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Ole Brook hosts Lawrence Co.

Brookhaven versus Lawrence County. This rivalry between the OleBrook Panthers and the LCHS Cougars attracts lots of fans andplenty of intensity.

Brookhaven (8-1, 5-0), the Region 6-4A champion, entertainsLawrence County (5-4, 2-3) Friday night in the regular-seasonfinale for both teams. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on King Field.

BHS head coach Tucker Peavey has witnessed two previousencounters with the Cougars and the games usually bring out thebest in both teams.

“It’s a game that both of the teams look forward to each year,”said Peavey. He is 2-0 versus the Cougars.

The Cougars have a new head coach in Mike Davis and a newdefensive coordinator in Larry Courtney. Davis had served 10 yearsas an LCHS assistant before replacing Trent Hammond lastspring.

“Lawrence County is very quick on defense,” said Peavey. “Theyalways have a very sound game plan. They are a difficult team tomake big plays against.”

Offensively, the Cougars usually line up in a Double Wingformation. They won a Class 4A state championship in 1999, usingthat formation and finished 14-0.

Peavey said his Panther defenders must be ready for theunexpected when they play the Cougars. “They use a lot ofmisdirection plays with their wingbacks. Then they will hit youwith a pass.

“What they do on offense is eat up a lot of the clock,” Peaveypointed out. “They run their scheme and are very disciplined withit.”

Lawrence County has lost two straight region games, falling indouble overtime to Terry two weeks ago and losing their homecominggame to Wingfield last week. “I think they’ve had some injuriesthat have hurt them,” said Peavey. “I feel like those guys will behealthy and getting ready for the playoffs.”

The Cougars need a win over Brookhaven to secure No. 4 seedingin the region. A loss to Brookhaven, coupled with a Wingfield winover Terry, would put Jim Hill in the playoffs.

An enthusiastic crowd, estimated at 3,000, watched Brookhavenwhip Laurel 42-15 last Friday night in a homecoming celebration.The Panthers were led by all-state quarterback Jimmy Johns whopassed for 3 touchdowns and ran for another, earning him The DALYLEADER’s Offensive Player of the Week award.

Brookhaven’s team awards went to wide receiver Bud Chatman onoffense, linebacker Darius Perkins on defense and linebacker MarlonDixon for special teams.

Sophomore running back Charles Wilson rushed for 127 yards and 2touchdowns against Laurel. Perkins had a total of 10 tackles.Virgil Sanders and Orlandas Chapman each had 6 tackles. AnthonyCaffie intercepted a pass.

Johns said the Brookhaven-Lawrence County rivalry is special.”It’s really an honor to play in this kind of game. We know themand they know us. It gets pretty intense.”

Coach Davis said he is impressed by the Panthers after watchingthem on game films.

“On film, they are the best looking, scariest bunch of folks,we’ve seen all year,” said Davis. “They look like the Ole MissRebels and they are playing together. Coach Peavey has them on aroll right now.”

Asked about Johns who is a running and passing threat, Davissaid, “I compare Jimmy Johns to the big back (Anthony Dixon) fromTerry. The first defender to hit him, usually doesn’t bring himdown. Besides running, he can pull up and throw the football. He’sa competitor, too. I’ve seen him throwing blocks for the tailbackand taking out a linebacker.”

Davis said the Panthers are strong on defense, too. “WatchingBrookhaven play South Pike, their defense got to the ball. I wasimpressed with their team speed and the way they ran to the ball.They have a big front which you just can’t move.”

Davis inherited a rebuilding chore when he replaced Hammond. “Weare bringing a young bunch to Brookhaven. We have nine starters whowon’t be playing Friday night for one reason or another. I look forour kids to play hard and give it their best againstBrookhaven.”

Davis said his starting quarterback will be sophomore WillHarris. He’ll be joined by Tobias Smith at fullback and wingbackand Danny Powell at wingback.

“We have several kids who are going to have to play both waysfor us,” said Davis.

Panther Paws: Last year Brookhaven beatLawrence County 14-7 as Johns accounted for 218 yards totaloffense. Ronny McNulty rushed for 48 yards and 2 TDs.