BRENTWOOD — The White-to-Walton pipeline was gushing like never before for the Brentwood High School football team on Friday night.
Brentwood senior quarterback Davis White hooked up with senior wide receiver Aaron Walton for four touchdown passes — one in the first quarter, another in the second and two more in the third — to help the Bruins sail to a 31-7 non-district victory over winless Hillsboro on homecoming night at Brentwood.
White completed 22-of-33 passes for 208 yards, and Walton finished with seven catches for 96 yards. The senior tandem paired up for touchdown passes of 11 and 12 yards in the first half, and then produced long-distance scores — on TD passes covering 25 and 30 yards — in the third quarter for the Bruins, who improved to 2-4 overall.
“We’ve been playing together since sixth grade, and we’ve always had a great connection,” White said about his favorite target. “Tonight was great, and hopefully we can just keep it going like that for the rest of the season.”
Brentwood running back Scott Collins made his typical impactful contribution. Collins rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries and was Brentwood’s bell-cow in short yardage situations. He also had six catches for 39 yards against the Burros (0-6). Clayton Merrill finished with five catches for 57 yards.
The Bruins — who led 17-0 at the half and then scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions in the second half to remove all doubt — finished with 311 yards of offense.
Walton, who set a new career-high for single-game TD catches, said that he and White are linked together by more than just touchdown passes.
“I love the connection I have with Davis (on the field),” said Walton. “And he’s my best bud, too, so it’s just really awesome.”
Defensively, Henry Handley was credited with a team-high five tackles, and Adam Fontechia added three tackles and an interception, as Brentwood allowed just 103 yards of total offense, all of which came through the air. Hillsboro finished with 14 rushing attempts for zero yards.
The victory was another step forward for the Bruins, who have bounced back from an aggravating August by producing a strong September.
Brentwood, which advanced to the Class 6A championship game last year, stumbled to an 0-3 start this season. But the Bruins have responded with three consecutive impressive performances. The resurgence started with a 21-14 road win at Henry County on Sept. 10, followed by a well-played, hotly-contested 21-16 loss to Ravenwood last week. Then came Friday’s contest, in which Brentwood dominated from start to finish.
“We’ve been trending the right way for the past three weeks or so,” said Brentwood head coach Clint Finch. “When we were 0-3, our kids could have packed it in … but they don’t do that. They come to practice every day. I love them and I am proud of them. We talk about being the best that we can be — and we’ve set that as our goal, more so than wins. If we are as good as we can be, the wins will follow.”
During Friday’s game, each team’s opening possession was an omen of things to come.
Hillsboro’s first drive featured four penalties — including three procedure penalties — and resulted in a punt. Hillsboro was eventually flagged for a total of 13 penalties, for 90 yards, on the night. The most damaging was a holding penalty that nullified a 99-yard kickoff return by Mikeece Jones in the second quarter.
Brentwood’s first possession of the game was an 11-play, 52-yard scoring march that was capped by White’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Walton. That play set the tone for White and Walton, who played throw-and-catch in a seemingly effortless fashion the rest of the night.
“Davis made some really good throws, and he gave Aaron — who is just an absolute dude — an opportunity to make some really special catches tonight,” said Finch.
Hillsboro quarterback Deshawn Trotter finished 11-of-24 for 134 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 3:48 remaining in the game. The touchdown was set up by a blocked punt.
For Brentwood, the night didn’t contain many negatives, but the Bruins did miss out on a couple of scoring chances in the first half. Their second possession of the game stalled deep in the red zone, when they failed to convert on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Brentwood also moved into favorable scoring position late in the first half, but came up empty.
Still, the convincing victory provided further indication that Brentwood has rebounded from its slow start.
“To get a win on our home field — on homecoming — that feels really good,” said Walton. “And we are really excited heading into next week for a huge game against Independence.”
HENDERSONVILLE – Sometimes a football team wins a game when things don’t necessarily go as planned.
Brentwood 31, Hillsboro 7
HHS 0 0 0 7 — 7
BHS 7 10 14 0 — 31
1Q 4:46 B – Aaron Walton 11 pass from Davis White (Aiden Parker kick);
2Q 8:53 B – Parker 28 FG;
2Q 4:19 B – Walton 12 pass from White (Parker kick);
3Q 9:50 B – Walton 25 pass from White (Parker kick);
3Q 2:51 B – Walton 30 pass from White (Parker kick);
4Q 2:20 H – Mikeece Jones 10 pass from Deshawn Trotter (Andrew Thornton kick).
First Downs — Hillsboro 5, Brentwood 22
Rushing Att/Yards — Hillsboro 14-0, Brentwood 37-103
Passing Yards — Hillsboro 134, Brentwood 208
Penalties — Hillsboro 13-90, Brentwood 6-60
Hillsboro – Robert Browning 1-5, Deshawn Trotter 4-3, Max Williams 1-(-2), Trey Johnson 8-(-6). Brentwood – Scott Collins 20-106, Trey Doris 4-22, Jackson Lowe 6-7, Briggs Beck 1-4, Daniel Cochran 2-(-16), Davis White 4-(-20).
Hillsboro – Deshawn Trotter 11-24-1-1 — 134. Brentwood – Davis White 22-33-0-4 — 208.
Hillsboro – Michael Gordon 3-67, Mikeece Jones 5-44, Amari Southall 2-15, Paul Puckett 1-8. Brentwood – Aaron Walton 7-96, Clayton Merrill 5-57, Scott Collins 6-39, Matthew Manning 3-16, Ryan Barrett 1-0.