Brooks County's Malkolm Parrish lit up the scoreboard at Hugh Mills on Friday to lead the Trojans past Monroe, 48-14.
ALBANY --- Brooks County's players and coaches seemed touched Friday night by Monroe's gesture to honor the tragic summer deaths of three Trojan football players in a ceremony before the game.
But not enough to show the Tornadoes any mercy.
Class AA state power Brooks (2-0) bashed Class AAAA Monroe (0-1) at Hugh Mills Stadium, 48-14, on Friday in the Tornadoes' 2013 season opener, dropping MHS to 0-4 against the Trojans in their last four meetings.
Brooks County senior quarterback Malkolm Parrish simply dominated the game from start to finish, rushing for four touchdowns and 175 yards in the win.
"We knew coming in, we had to contain their quarterback," Monroe coach Charles Truitt said. "And we didn't do that."
Added Brown: "You can't arm tackle people that fast. We gotta go back to work on that."
Monroe looked like it would challenge the Trojans early when star quarterback and reigning Albany Herald Player of the Year Charles Stafford led the Tornadoes down the field 67 yards on their opening drive, hooking up with Daryl Brown from 22 yards out for a quick score. Monroe missed the PAT.
But Parrish and the Trojans answered right back, engineering a 70-yard drive of their own to score in less than two minutes on a Parrish keeper, as Brooks made its PAT to take 7-6 lead. Monroe had a promising drive on its second series bogged down by three penalties, and Brooks had the ball back at midfield after a shoddy Tornadoes punt. Parrish found the back of the end zone for a second time to cap the drive, muscling his way in from two yards out to put Brooks up 14-6.
Stafford, however, refused to quit and --- after the Monroe defense's first stop of the game --- led Monroe on an impressive 50-yard, six-play drive in the second quarter that ended with a 13-yard pitch and catch to Brown again. Stafford took the two-point try in himself to knot the game at 14-14.
It was the last time Monroe would score.
Shortly after the game became tied, Brooks broke Monroe's back, its will and its spirit all at once when the Trojans responded with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Deric Herring to go back ahead, 21-14.
And the Trojans never looked back.
Between Brooks' smothering secondary and Stafford's timing with his receivers being off for most of the night, Monroe didn't get much going offensively --- and its defense certainly had no answer for Parrish. The UGA commit will likely make Bulldog fans everywhere salivate once they see the tape of this game.
Hering's kick return was still the highlight of the night. He began jogging in place after hauling in the kick, and it soon became clear Hering was just waiting for his opening. Once he found it, he crashed through, breaking two tackles and appearing to come to a stop in the middle of the Monroe special teams. Instead, he pulled a last-second whirling-dervish spin move that shot him out of the pile like a cannon.
It was off to the races, and no one was going to catch him.
"That kick ... man. That was crazy," Brown said, exasperated. "That really just dropped the whole defensive mentality. After that, everything started just slowing (going downhill)."
Parrish would add two-second half scores, and RB Mitavious Brooks busted one for 65 yards early in the third. Monroe's offense got into Brooks' red zone twice in the second half but turned it over twice on downs.
Brooks County, which is ranked No. 4 in the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AA prep football poll, next faces Valdosta --- a Class AAAAAA school.
NOTES: The ceremony honoring Jicarre Watkins, Shawn Waters and Johnnie Parker before the game featured cheerleaders from Monroe presenting roses to members of the families of the three Brooks County players who lost their lives in July during a car accident while on their way to football practice. Monroe QB Charles Stafford and LB Tim McCray also led a contingent of Tornadoes players and coaches onto the field, where they presented the families a plaque. Each team stood in opposite end zones, helmets under their arm, while the ceremony took place. Monroe principal Vinson Davis spoke to the crowd over the loudspeaker at the visitor's press box, asking everyone to pray for the loved ones of Waters, Parker and Watkins, as well as the Brooks County football team as it continues to try and heal from this tragedy ... Parrish said after the game the Trojans had dedicated their season to their fallen teammates, adding that "everything we do, we do for them." ... Monroe will host another lower-classification powerhouse next week when Class A Wilcox County comes to town ... Brown, who stands just 5-foot-7 but has one of the biggest hearts of any player on the field, had a special night in the loss, catching both TDs and rushing for just over 100 yards ... Of Monroe's four straight losses to Brooks, this was by far the worst. Last year, they lost, 21-18; in 2011 it was 21-12; and the in 2010 was 27-19.