeting between the two programs which features first place in the City-North Division and significant computer points on the line.

Brookhaven won 51-14 a year ago.

"They're well-coached, and their kids believe in the system," Cougars coach Tom Dunlap said. "What we'll have to find out is whether we can be physical and run the ball with our bigger backs. If we're able to get first downs and maintain the ball, that will be the key for us. Defensively, we'll have to stop their big plays. They do have a lot of speed in their running game."

Brookhaven, which has defeated Beechcroft in each of the last six meetings, has one of the area's top running backs in Andrew Herrell (746 yards rushing). Quarterback Cameron Brown scored on a 21-yard run last Friday in a 56-0 win over Centennial and has shown an ability to pass as well as carry the ball since taking over four games ago.

The Bearcats, whose only loss was to Hilliard Davidson (24-21 on Aug. 29), have given up just 15 points over their three City-North wins.

Brookhaven's biggest task on defense will be stopping Beechcroft's power running game led by tailback Wallace Hale. B.J. Watkins, who battled injuries throughout September, scored on a 15-yard run last Friday in the Cougars' 67-6 win over East.

Dairon Glover also has proven to be a weapon at fullback.

"They've been very opportunistic in the games that we've watched," Brookhaven coach Anthony Thornton said. "They take full advantage of their opportunities. Focus is the biggest thing. If we do the little things we're supposed to do, we'll be fine. I have a great feeling about it. In the games we played last week, it wasn't the typical sloppy football that you sometimes play. They were clean victories in terms of execution."

Beechcroft, which has rotated Antonio Stevenson and Joe Simpson since early in the season and likely will continue the practice Friday, is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the City-North.

The Cougars' defense has posted four shutouts and given up just 19 points on the season. East's touchdown last Friday came on a kickoff return.

"The kids know each other, and they keep talking about their passing quarterback," Thornton said of Stevenson, who has proven to be successful passing the ball as Simpson has created more offensively with his running ability. "They know they'll have to have more than just a running game to beat us. I would guess that their two-platoon quarterbacking is a way to prepare for us."

•RED DEVILS TO FACE EASTMOOR - Marion-Franklin's 30-game City-South winning streak will be on the line when it travels to Eastmoor on Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams.

Considering that neither team's non-league wins will provide much in terms of computer points, the winner Friday can enter the final three games of the regular season breathing easier in regard to its playoff hopes.
Last year, Eastmoor lost to the Red Devils 16-13 and went 9-1 but failed to qualify for the Division III postseason.

"We're excited to be a part of this game," Marion-Franklin coach Brian Haffele said. "We've been natural rivals the last four years. I think this is the best Eastmoor team in the last four years. Last year they had (2008 graduate Isaiah Pead) and we knew we had to stop him. This year, they're more of a team."

The Warriors had one of the area's leading rushers in Carl Washington (605 yards through four games), but he is out for the season with a broken ankle.

In Eastmoor's 14-6 win last Friday over Walnut Ridge, quarterback Malon Johnson scored on a 3-yard run and Devon Ross scored on a 2-yard run. Ronald Wallace is another key runner for the Warriors.
Linebackers Devante Strickland and Curt Peele and lineman Ky'Ayre Hubert are among the Red Devils' top defenders.
"I'm excited," Eastmoor coach Jim Miranda said. "This is where all the hard work pays off. We've just got to deal with some certain little injuries we've had. Other than that, the kids have been stepping up."

Marion-Franklin running back Tyrell Massey is one of the area's most explosive players, and last Friday he ran for 190 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries in a 49-17 win over West.
Junior quarterback Verlon Reed also has been steady, according to Haffele.

Defensively, Eastmoor is led by linebacker Victor Rodriguez and linemen Ryan Wilborn and Darryl Wood.

•LEAGUE FINALS SCHEDULE - The City will hold five championships over the next three weeks.

The first ones will be held Tuesday, when the cross country meets for boys and girls will run at Whetstone and the girls tennis final will be held at the site of the winner of the City-North.

Centennial and Whetstone were tied for first in the City-North before last Monday and Briggs will represent the City-South.

On Oct. 9, the City-North winner will play host to the boys soccer final. The City golf tournament will be held Oct. 16 at Airport. The City-North winner will play host to the girls volleyball final Oct. 21.