Panthers visit stronger Terry

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 7, 2004

A tougher Terry team awaits the Brookhaven Panthers Friday nightin Terry. Kickoff is 7 p.m. for the Region 6-4A contest.

In other region action, McComb (1-5, 1-2) is at Jim Hill (2-4,0-3), Wingfield (1-5, 0-2) is at South Pike (6-0, 2-0) and LawrenceCounty (4-2, 2-1) hosts Class 3A Magee (5-1) in a non-regiongame.

Under the direction of new head coach Bill French, the Bulldogs(4-2, 1-1) have made region coaches sit up and take notice. Theylost to No. 7-ranked South Pike 54-13 last Friday but still managed13 first downs and 184 yards total offense.

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Brookhaven head coach Tucker Peavey said he has seen dramaticimprovement in Terry’s football program. “Terry is a much improvedteam over the last couple of years. Overall, they play hard andthey have a great running back (Anthony Dixon).”

Dixon (6-2, 220) a junior, rushed for 321 yards on 43 carriesand scored 3 touchdowns in a 31-22 win over Jim Hill 3 weeks ago.Against South Pike last week, Dixon managed 138 yards on 24carries, pushing him past the 1,000-yard plateau.

Dixon carries the load at Terry. Two of his cousins who playfootball are Jim Hill quarterback Tony Hobson and HillcrestChristian quarterback Loviett Dixon.

“(Dixon) has size and speed,” said Peavey. “He’s a big guy whochanges directions well. You have to tackle him to bring himdown.

Any time you have a big back like Terry, you can grind it outand keep the other team’s offense off the field.”

Defensively, Peavey sees improvement in the Bulldogs. “They aregetting to the ball a whole lot faster.”

After the South Pike loss, French lamented. “Our pass defensewas really bad. We haven’t played nobody that can throw the ball asmuch as they (Eagles) did. We’ve got to work on pass defense.”

Brookhaven exploded for 4 second-half touchdowns to whipturnover-plagued McComb 52-13 last Friday. The Panthers had taken a24-13 halftime advantage after leading McComb 14-13 in the firstquarter.

Directing the victory were running back Ronny McNulty andquarterback Jimmy Johns. McNulty rushed for 120 yards and 4touchdowns. Johns completed 7 of 15 passes for 138 yards and 1 TD,a 44-yard scoring pass to Bud Chatman. Johns also rushed for 121yards and 2 TDs.

Peavey said McNulty was named Brookhaven’s Offensive Player ofthe Week. Placekicker Will Thibodeaux was selected Special TeamsPlayer of the Week and tackle Jesse Bowman was picked DefensivePlayer of the Week. Bowman, who made 9 solo tackles, 2 assists andrecovered a fumble, also was chosen The DAILY LEADER’S DefensivePlayer of the Week.

Thibodeaux, a sophomore, connected on 7 extra points and naileda 34-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

Peavey said Brookhaven’s offensive line is finally healthy andshowing improvement each week. “”Our offensive line is gettinghealthier and gaining more experience. They are working more as aunit.”

Brookhaven (5-1, 3-0) is riding a 4-game victory streak andranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press Prep Poll. “We need tokeep our momentum going,” said Peavey. “We are searching for thekind of intensity we had in the second half against McComb.”

Linebacker Darius Perkins followed Bowman on the defensivecharts with 6 solo tackles, 1 assist and a blocked extra point.Orlandas Chapman had 5 tackles and caused 2 fumbles.

Panther Paws: Last year on King Field, thePanthers trounced Terry 48-0 as Johns completed 5 of 5 passes for174 yards and 2 touchdowns. McNulty rushed for 85 yards. Brookhavengot a 59-yard punt return from Anthony Caffie and a 19-yard fumblereturn from Philip Tobias, both for touchdowns.