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Panthers conquer McClain, Hattiesburg in jamboree

HATTIESBURG – If spring football jamborees are any indication ofwhat lies ahead, the Brookhaven Panthers should be contenders forthe Region 6-4A championship. Led by tailback Cornelius Allen, thePanthers provided a preview of the 2001 campaign Friday night,beating the McClain Mustangs 7-0 and the Hattiesburg Tigers 21-20in the Hattiesburg Jamboree.

Allen, a senior this fall, rushed the football 15 times for 151yards. He also caught 1 pass for 48 yards in Brookhaven’sgame-winning drive against Hattiesburg.

Fullback Josh Anderson followed Allen with 12 carries for 84yards and 2 touchdowns.

Quarterback Billy Williams, converted from wide receiver thisspring, also made an impressive debut for new head coach AndrewHickman. He completed 3 straight passes on the winning drive andfinished with 3 completions in 8 attempts for 74 yards. Tight endPhilip Tobias made 2 catches for 26 yards.

“If you can throw the football, it’s never too late,” saidHickman. His Panthers had fallen behind Class 5A Hattiesburg 14-13with 1:39 left on the time clock which was kept on the field.

Brookhaven drove 70 yards in just 4 plays as Williams completeda pair of passes. Anderson bolted 4 yards for the touchdown overright tackle.

Leading 19-14, Hickman elected to try for the 2-point conversionand Allen responded with a 3-yard plunge over the right side of hisline for a 21-14 lead.

According to jamboree rules, the Tigers were given the ball attheir 30-yard line with 44 seconds left to play. Displaying anexplosive passing game, the Tigers scored in just 2 plays.

Using a halfback pass, Hattiesburg’s Jerome Naylor rolled to hisright and hit Raymond Dukes with a 44-yard completion to theBrookhaven 26. On the next play, quarterback Martin Hankins hitJonathan Eiland on a slant pattern for the TD.

Trailing 21-20 and 44 seconds left to play, the Tigers nearlypulled out a victory. Hankins lofted a soft pass to Eiland but heturned the wrong way in the end zone and the football fellincomplete.

“Our kids worked awfully hard during spring practice and theyplayed well tonight,” said Hickman. “I’m happy for them.”

Hickman said his Panthers were a big underdog againstHattiesburg. “Nobody in Brookhaven would have gave us much of achance of coming down hear and beating Hattiesburg.”

Laurin Collins, Brookhaven’s new offensive line coach, praisedthe effort in the trenches. “Our offensive line looked mightygood.”

Hattiesburg had taken a 7-0 lead on a 50-yard TD pass fromMartin to Dukes. The ball was tipped by a defender in Brookhaven’ssecondary but Dukes still managed to make the catch. Jerry Andersonkicked the extra point.

Brookhaven responded with a 70-yard scoring drive which required7 plays. After Allen raced 28 yards to the 1-yard line, Andersonscored on the next play, running over left guard. Daniel Gateskicked the extra point and it was 7-7.

The Panthers moved ahead 13-7 on a 13-yard TD run by Allenaround right end. Gates was wide left on the PAT kick.

Hattiesburg continued its aerial attack on Brookhaven. Martincompleted 3 straight passes to the Panther 14, with Josh Hayesracing 33 yards on the reception. Three plays later, Dukes scootedthe final 5 yards around left end. Jordan Kobs kicked the PAT for a14-13 lead.

Williams was looking for an ice pack to ease the pain in hisleft ribs after the game. He said he enjoyed the jamboree,especially the 3 straight pass completions.

“I give all the credit to my offensive line,” said Williams. “Ithink we can win state with this team. We are going to take it gameby game.”

Brookhaven’s first game is Aug. 31, at Hazlehurst.

Brookhaven 7, McClain 0

Anderson ran 1 yard for the only touchdown againstMcClain’s purple-clad Mustangs from Lexington. Gates kicked theextra point for a 7-0 lead at the 6:28 mark.

A fumble recovery by linebacker Brian Mitchell atMcClain’s 13-yard line set up the TD. Allen gained 12 yards onfirst down and Anderson scored on the next play.

On defense, Brookhaven’s Julius Lloyd, Marvin Durr,LaKendrick Maxwell and Mitchell made quarterback sacks againstMcClain. Cecil Wilson and Julius Brown made tackles forlosses.

The Class 3A Mustangs fumble 4 times and lost 1 ofthem.

Hattiesburg 13, McClain 0

In the second varsity game of the night, a 40-yard runby Dukes and a 90-yard interception return by Nick Golden accountedfor Hattiesburg’s touchdowns.

Brook JV 7, McClain 0

A 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jimmy Johns totight end Lakendrick Maxwell and an extra point kick by JoshBrister lifted Brookhaven over McClain in a preliminary juniorvarsity game. Brookhaven battled Hattiesburg to a scorelessdeadlock in the other JV game.