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McComb invades BHS homecoming

Brookhaven, the surprise team in Division 6-4A this season,hopes to author another upset Friday night when the McComb Tigerstest the Panthers on King Field.

Brookhaven, the surprise team in Division 6-4A this season,hopes to author another upset Friday night when the McComb Tigerstest the Panthers on King Field. It’s homecoming at BHS and a largecrowd is expected for the 7:30 kickoff.

Brookhaven (5-1, 2-0) has won five straight games, includinglast Friday’s 25-20 upset win at South Pike. McComb (7-1, 3-0),preseason favorite in the division race, is ranked No. 12 in thelatest Associated Press Prep Poll. The Tigers’ only loss was 21-7to Warren Central.

Lee Bramlett is head coach of the McComb Tigers, Bramlett andhis staff have had a different week of preparation because theschool has suspended classes for one week.

“We started school a week early so school is out this week,”explained Bramlett. “I’m anxious to see how it affects us. We tryto keep practice the same. We bring the players in at 1 p.m., doour meetings and weight work. Then we go outside for practice.”

“I know the kids are sleeping late and that changes theirroutine.”

Brookhaven’s success on the gridiron this season has opened theeyes of more than a few coaches, according to Bramlett. “Brookhavenis the surprise team of the division. I knew Lawrence County andSouth Pike would be good again but Brookhaven lost a lot tograduation.

“To have the record that they’ve had and to be undefeated in thedivision is surprising.”

Bramlett said senior quarterback Fred Perkins has been a key toBrookhaven’s success. “They have a great athlete at quarterback.Their offensive line is probably as good as we’ve seen coming offthe football.

“Last year (Perkins) was playing tight end but he got loose onus,” Bramlett continued. “This year he gets the ball on every snapso you have to be concerned where he is at all times.”

Perkins is not a one-man football team. Tailback CorneliusAllen, fullback Josh Anderson and wingback Tarik Williams haveprovided the Panthers with a strong, fast and explosivebackfield.

McComb’s strong suit this year has been defense. “We have a gooddefense but we have three sophomores starting,” said Bramlett. “Wehave a lot of seniors in the secondary and a senior nose guard inThomas Jackson.”

On offense the Tigers are led by senior quarterback DamienGivens who can pass and run the football. “I’m sure we’ll have tothrow the football Friday night against Brookhaven,” Bramlettpredicted. “Damien is like a coach on the field. He can recognizethe things that need to be done.”

Steven Brookings is McComb’s placekicker. “He has done a goodjob punting and kicking off for us this year,” said Bramlett. “Wehave had some trouble with our extra points.”

Bramlett is in his 9th year at McComb and he knows Brookhavenwell. “It should be a typical McComb-Brookhaven game. We don’t mindhomecomings when it’s somebody else’s.”

Panthers Think McComb

Brookhaven head coach Greg Wall has been watching theTigers on film this week. “Offensively, McComb has as good a teamas they have had in a long time,” said Wall. “They are versatileand they do a lot of things well.”

Givens (6-3, 175) drew special praise from Wall. “He hasgood feet. He can throw the ball well.” Tailback Thomas Pittman andfullback Thomas Jackson compliment the McComb attack.

“Our defense is really going to have to play well,” saidWall. “We can’t afford to give up the big play.”

Defense is where McComb shines brightest. “McComb isawful quick on defense and they pursue the ball well,” said Wall.”They try to confuse the offensive line by moving around before thesnap.. Their nose guard (Jackson) penetrates real well and causesproblems.

“Our offensive line faces a challenge to keep ourrunners free,” Wall continued. Kern Hoff, starting offensive guard,broke a bone in his lower right leg during the South Pike game andunderwent surgery Monday. Adam Furlow has replacedHoff.

Wall said he has been concerned about special teams. Apunt, a field goal and two extra points were blocked in last week’s25-20 win over South Pike.

“We have worked on special teams to correct ourmistakes,” said Wall. “McComb has blocked about seven punts thisyear.

“Corey Wilson (deep snapper) and Justin Windham(punter/placekicker) have worked hard on their duties,” Wall added.”We have to block well and cover quick because McComb has some guyswho can return it in a hurry.”

South Pike Rehash

In the win over South Pike, Perkins rushed 22 times for111 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was chosen The DailyLeader’s Offensive Player of the Week.

Anderson rushed for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns in thevictory. Offensive tackle Randy Jackson recovered a fumble after ablocked field goal attempt which led to a second quarter Brookhaventouchdown and a shocking 18-0 lead.

On defense, linebacker Ron Mackabee led the Pantherswith 9 tackles. Raphael Smith, Emanuel Perkins and Percy Brumfieldrecovered fumbles.

Panther Paws: Last year McComb beat Brookhaven 28-6 atMcComb.