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D’Iberville wears out Panthers

D’IBERVILLE – Unleashing their potent offense, the D’IbervilleWarriors exploded for three third-quarter touchdowns and eliminatedthe Brookhaven Panthers 31-7 Friday night in the Class 4A SouthState semifinals. Directing the assault was senior tailback CarltonCotten who rushed for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, scoring on runsof 33 and 37 yards.

D’Iberville (11-1) advances to the South State championship gameand hosts George County, Nov. 29 in Warrior Stadium. George County(11-2), the Region 7-4A runner-up, beat Picayune 20-19 in overtimeto reach the South title game.

In the North State title game, West Point (11-2) will playGrenada (11-1) for a berth in the state championship game Dec. 7,in Jackson. West Point eliminated Louisville 6-0 and Grenadaoutscored Lafayette County 25-21.

Brookhaven (7-5), losing in the third round of the stateplayoffs, trailed the Warriors 10-0 at halftime on a frosty night.The Panthers were unable to contain the speedy Cotten (5-10,185)and his teammates. The Warriors finished with 356 yards totaloffense, amassing 262 on the ground. Clarence Cotten (5-9, 165),followed his older brother with 3 rushes for 85 yards and a TD.

The Warriors received a scare late in the first half when seniorquarterback Nick Ladner was hit hard after scrambling 13 yards fora first down at Brookhaven’s 33-yard line. Sustaining an unknownneck injury, Ladner was strapped to a stretcher and taken byambulance to a local hospital. He returned in the fourth quarterbut by then his teammates had the game well in hand.

“D’Iberville is the best total package I’ve seen all year,” saidBrookhaven head coach Tucker Peavey. “Number 33 (Carlton Cotten) isa good running back. They dominated us up front to begin thegame.”

Brookhaven sophomore quarterback Jimmy Johns was under heavypressure most of the game. On a muddy field, he was tackled 8 timesbehind the line of scrimmage for losses totaling 25 yards. He wasintercepted twice, completing 5 of 21 passes for 100 yards.

“We didn’t come out and execute on offense,” said Johns, talkingsoftly in the tomb-like silence of the dressing room. “You don’twin when you don’t execute.”

The Warriors started slow as both teams went scoreless in thefirst quarter. The finally got rolling with a a 3-play, 58-yardscoring drive, highlighted by a Ladner to Clarence Cotten pass goodfor 23 yards and a dazzling 33-yard scamper by Carlton Cotten.

Senior placekicker Darren McCaleb tacked on the extra point with10:14 left in the first half. McCaleb hit a 47-yard field goal with10 seconds showing for a 10-0 halftime advantage. Five of hisbooming kickoffs landed in the end zone.

“Brookhaven is a very physical team,” said D’Iberville headcoach Louis Smith. “We gave a good effort. We rushed thequarterback (Johns) good and kept him from doing the things hewanted to do. Our pass coverage was good.”

Smith was one of the happiest people in the stadium to seeLadner return from the hospital. “I was really concerned. I knew hehad a stinger in the neck. Nick did a good job for us.”

Brookhaven lost starting wide receiver Bud Chatman to an ankleinjury in the first half. Chatman caught a 38-yard pass from Johnsto the Warriors’ 20-yard line. Three plays lost 5 yards and thePanthers settled for a 42-yard field goal attempt by DomenickDiPaolo which fell short of the goal posts.

The third-quarter scoring blitz was ignited by Clarence Cotten’s54-yard touchdown run off a wingback counter. He intercepted Johnson the next Brookhaven series and returned it to the 3-yard line.Two plays and a 5-yard penalty later, backup quarterback JasonHockaday scored on an option around right end, making it 24-0.

Brookhaven got a sparkling 42-yard kickoff return by TareanJones to set the Panthers up at D’Iberville 39-yard line. Fourplays and a 15-yard face mask penalty led to a 17-yard TD run byJohns. DiPaolo’s PAT cut the deficit to 24-7 with 7:39 left in thethird quarter.

Carlton Cotten and the Warriors responded on the next series. Heraced 33 yards to paydirt for a 31-7 lead.

Senior defensive end Sean Merrill (6-4, 280) led a fierceWarrior defense which limited the Panthers to 151 yards totaloffense. The Warriors have only allowed 8 offensive touchdowns in12 games.

“We slipped up on defense on that touchdown,” said Merrill. “Ifelt like we had the better team.”

Hockaday, working at linebacker, had 2 quarterback sacks.

“I know if our kids keep working hard, they can accomplish alot,” said Peavey. “I’m extremely proud of what they achieved thisyear.”

On defense, the Panthers were led by senior linebackerBelma Cager with 9 tackles. Lakendrick Maxwell chipped in 8 tacklesand Jesse Bowman 6 stops plus a sack. Emmanuel Perkins had 5tackles.

@Bbstandings:STATISTICS

B

DI

First Downs

9

15

Rushes-Yards

24-51

39-262

Passing Yards

100

94

Total Yards

151

356

Passes

5-22-2

7-10-0

Fumbles-Lost

1-0

4-0

Punts-Average

4-29.7

1-34

Penalties-Yards

7-60

13-105

Brookhaven

0

0

7

0

– 7

D’Iberville

0

10

21

0

– 31

SECOND QUARTER

D’Iberville, Carl. Cotten 33 run (McCaleb kick),10:20.

D’Iberville, McCaleb 47 field goal, 00:10.

THIRD QUARTER

D’Iberville, Clar. Cotten 54 run (McCaleb kick),10:47.

D’Iberville, Hockaday 6 run (McCaleb kick),9:34.

Brookhaven, Johns 17 run (DiPaolo kick),7:39.

D’Iberville, Carl. Cotten run 37 run (McCaleb kick),5:40.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Brookhaven, D. Perkins 14-55, Johns 10-(-4).D’Iberville, Carl. Cotten 24-150, Clar. Cotten 8-85, Hockaday 4-13,Holley 2-7, Gonsoulin 1-2, Ladner 5-(-5).

PASSING: Brookhaven, Johns 5-21-2, 100. D. Perkins0-1-0. D’Iberville, Ladner 7-10-0, 94; Wynn 1-1-0, 13. Hockaday0-1-0.

RECEIVING: Brookhaven, Chatman 1-38, Tar. Jones 1-31, D.Perkins 1-10, Herring 1-1. D’Iberville, Searight 4-57, Landrum2-29, Clar. Cotten 1-8.