Panthers pin OT loss on South Pike

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 18, 2004

MAGNOLIA — After Brookhaven quarterback Jimmy Johns had brokentwo tackles and dove across the goal line, Colee Field swarmed withhappy BHS fans Friday night. Johns had just lifted the Panthers toa thrilling 28-21 overtime victory against South Pike’s previouslyunbeaten Eagles.

“Give all the glory to God,” said Johns. “I’m proud of ourdefense and our offensive line did a great job.”

A crowd at estimated at 5,000-plus watched Johns score all 4 ofBrookhaven’s touchdowns in a game highlighted by jolting tackles,big plays and comebacks by both teams. In overtime, Ole Brook’sdefense rose to the occasion, stopping South Pike on 4 plays fromthe 10-yard line.

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Winning the toss and electing to go on defense first inovertime, Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey called a play whichsent Johns around left end on first down. “It was option all theway,” said Johns. “I just ran it.”

Peavey said he was pleased with his team’s performance. “We dida great job on defense, especially in overtime. Then, boom! Jimmyscored. It was a group effort.”

Brookhaven (7-1, 5-0), ranked No. 10 in this week’s AssociatedPress Prep Poll, won its sixth straight game since an overtime lossto Vicksburg. South Pike (7-1, 3-1) was ranked No. 6 in the APpoll.

Johns received a hug and congratulations from South Pike headcoach Randall Huffman after the game. “Johns was the difference,”said Huffman. “He carried them.”

For Johns, the load became heavier when senior running backRonny McNulty sustained an ankle injury with 9:39 left in thefourth quarter and Brookhaven trailing 14-7. On the next play,Johns threw a 16-yard pass to Bud Chatman for a first down.

Montral Smith pulled in an 11-yard pass from Johns to the SouthPike 23. Two plays later, Johns plunged 8 yards up the middle forthe TD. Will Thibodeaux’s PAT tied the game at 14-14 with 8:38left.

South Pike came back strong, aided by a pass interferencepenalty. Quarterback Kelsey Island hooked up with wide receiverKendrick Herring for 18 yards and a TD. Darrel Putman kicked theextra point for a 21-14 lead with 4:15 remaining in the game,sending the stand-room-only crowd into a frenzy.

On the ensuing kickoff, Anthony Caffie made a 32-yard return toBrookhaven’s 49. The Panthers went 51 yards in 7 plays, aided by aroughing-the-passer penalty against South Pike. On fourth down atSouth Pike’s 6-yard line, Johns ran his right end for the TD,gaining a 21-21 knot with 1:51 left to play.

In the third quarter, Brookhaven managed to overcome 3 fumblesas both teams battled but went scoreless. The Eagles got aninterception from Timothy Brown when a Johns pass was tipped andpicked off at the Brookhaven 47.

The pass theft led to South Pike’s go-ahead touchdown. Herringtook a screen pass to the left from Island the final 13 yards.Island passed to Sam Reed on the 2-point conversion and the Eaglesled 14-7 with 10:22 left in the game.

“Our kids played hard and they played hard,” said Huffman.”Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose. We have playedgood defense all year. We’ll bounce back from this loss.”

To start the game, South Pike received the kickoff. Island wasintercepted by senior linebacker Darius Perkins on second down andBrookhaven took over at the Eagles’ 46-yard line. Five plays year,Johns took an option around left end from 36 yards out and doveacross the goal line for a 7-0 advantage.

“We were in a gamma set,” explained Perkins when asked about theinterception. “My teammates put pressure on their quarterback. Ijust leaped up and caught the ball.”

Perkins said the victory was a team effort. “Our coaches put usin the right places to make plays. Our defensive line played superhard.”

South Pike’s speed gave the Eagles quick-strike ability. Eagletight end Carl Cunnigen took a short pass from Island over themiddle and raced 51 yards for his team’s first TD. Perkins blockedthe extra point.

Brookhaven’s offensive line began to dominate in the secondhalf, opening holes for Johns and McNulty. “We came out good thesecond half but we turned it over a lot,” said BHS senior centerGrant McDonnieal. “It feels good to beat South Pike down here.”

Two South Pike scoring threats ended in turnovers. The Eaglesfumbled at the Brookhaven 12-yard line in the first quarter and atthe 14 in the fourth. Richard Alvarado recovered both fumbles.