Ole Brook Panthers wearing title rings

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2005

Offensive tackle Zach Ray swung open the doors of the downtownpost office. He had a smile as big as Texas which complimented his6-foot-3, 310-pound frame.

“Have you seen our rings?”

Ray was referring to Ole Brook’s Class 4A state footballchampionship rings. The sparkling white gold glittered in thelight.

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Can I look at it?

Ray obligingly slipped the big piece of metal off his large,left ring finger and placed it in the palm of my hand. My, oh my,it was big.

An engraved football filled the face of the ring. It was adornedwith 12 diamond chips. MHSAA Class 4A state champions described theaccomplishments. Ray’s jersey number, 78, was engraved, along withhis last name, plus the team’s 14-1 record.

To put it mildly, the ring looked great. It was well worth thewait. Remember a chilly Saturday night, Dec. 4, 2004, when thePanthers defeated Clarksdale 29-23 for the state title.

The championship launched a major fund-raising drive to financethe purchase of the rings. Community support multiplied and thenecessary funds were accumulated to purchase 80 rings.

“It was well worth the wait,” said BHS athletic director andhead football coach Tucker Peavey Wednesday afternoon. “It was atotally custom ring which meant the company had to cast a new dieespecially for it.”

Looking at his ring, Peavey said, “This is something you earn.You earned the right to wear it.”

Peavey expressed thanks to the community for their financialsupport.

Some Ole Brook football players shared their feelings about therings. “I love the ring and it’s a great reward,” said defensivetackle Virgil Sanders.

Would Sanders share the ring with his steady girlfriend?

“My girlfriend can look at it, but I’m going to wear it,”Sanders answered with a grin.

Offensive guard Taylor Newman said he planned to display hisring with pride. “I’m going to show it off as much as possible.It’s pretty nice.”

Outside linebacker Marlon Dixon was sporting two ringsyesterday. He also had played on Ole Brook’s Class 4A statechampionship baseball team last spring.

“I’ve got two rings, baseball and football,” said Dixon. “Onefor each hand. I’ll wear them all the time.”

Ole Brook title season DVD’s on sale

Peavey reminded this scribe that the DVDs, featuring Ole Brook’schampionship football season, are on sale for $20 each. The BHSGridiron Club announces that DVD highlights of the 2004 StateChampionship season are now available. The DVD includes the entireseason with over an hour of game highlight clips, including onefrom the playoffs and the state championship game.

The DVD and its case were specially designed to commemorate thechampionship season. Proceeds from the sale of these keepsake DVDswill apply to the purchase of championship rings for the team. DVDsmay be purchased at the following locations: Bank of Brookhaven,Brookhaven School District Central office, Lott Furniture, Mary’sBarber Shop, Stan King Chevrolet, State Bank’s Main and BrookwayBranches and Trustmark’s Main Branch.

The Panthers appreciate your support.

Panthers looking for large linemen

Speaking of support, Peavey is searching for some large andstrong offensive linemen to replace five graduated senior starters.That’s the priority during spring practice which began lastweek.

According to Peavey, as many as 92 eager players areparticipating in spring drills. He has seven starters returning ondefense but only two on offense.

Panther fans can catch a preview of the 2005 squad in nextweek’s Cellular South Football Jamboree at Franklin County inMeadville. The Panthers will play Tylertown at 4 p.m. and WilkinsonCounty at 5, next Thursday in Louie Mullins Stadium.

Looking ahead to the autumn gridiron wars, Brookhaven debutsAug. 26, at Franklin County. The Panthers return home for a Sept. 2date with South Pike. They visit Clinton Sept. 9 and host McCombSept. 16 before traveling to Mendenhall on Sept. 23.

On Sept. 30, BHS hosts Florence. The Panthers host Terry Oct. 7for homecoming and visit Port Gibson Oct. 14. They host KosciuskoOct. 21 and invade Lawrence County Oct. 28 for the regular-seasonfinale.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o. The DAILY LEADER,P.O. BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com