Panthers host Lawrence Co.

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2006

A large crowd is expected for Senior Night when the BrookhavenPanthers host the Lawrence County Cougars Friday night in theregular season finale. Kickoff is 7 p.m. for the Region 6-4Ashowdown.

The Panthers, 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the division, already havelocked up a berth in the state playoffs which begin Nov. 3. Bycontrast, the Cougars (5-4, 3-2) need a win over Ole Brook to makethe playoffs.

Both teams are fresh from disappointing defeats. The Pantherslost to Kosciusko 34-13 on the road while the Cougars bowed 33-10to the division-leading McComb Tigers.

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Lawrence County head coach Mike Davis said the Panthers are ableto score quickly, by land and air. “Offensively, they are one ofthe best teams we will face this year. They have a lot of weaponsthey can use against you.”

Mainly, the Panthers rely on the running of senior CharlesWilson and the passing of junior quarterback Charles (Bobo)Rancifer.

“Brookhaven has beaten some good teams this year,” said Davis.”We are bunged (injured) up right now,” after losing to McComb. “Wehope to have them healthy for Friday night.”

Davis said his team will be fighting for a state playoff berth.”I know it will be a challenge for us. Our kids are looking forwardto it. I hope we have a lot of folks follow us to Brookhaven.”

Lawrence County has a strong offensive line, led by tackle JakeThames (6-5, 250, sr.). Senior quarterback Ryan McCall (6-3, 190)calls the signals. Will Harris (5-11, 170, sr.), Kendrick Hardy(6-1, 180, so.) and Isiah Ferdinand (5-8, 170, jr.) are the majorrushers.

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey and his staff have been busypreparing their team for the Cougars.

“Lawrence County has a fast defense and they play hard,” saidPeavey. “They are very sound in what they do. I haven’t seen themgive up big plays.

“Both of their linebackers, No. 20 (Dontay Collins) and No. 43(Julius Magee), show up a lot. Collins (5-11, 180, jr.) is from theTopeka community of Lawrence County. Magee (6-1, 240, jr.) is fromMonticello.

The Cougars use the double wing formation and are adept atrunning that offense. “They do a good job with it,” said Peavey.”They control the clock. They do a real good job running the ball.Their play-action pass catches you off guard. The fullback is a bigplayer for them. Their quarterback is a good operator.”

Looking ahead to next week, first round opponents in the stateplayoffs for Region 6-4A will come from Region 7-4A. Among theleaders are Gautier, Vancleave. D’Iberville and Forrest County AHS,the No. 1 seed.

The Panthers were slowed by 3 turnovers at Kosciusko. They wereoutplayed and overpowered by the Whippets.

“We have to play solid defense and avoid turnovers like we didlast week,” said Peavey. “Turnovers are hard to overcome.”

Peavey said Jerrell Buie, a strong safety/linebacker, broke hisarm last Friday at Kosciusko.

Players of the week for the Kosciusko game were free safety R.J.Jenkins on defense and Charles Wilson on offense. Jenkins wascredited with 12 tackles. Wilson rushed 26 times for 144 yards.

Other defensive leaders were linebacker Bart Sias with 9 tacklesand 1 sack. Virgil Sanders had 5 tackles. Dewaun Washingtonintercepted his second pass of the season.

This is the last home game for 19 BHS seniors. They weresophomores during the 2004 state championship season and have madethree straight state playoff appearances.

Panther Paws: Last year BHS beat LawrenceCounty 35-0 as Rancifer passed for 137 yards and 1 touchdown, andrushed for 80 more yards, plus 2 TDs. Wide receiver SimmieYarborough caught 4 passes for 76 yards.