Rancifer directs Ole Brook

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 7, 2005

MONTICELLO — Sophomore quarterback Bobo Rancifer enjoyed hisfirst varsity experience with the Ole Brook-Lawrence Countyrivalry. Rancifer ran for 2 touchdowns and passed for another,directing the Panthers to a 35-0 trouncing of the Cougars.

It was the fifth straight win for the Panthers (6-3, 5-1). Terry(9-1, 5-1) edged McComb 25-22 Friday night to secure the Region6-4A title. Mendenhall (7-3, 5-1) was granted second place on thestrength of its win over Brookhaven.

Ole Brook, seeded third in the region, travels to Region 8-4ANo. 2 Picayune Friday for the opening round of the state playoffs.Terry hosts Poplarville and Mendenhall hosts Bay. McComb (4-5,3-3), the No. 4 seed, travels to Long Beach.

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“It was a competitive game,” said Rancifer, who passed for 137yards and 1 touchdown, and rushed for 80 more yards. “LawrenceCounty did a lot of trash talking and tried to get in ourheads.”

In the regular-season finale, the Cougars (3-6, 2-4) were unableto stop Rancifer and running back Charles Wilson who finished with17 carries for 49 yards. Leading 13-0 at halftime, the Panthers gota big lift when Keyondra Gates returned the second half kickoff 81yards for a TD.

Ole Brook got another break when the Cougars unintentionallytouched a punt as it rolled to a halt at the LCHS 4-yard line. ThePanthers recovered and scored 4 plays later when Wilson ran offright tackle, giving his team a 28-0 lead with 23 seconds left inthe the third quarter.

“Our kids played hard but things went Brookhaven’s way,” saidLCHS head coach Mike Davis. “That kickoff return was big and thenthat punt hit out kid. They got it deep on us.”

Davis praised the performance of Rancifer. “Brookhaven’s passinggame was clicking. No. 1 (Rancifer) threw the ball welltonight.

“My hat’s off to Coach (Tucker) Peavey and his staff,” saidDavis. “We wish them well in the playoffs.”

A large crowd witnessed the intense game. The Cougars made theirbest drive on their second possession of the game, moving thefootball 67 yards in 16 plays Ole Brook’s 8-yard line. WingbackDanny Powell was halted on fourth down and the Panthers tookover.

The Cougars got all 5 of their first-half first downs on thedrive.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Panthers marched 92 yardsin 15 plays. Rancifer completed 4 passes along the way, including a14-yard completion to Montral Smith at the LCHS 8-yard line. Threeplays later, Rancifer rolled to his right, cut back and scored.

Will Thibodeaux kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the6:01 mark.

Ole Brook regained possession with 1:12 left in the half. ThePanthers moved 45 yards in 7 plays. Rancifer hit Smith on a slantpattern for the final 12 yards and Ole Brook led 13-0.

After Gates electrified the crowd with his kickoff return,Wilson plunged 3 yards on the 2-point conversion and the Panthersled 21-0.

With 9:20 left in the game, LCHS failed on fourth down whenTaebyus Smith was tackled 2 yards shy of the needed first downyardage. Ole Brook responded with a 61-yard TD drive, highlightedby Rancifer’s 43-yard completion to wide receiver SimmieYarborough. On the next play, Rancifer scored over left tackle.

Thibodeaux’s PAT pushed the lead to 35-0 with 6:41 left in thegame.

Peavey said he was happy to leave town with a hard-foughtvictory. “Our kids played hard and kept their poise. LawrenceCounty has a good football team. Part of the rivalry is a physicalgame.”

Senior linebacker Marlon Dixon agreed with his head coach. “Thiswas probably the most physical game of the year. We playedPanther-style football tonight.”

Ole Brook’s aggressive defense limited the Cougars to 151 yardstotal offense, 143 of it rushing.

Sophomore linebacker Julius Magee led the Cougars with 8tackles. Dontrae Collins and Justin Hammond had 7 tackles. StevieCarr made 6 tackles and intercepted a pass.