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Panthers visit South Pike Eagles

Brookhaven and South Pike are both looking to bounce back fromnarrow, season-opening setbacks. The Panthers and Eagles renew anold rivalry Friday night on South Pike’s Colee Field. Kickoff is7:30.

Coach Tucker Peavey’s Panthers dropped a close 35-34 overtimedecision to Franklin County last Friday night on King Field. Theyhad taken a 34-27 lead in OT but the Bulldogs pushed in a 2-pointconversion and claimed the victory.

By comparison, South Pike lost a tight 7-0 decision to archrivalMcComb last Friday night at McComb. The Eagles were derailed bypenalties and turnovers.

Asked about his team’s shutout, Huffman said, “I thought weplayed pretty well, considering how young we are. We got a goodoverall effort but we made some mistakes.”

Quarterback Travorrious Marsalis led the Eagles with 10 of 20pass completions for 84 yards. He rushed 17 times for 94 yards.Ross had 6 catches for 41 yards. Tevin Martin caught 3 passes for26 yards.

“I think Brookhaven went through about the same thing that wedid,” said Huffman. “They didn’t capitalize. But they did scorepoints.”

Huffman said his squad is learning the basics. “We may go halfthe year before we learn what to do and play it correctly.

“Defensively, we got after it pretty good, to be as green as weare. We have one guy back and the rest are new bodies.” Only 29players suited up for the McComb game.

Last season, Huffman’s Eagles finished 13-1. They won theDivision 7-3A championship and advanced to the South statechampionship game, losing to Hazlehurst, the Class 3A statechamp.

Peavey On South Pike

Peavey said he respects South Pike. “To me, they look like thetypical South Pike team. They have skill people and they arefast.

“On defense, they swarm the football. I don’t see muchdifference in them. I know they lost a lot of players ondefense.”

Most impressive for the Eagles is wide receiver Derrick Ross(6-1, 180, sr.), a speedy senior college prospect. As a junior,Ross caught 39 passes for 743 yards and and 15 touchdowns.

“The receiver, No. 18, (Ross) is outstanding,” said Peavey.”They try to give him the ball quick and make people miss. Theirquarterback can throw the ball down the field, too.”

Another fleet receiver for the Eagles is Brinson Johnson(6-3,175, sr.) He caught 25 passes for 342 yards and 3 TDs lastseason.

Peavey said a wet, muddy field slowed down the Eagles againstMcComb. “It was raining and nasty Friday night.”

Against Franklin County, the Panthers rode the passing andrunning of junior quarterback Charles (Bobo) Rancifer. He rushed 12times for 112 yards and a touchdown. He completed 7 of 22 passesfor 155 yards and 1 TD.

Senior running back Charles Wilson rushed for 69 second-halfyards and scored 2 TDs. Marcus Smith led the receiving corps with 3catches for 67 yards. Simmie Yarborough caught 2 passes for 54yards and 1 TD.

Place-kicker Will Thibodeaux kicked field goals of 21 and 30yards. He was 4-for-4 on extra points. He punted 4 times for a37.5-yard average.

“Offensively, we were able to put some points on the board,”said Peavey. “We weren’t able to finish drives when we had achance. We had some unforced errors. We kept battling and that wasencouraging.”

On defense, Virgil Sanders led the Panthers with 7 tackles. BoSmith and Chavon Middleton each had 5 tackles as the Panthers gaveup 408 yards total offense.

Brookhaven’s players of the week were right guard Courtney Clarkon offense and Greg Walker on special teams. No defensive award waspresented.

Panther Paws: Ole Brook didn’t play South Pikelast season due to the hurricane. Huffman is a resident ofHazlehurst and commutes to Magnolia every day on a Gold WingHonda.