2nd half lifts Brook over Lawrence Co.

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

Halftime adjustments were decisive Friday night. Confronted witha 22-21 halftime deficit, the Brookhaven Panthers regrouped, shutout Lawrence County in the second half and posted a 41-22 triumphat jam-packed King Field.

The victory gave the Panthers (5-4, 4-2) third place in theRegion 6-4A race and sends them on the road to East Central atHurley for an opening round state playoff game Friday night, Nov.8. Lawrence County (4-6, 3-3), finishes fourth in the region andvisits D’Iberville (8-1, 6-0), the Region 8-4A champion, Fridaynight.

South Pike (9-1, 6-0) smashed McComb (8-2, 5-1) 42-12 Fridaynight to secure No. 1 in Region 6-4A.

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Brookhaven senior linebacker Belma Cager provided several bigtackles on defense. A cold, northerly wind swept across King Fieldin the first half as Lawrence County sprang to an early lead andheld the halftime advantage on a 40-yard touchdown pass fromquarterback Casey Williams to Michael Thompson

“They really took it to us in the first half but I was tired ofit,” said Cager. “We talked about the mistakes at halftime. Thiswas my last regular game here and I wanted to win.”

Cager and his teammates came back strong, scoring 3 second-halftouchdowns. The Panthers began dominating the contest and took thelead on 59-yard TD pass play from quarterback Jimmy Johns to widereceiver Tarean Jones. They led 27-22 with 9:01 left in the thirdframe.

Sophomore running back Darius Perkins scored the next Panthertouchdown. He took a screen pass from Johns 17 yards to paydirt.Perkins also scored on a 1-yard plunge and a 13-yard,tackle-breaking run in the first quarter.

Perkins, who finished with 20 carries for 102 yards and 3touchdowns, said it was a good night for Brookhaven. “My lineblocked well and I took care of business. Coach told us to runhard.”

Johns produced an outstanding game. He completed 8 of 11 passesfor 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johns threw scoring passes of 14yards to Josh Patrick, 59 yards to Jones and 17 to Perkins.

“Jimmy had a great game,” said Brookhaven head coach TuckerPeavey. “Our coaches did a good job of making adjustments athalftime. The characteristic of this team all year has been to playhard and not quit.”

Peavey said his biggest disappointment was breakdowns in thekicking game during the first half. The Cougars capitalized twice,cashing in early when Kendell Nickelson fumbled the game-openingkickoff at Brookhaven’s 31. Four plays and 1 penalty later,Williams scored on a sneak. Wingback Kevin Wallace ran the 2-pointconversion for an 8-0 lead.

Brookhaven gained a deadlock after Cougar fullback RandyFerdinand fumbled at his 17-yard line and Josh Anderson recovered.Three plays later, Perkins ran left tackle from 1 yard out. Johnsran right end and dove across the goal line for an 8-8deadlock.

On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore J.P. Lewis returned thekickoff 79 yards up the middle. Marlon Stanfield kicked the extrapoint for a Cougar 15-8 lead.

The Panthers got a 38-yard kickoff return from Nickelson on thenext series, setting up a 7-play scoring drive. Perkins broketackles over the final 13 yards. Dominick DiPaolo kicked the extrapoint and the scoreboard read 15-15 with 2:15 left in the firstquarter.

On their next possession, the Panthers went 43 yards in just 2plays. Johns hooked up with Bud Chatman for 20 yards and then hitJosh Patrick for the final 14 yards and the TD. The PAT kick waswide and Brookhaven led 21-15.

The Cougars went back ahead 22-21 when Thompson stretched andmade the reception from Williams which was good for 40 yards and atouchdown just before halftime. Stanfield’s PAT provided theedge.

Lawrence County head coach Trent Hammond said Brookhavendominated the second half. “We played a good first half butBrookhaven got after us the second half. They played greatdefense.

“Our kids played hard but we are little and young. We can’t letbig plays happen. Coach Peavey has his team playing hard, too.”