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Panthers visit South Pike Eagles

On paper, South Pike looks good. In person, the Eagles look evenbetter.

Brookhaven’s Panthers receive an encounter of the closest kindFriday night when they meet

the Eagles on Colee Field. The Region 6-4A game kicks off at7:30.

South Pike (6-1, 3-0), under the direction of 31-year veteranGreg Wall, was runner-up to Clarksdale in last year’s Class 4Astate championship game. The Eagles are off to another great startthis season, their only loss a 24-7 road loss to WarrenCentral.

Brookhaven head coach Tucker Peavey has been observing theEagles on game films and he’s impressed. “They have a lot of goodathletes. They have a very good football team. They have good sizeand they have some guys who can really run and make big plays.”

Blessed with quickness, the Eagles have an explosive attack,according to Peavey. “Their quarterback, their running back andtheir wide receivers are talented. They do a good job of spreadingthe field out. They take advantage of open spaces. They’ve beeneffective running and passing the ball.”

In last Friday’s 39-12 win at Raymond, the Eagle were sparked byfreshman running back Dewayne Pittman (5-11, 170) who rushed 23times for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior running back JessieBurton (5-9, 160) accounted for 103 yards n 14 carries and scoredon runs of 4 and 65 yards.

Wall complained about his team’s mental mistakes as Raymondslipped to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the Region 6-4A race. “We didn’tplay sharp.”

Wall, 55, coached 5 years at Brookhaven before returning toSouth Pike last year. He had coached 25 years at South Pike and wontwo state championships before leaving for his successful stint atBHS.

Junior Fred Jones (5-6, 146) quarterbacks the Eagles. He haspassed for 480 yards and 10 touchdowns plus 3 interceptions.

“Brookhaven has improved and they are playing with a lot moreconfidence,” said Wall. “Their defense is real aggressive and theyrun to the ball well. They are peaking at the right time.”

South Pike’s defense is under the direction of Randall Huffman,defensive coordinator during Wall’s tenure at Brookhaven. TheEagles are recognized for their hard-nosed, aggressive style ofplay.

“On defense their linebackers are real aggressive,” said Peavey.”They have guys in the secondary with a lot of speed. They willgive you a lot of looks up front with a lot of blitzing.”

Peavey’s Panthers are fresh from a 52-10 trouncing of the TerryBulldogs. Brookhaven is averaging 28.7 points per game whileopponents average 16 ppg.

Peavey said his Panthers must avoid turnovers and play anoutstanding game to be successful tomorrow night. “If we cancontinue to play good defense and execute on offense, we canwin.

“We must make the plays on offense that are available to us. Wehave to win the kicking game, too.”

On the Terry game, Peavey said, “It was our overall best effortof the year. We created points offensively and defensively. When wegot the ball in good field position, we were able to capitalize andget points out of it.”

Players of The Week

Tarean Jones, for special teams; Darius Perkins on offense; andEmmanuel Perkins on defense were named Brookhaven’s Players of theWeek.

Darius Perkins rushed the football 11 times for 101 yards and 1TD. Emmanuel Perkins returned a fumble 8 yard for a score. PhillipTobias returned a fumble 32 yards for another TD. Jones contributeda 55-yard punt return to the rout.

On defense, Abe Blue led the Panthers with 9 tackles. BelmaCager had 6 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception returned41 yards for a TD.

Peavey said he hopes BHS fans will follow the Panthers toMagnolia. “We need a bunch of folks from Brookhaven down thereFriday night.”

Panther Paws: Last year South Pike posted a22-8 victory as Wall made a triumphant return to King Field. Burtonpowered the win with 15 carries for 142 yards, plus a 33-yard puntreturn for a TD. Brookhaven got a 63-yard TD pass from BillyWilliams to Cornelius Allen midway through the fourth quarter.