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Panthers debut at Franklin Co.

Two ranked teams with high ambitions collide Friday night inMeadville when the defending Class 4A state champion Ole BrookPanthers meet the Franklin County Bulldogs in the 2005 seasonopener for both teams. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. in Louie MullinsStadium.

Brookhaven is ranked No. 4 in the state-wide, preseasonAssociated Press Class 4A Prep Poll. Franklin County is ranked No.3 in Class 3A.

Franklin County first-year head coach Grady McCluskey said thePanthers provide a formidable opener for his squad. “Brookhaven isa very good team, a quality opponent to open up with. They aregoing to be tough.

“I hope we show up and play as well as we can,” said McCluskey.”Brookhaven won the 4A state championship last year so we have ourwork cut out for us. They have good coaches and good players.”

McCluskey said the following Bulldogs would start on offensetomorrow night. Jonte Marshall (5-9, 165, sr.) will start atquarterback. D.J. Shaw (6-0, 245, sr.) is at fullback and PrestonGriffith (6-1, 215, sr.) is at tailback.

The receiving corps features Abe Williams (6-1, 175, sr.) andDane Hodges (5-10, 150, jr.) at flanker and Marcus Tillman (6-4,260, sr.) at tight end.

The offensive line includes Emanuel Muhammed (6-3, 325, sr.) atright tackle, Alvin Hunt (6-1, 275, jr.) at right guard, Sam Moore(6-1, 265, jr.) at center, Andrew Williams (5-9, 245, jr.) at leftguard, and Kane Carlock (6-4, 315, jr.) at left tackle.

Hodges is the place-kicker and Dan Griffin (6-1, 175, sr.) isthe punter.

On defense, Bo Tillman (6-6, 315, soph.) and his brother,Marcus, anchor the line at end. Andrew Williams is the noseguard.

Working at linebacker are Gary Rogers (6-0, 245, jr.), CaseyHammack (6-0, 200, sr.) and Shaw. Cornerbacks are Andrew Smith(5-11, 175, sr.) and Catlin Carithers (5-11, 175, sr.).

Peavey Praises Bulldogs

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey respects the Bulldogs.”Obviously, they are a good football team. They are ranked in thetop five in 3A and deservedly so. They have three or four guys whoare college prospects.”

The Bulldogs were scouted at last Thursday’s Petal jamboree byBrookhaven’s coaching staff. Peavey said he was impressed byseveral players on Franklin County’s defense, among them seniordefensive end Marcus Tillman who has made a verbal commitment tosign with LSU next February.

“Marcus Tillman and D.J. Shaw are their leaders on defense,”said Peavey. ‘They look like a big, fast team. They are agood-looking football team.”

Starting on offense for the Panthers are Charles Rancifer (6-0,180, soph.) at quarterback, Charles Wilson (5-7, 172, jr.) atrunning back, Simmie Yarborough (5-11, 180, soph.) at tight end,Montral Smith (5-10, 170, sr.) and Marcus Smith (5-8, 160, jr.) atwide receiver.

Ole Brook’s rebuilt offensive line includes Nick Noworyta (5-10,242, jr.) at center, Skyler Smith (5-8, 223, jr.) at left guard,Taylor Newman (5-8, 216, jr.) at right guard, Darion Smith (6-1,220, soph.) at right tackle and Jerry Dickey (6-1, 290, sr.) atleft tackle.

Will Thibodeaux (6-3, 170, jr.) will handle punts, kickoffs andkicks from placement.

On defense, Virgil Sanders (5-7, 226, jr.) andVarris Kees (5-10, 221, sr.) are at tackle. The ends are Bart Sias(5-11, 210, jr.) and Josh Witherspoon (6-2, 186, jr.) Linebackersare T.J. Qualls (5-7, 187, sr.) and Tavirus Lewis (5-10, 190, jr.)on the inside, and Marlon Dixon (5-10, 182, sr.) on theoutside.

In the secondary, Anthony Caffie (5-6, 158, sr.) and JeromeAvery (5-6, 155, sr.) are at cornerback. Orlandas Chapman (6-0,174, sr.) is at strong safety and R.J. Jenkins (5-11, 158, jr.) isthe free safety.

Panther Paws: Ole Brook hasn’t played FranklinCounty since the 2000 season when the Panthers prevailed 35-13.