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Ole Brook mauls McComb

Senior running back Ronny McNulty said it was just a matter ofthe Brookhaven Panthers getting their act together in the secondhalf. McNulty rushed for 120 yards and four touchdowns, leading theNo. 14-ranked Brookhaven Panthers to a 52-13 trouncing of theMcComb Tigers on King Field. McNulty scored on runs of 1, 11, 10and 15 yards and the Panthers (5-1) won their fourth straightgame.

“McComb was tough the first half but we showed them what thePanthers are made of in the second half,” said McNulty. The OleBrook Panthers capitalized on four McComb turnovers, flexed theirdefensive muscles and turned a close game into a rout, delightingthe large partisan crowd as McNulty scored 3 third-quarter TDs.

On defense, the Panthers limited McComb to just 6 yards totaloffense in the second half and no first downs. McComb quarterbackDominic Thompson left the game with bruised ribs early in the thirdquarter and it was all downhill for the Tigers who fell to 1-5 withthe setback.,

“We played well the first half but Brookhaven kicked our tailsin the second half,” said McComb head coach Ted Milton. “When welost Thompson, it was over.”

McNulty was followed by Panther quarterback Jimmy Johns whopassed for 138 yards and 1 touchdown, a 44-yard, first-quarterscoring pass to Bud Chatman. Johns also rushed for 121 yards and 2TDs. Will Thibodeaux kicked a 34-yard field goal and 7 extrapoints.

“We wanted to top what we scored last year,” said Johns,recalling his team’s 41-7 victory at McComb. “Everybody gave a goodeffort. We have to learn to protect the ball better.”

The Panthers suffered 2 turnovers inside the McComb 30 duringsecond-quarter action but they still managed to break away from anarrow 14-13 lead. Johns scrambled 20 yards for a TD. Thibodeauxbooted a field goal with 1.4 seconds left and a 24-13 halftimeadvantage.

On the first series of the third quarter, Thompson was tackledfor a 7-yard loss and fumbled at the McComb 11-yard line. RichardAlvarado recovered for Ole Brook and McNulty ran it in on firstdown for a 31-13 lead.

McComb got a 60-yard touchdown run from Markie Faust and a6-yard scoring run from Demoris Stewart as the Tigers trailed 14-13at the end of the first quarter. Panther linebacker Darius Perkinsblocked Dylan Boyd’s PAT kick.

Panther defensive tackle Jessie Bowman directed Brookhaven’ssecond-half surge. He returned a fumble 26 yards to the McComb 18.Three plays later, McNulty appeared to have scored on a 6-yardplunge but apparently fumbled into the end zone and McCombrecovered. The referee’s decision drew a loud protest fromBrookhaven’s coaches and a chorus of boos from the fans.

“It feels good to beat McComb,” said Bowman. “We didn’t play tothe best or our ability in the first half. We came out in a 5-3(alignment) in the second half and that helped us.”

The Tigers had amassed 193 yards rushing the first half, themost ground yardage given up by Brookhaven this season.

“McComb came at us hard and I expected a close ballgame,” saidBHS head coach Tucker Peavey. “Our defense turned up the heat inthe second half. We needed more intensity and we got it.

“We got those turnovers and were able to score off of them,” hecontinued. “I’m very pleased with the way we came out and played inthe second half.”

Anthony Caffie retuned a McComb punt to the Tigers’ 22-yard lineand set up a 21-yard scoring run by Johns. The Panthers had 52points on the scoreboard with 10:01 left in the game and Peavey wassatisfied enough to use reserves for the remainder of thecontest.