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Panthers host Vicksburg Gators

Fourteenth-ranked Vicksburg invades Brookhaven Friday night tomeet the Panthers on King Field. It is Brookhaven’s first home gameof the season. Kickoff is 7:30 and a large crowd is expected.

Vicksburg’s Gators are fresh from an impressive 20-7 win overJohn Ehret of New Orleans in the Red Carpet Classic. It marked asuccessful head coaching debut for Alonzo Stevens who had served asoffensive coordinator under James Knox who retired.

Directing the Gators this season are several major collegeprospects. Wingback J.J. Brown, is a senior speedster. Brown (5-11,170) rushed 12 times for 91 yards and fumbled twice in the openingwin. He also is an outstanding baseball player.

Quarterbacking Vicksburg is Justin Henry (6-2, 165, jr.). In hisfirst varsity start, Henry threw Vicksburg’ s first TD of theseason.

Besides speed in the backfield, Vicksburg’s offensive line isimpressive. They average over 300 pounds per man from tackle totackle. Andre Bennett (6-5, 350, sr.) leads the Gators. Junior Nix(6-3, 325, jr.), Delvechio Ellis (6-4, 302, jr.), Charles Wilson(6-3, 307, jr.) and Paul Gorney (6-3, 294, jr.) at center round outthe group.

The Gators are much improved on defense. Vicksburg’s secondaryis led by David Heard (6-0, 181, sr.), a major college prospect. Atlinebacker is Tim Brown (5-11, 235, sr.).

Vicksburg is a member of Region 2-5A. Other members are Clinton,Madison Central, Murrah, Callaway, Northwest Rankin, Warren Centraland Forest Hill.

Brookhaven head coach Andrew Hickman knows his team has theirwork cut out for them Friday night. They must play better onoffense and defense.

“Vicksburg will be tough,” said Hickman. “They have No. 6(Brown) and No. 34. They are huge up front.”

Hickman said the Panthers must reduce the number of penalties tobeat Vicksburg. “We had two or three big runs which got called backby penalties (versus Hazlehurst). We can’t hurt ourselves.”

Brookhaven was penalized 9 times for 90 yards againstHazlehurst.

The Panthers are fresh from a 35-32 victory over the Class 3AHazlehurst Indians. They built a 35-20 lead at Hazlehurst but theIndians capitalized on two fumbles, the first one returned for atouchdown, in the last four minutes of the game.

Offensively, the Panthers were led by senior tailback CorneliusAllen who rushed for 112 yards and 1 touchdown. Junior fullbackJosh Anderson accounted for 91 yards rushing and a touchdown.Senior quarterback Billy Williams rushed for 1 TD and completed 5of 8 passes for 91 yards, with wide receiver Maurice Parkercatching TD throws of 35 and 28 yards.

On defense, strong safety Emmanuel Perkins accounted for 2interceptions, 8 tackles and a fumble recovery, earning TheDaily Leader’s Defensive Player of the Week honors. End JuliusLloyd had a total of 10 tackles, including 5 solos, and a fumblerecovery. Cornerback Maurice Foxworth had 5 solo tackles.Linebacker Josh Townsend had 7 tackles and intercepted a 2-pointconversion pass.

Panther Paws: Last year Vicksburg beat Brookhaven 27-14in the season opener for both schools. In 1999, the Panthers lost a49-41 decision to Vicksburg on King Field.