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Panthers visit McComb for region test

Region 6-4A is recognized state-wide for its football power. Tworegion title contenders renew an ancient rivalry Friday night whenthe Brookhaven Panthers (2-1) visit the McComb Tigers (2-1) fortheir first region test of the season. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

“This is an important game for us,” opined McComb second-yearhead coach Randy Martin. “Brookhaven has a real good football team.Their quarterback is good and they have some talented skillpeople.”

Martin’s Tigers made two strong showings on defense earlier thisseason. They shut out South Pike 7-0 in their season opener andPine, La. 27-0 two weeks ago. They lost a 35-32 overtime thrillerto Class 5A power Madison Central last Friday at Madison, witnessedby an estimated crowd of 8,000.

“We ran into a buzz saw last week in overtime at MadisonCentral,” said Martin. “It was a good ballgame for the fans. Weplayed hard and we had a shot to win it in regulation.”

After a McComb fumble in overtime, the MC Jaguars got agame-winning, 27-yard field goal from Ryne Smith as they reboundedfrom a lopsided setback at Wayne County.

McComb is blessed with several exceptional players on offense.Alonzo Harris (5-11, 160, sr.) is a skilled veteran at quarterbackwho runs and throws with authority. Demorious Stewart (5-9, 196,sr.) and Justin Powell (5-9, 162, jr.) are the top runningbacks.

Kiam Magee (6-4, 184, jr.) is a favorite receiver forHarris.

Powell rushed for 101 yards in the loss. Harris completed 5 of15 passes for 137 yards, including a 70-yard TD pass to Magee.

“The first part of the season is over so we start the secondpart which is division play,” said Martin. “Brookhaven is prettyquick on defense and they fly to the ball. Our defense is mixed uppretty good. We are playing team defense.”

Dylan Boyd (6-2, 175, sr.) is the placekicker.

“It should be a good ballgame,” Martin predicted. “I hope we putsome points on the scoreboard.”

Former Franklin County head coach Michael Goff came out ofretirement and is helping coach the Tigers this year. He coachestight ends and receivers.

Peavey On McComb

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey said the Tigers are anexceptionally strong team. “Obviously, they are very good atrunning the football. They also showed a pretty good passing gamewith Madison Central. They are getting more comfortable in theiroffense.”

Peavey said McComb’s size up front impresses him. “They are hugein their offensive line. They have several ball carriers,wingbacks, fullbacks with a lot of speed. They use two tight endsand three backs, a power formation.

“Their quarterback is a good player,” Peavey continued. “Number15 (Powell) and No. 22 (Stewart) are really good ball carriers.

On defense, the Tigers use a 4-man front. “They are prettyathletic on defense,” said Peavey. “They can all get to thefootball in a hurry. They have a lot of team speed.”

McComb played well at the end of last year and most of them areback. The Tigers reached the third round of the state playoffs.

Peavey said McComb has 43 ninth graders going out forfootball.

Asked about improvements in the Panthers, Peavey said, “We mustimprove defensively and be able to sustain what we have been doingon offense.”

Selected as players of the week were quarterback Charles (Bobo)Rancifer and wide receiver Simmie Yarborough on offense; tackleVirgil Sanders on defense and Chase McIntyre on special teams.

In last Friday’s 42-35 win over previously unbeaten Clinton,Rancifer passed for 4 touchdowns and ran for another, earning himThe DAILY LEADER’s Offensive Player of the Week honors. Yarboroughcaught 3 TD passes and McIntyre took the other one in. Rancifer ran35 yards for a TD.

Running back Charles Wilson rushed 22 times for 148 yards.Yarborough had 6 receptions for 71 yards.

On defense, Greg Walker paced the Panthers with 14 tackles,including 10 solo stops. Sanders had 11 tackles. Larry Winters made8 stops and 2 quarterback sacks. R.J. Jenkins had 7 tackles and 1interception. Aaron Ayers had 5 tackles and returned aninterception for a touchdown.

Panther Paws: Last year the Panthers turnedback McComb 21-10 as they intercepted 3 passes. Rancifer passed for115 yards and 1 touchdown and ran for 2 more scores. Wilson rushedfor 65 yards.