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Panthers overpower McComb

McCOMB – Quarterback Jimmy Johns and his Brookhaven teammatesplayed with enthusiasm and textbook execution Friday night in C.C.Moore Stadium. That combination produced an impressive 41-7thrashing of the McComb Tigers in a Region 6-4A showdown.

For the Panthers (5-1, 3-0) the victory ended five years offrustration against McComb (3-3, 1-2). It was 1998 when Brookhavenlast beat the Tigers, winning 20-14 on King Field.

“We wanted to win this one for our seniors,” said Johns, a multitalented junior who completed 13 of 16 passes for 210 yards and 4touchdowns. His scoring passes went to Taurean Jones for 38 yards,to Bud Chatman for 33 yards, to Josh Patrick for 10 yards and toJohn Wayne Havard for 41 yards.

“Our receivers really stepped it up for this game and they broketackles,” Johns pointed out. “Our offensive line did a real goodjob and our defense played great.”

Brookhaven’s defense smothered McComb’s explosive attack. ThePanthers got pass interceptions from Tyrone Jones and JarvisWilson. Jones also scored a touchdown after teammate Aljur Herringblocked a McComb punt, giving Brookhaven a 14-0, first-quarterlead.

McComb quarterback Pat Barnes was under constant, heavy pressurefrom the Panther defense. He was tackled 6 times behind the line ofscrimmage for losses totaling 41 yards.

Senior defensive end Philip Tobias said the Panthers were on amission. “We hadn’t beat McComb in five years. We weren’t going tolet it be six. Our defense flew to the ball and we played as ateam.”

McComb managed just 15 yards rushing. Barnes was able tocompleted 7 of 24 passes for 156 yards.

Junior linebacker Darius Perkins agreed. “We had to do somethingto beat McComb. We came out and played hard.”

After Tyrone Jones intercepted Barnes in the end zone onMcComb’s first possession, the Panthers marched 80 yards in 6plays. They scored on a 38-yard pass from Johns to TaureanJones.

McComb’s John C. Thompson crashed through the line to block WillThibodeaux’s point kick and Brookhaven led 6-0.

Following the blocked punt return of 5 yards for a TD,Brookhaven capitalized on defense again. The pass theft by TyroneJones came at McComb’s 49-yard line. Seven plays later Johnsscrambled and hooked up with Chatman for a 33-yard TD catch.

Thibodeaux’s PAT made it 21-zip just 9 seconds into the secondquarter.

In the third quarter, McComb threatened to score but Pantherdefensive tackle Jessie Bowman recovered a fumble by Michael Lewisat the Brookhaven 15. Johns directed the Panthers to paydirt.,going 85 yards in 11 plays, the last a 10-yard toss to Patrick.

“This was a big district win for us with a lot of playoffimplications,” said BHS head coach Tucker Peavey. “I told our guysall week to get ready.

“We executed a lot better and our coaches did a good jobpreparing the team,” Peavey added. “Jimmy had a real good game. Wechallenged our defense and they responded.”

McComb got on the scoreboard when Barnes hit Darius Starks on a25-yard slant pattern. Barnes also kicked the extra point and theTigers trailed 28-7.

The Panthers got a sparkling 36-yard kickoff return from AnthonyCaffie to set up the next TD. Havard’s TD and Thibodeaux’s PAT madeit 35-7 with 9:44 left in the game.

Running back Dominique Smith got the final Panther TD on atackle-breaking, 9-yard run.

McComb coach Ted Milton said the Panthers were hungry for avictory. “They wanted it more than we did. Brookhaven has a solidfootball team and their quarterback is a good one

“Their running backs have speed. They took advantage ofopportunities and we didn’t.”