Harper’s TDs pierce Ole Brook Panthers

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

CLINTON — Tailback Amonte Harper broke open a close game withtwo fourth quarter touchdowns Friday night, sparking the ClintonArrows to a 34-25 victory over the Brookhaven Panthers on RoyBurkett Field. After the Panthers had rallied to tie the game 13-13early in the fourth quarter, Harper took an option pitchout fromquarterback Wesley Mounger around left end and galloped 48 yardsfor the go-ahead TD.

Clinton (2-1), a Region 2-5A member, won its second straightgame and plays at Oak Grove Friday night. Brookhaven (0-2),recovering from a 2-week layoff due to Hurricane Katrina, plays itsfirst home game Friday night, hosting the McComb Tigers for aRegion 6-4A test.

In a wild fourth quarter, six touchdowns were tacked on thescoreboard. Brookhaven wide receiver Montral Smith caught a 15-yardTD pass from quarterback Charles Rancifer as time expired.

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“They (Panthers) were trying to stack the middle,” said Harper.”Coach told us to run the option. I got the ball and ran hard.

“Brookhaven has a lot of speed on defense,” Harper noted. “Coachtold us to pick it up in the fourth quarter.”

Harper, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior, led the Arrows with 22carries for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Arrows had taken a 13-3halftime lead on a 1-yard plunge by Harper and field goals of 31and 39 yards by Joseph Cole.

Mounger (5-8, 150, soph.), used his elusive speed and quicknessto keep the Panthers off balance. He completed 5 of 13 passes for72 yards and rushed for 53 yards. He also punted twice for a38-yard average.

“Mounger made some plays for us,” said Clinton first-year headcoach Scott Brown. “We couldn’t have won without him.

“Harper’s run broke it open,” Brown noted. “My hat’s off toBrookhaven. They fight hard.”

Brown, former defensive coordinator at Clinton, was pleased withhis team’s effort on defense. The Arrows limited Brookhaven to just8 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.

“We got better offensively,” said Ole Brook head coach TuckerPeavey. “I’m proud of the way we played. We put our defense in abind a couple of times. I still believe we’ll be a good footballteam.”

The Panthers were minus leading rusher Charles Wilson due to anankle injury. Peavey said Wilson “tweaked” his ankle in practiceWednesday afternoon.

Clinton’s aggressive defense refused to yield rushing yards. OleBrook’s success came on the arm of Rancifer who was often underheavy pressure. He completed 19 of 39 passes and was interceptedtwice.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Panthers gained afourth-quarter deadlock on a 12-yard scramble by Rancifer andThibodeaux’s PAT kick with 8:50 left to play. Earlier. Thibodeauxhad kicked field goals of 22 and 37 yards.

A 59-yard fumble return by Ole Brook cornerback T.J. Qualls tothe Clinton 6 set up the TD.

Harper responded with 2 TD runs and Clinton led 27-13 with 3:47remaining. A 17-yard scoring pass from Rancifer to Smith cut thedeficit to 27-19 with 1:50 left.

Ole Brook recovered the onside kickoff as Orlandas Chapmancovered the football at Clinton’s 48. The Panther gained a firstdown at the Clinton 36 before disaster struck. Arrow linebackerCorey Ray speared a Rancifer pass and returned it 70 yards for atouchdown.

Ray (5-10, 230, jr.) rumbled to the end zone and made a flyingleap across the goal line, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlikeconduct penalty on the PAT. Cole followed with a 35-yard PAT kickand Clinton led 34-19.