Panthers travel to Vancleave
In a contrast of styles, theVancleave Bulldogs host theBrookhaven Panthers Friday night in the opening round of the Class4A state football playoffs. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs (6-3, 4-2), a ball-control, rush-minded team,finished runners-up to Forrest County AHS in the Region 7-4A race.They whipped Gautier 38-7 last Friday night to secure secondplace.
Brookhaven (6-4, 4-2) was derailed by a pair of close losses toRegion 6-4A champion Terry 32-29, and runner-up McComb, 31-28. ThePanthers, boasting a big-play offense, settled for third place.
The Panthers completed regular season play last Friday nightwith a 42-20 win over Lawrence County, knocking the Cougars out ofa state playoff berth.
According to Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey, Vancleave haslarge and powerful offensive line which helps the Bulldogs controlthe tempo of the game. On offense the Bulldogs use a double wing.They use two tight ends and two wingbacks and a fullback, similarto Lawrence County.
“Their quarterback Craig McMillian, (6-3, 180, soph.) runs theiroffense well,” said Peavey. “When he throws the ball, he can get itout there to them. They don’t make many mistakes.
“They are big on the offensive line,” said Peavey. “You can tellthey’re good size on the film. Their No. 7 (Chris White, 6-3, 230,sr.) plays fullback and linebacker. He’s a good player.”
Peavey said his team must adjust to the long bus ride and focuson the game. “We must continue to play well on offense and score.Defensively, we must eliminate the big play and improve on what wedid last week against Lawrence County.”
BHS senior running back Charles Wilson enjoyed an outstandinggame against Lawrence County. He rushed for 213 yards and scored 5touchdowns, earning him The DAILY LEADER’s Offensive Player of theWeek award.
On the season, Wilson has 193 rushes for 1,390 yards and 25touchdowns. He also has 1 punt return for a touchdown.
BHS quarterback Charles (Bobo) Rancifer has rushed 102 times for624 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has completed 73 of 141 passes for1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Simmie Yarborough has 35 catches for 685yards and 7 touchdowns. Marcus Smith has 20 receptions for 365yards and 2 touchdowns. Jake Williams has 5 catches for 110yards.
Thirteen different receivers have caught passes this season.
Brook’s Players of the Week for the Lawrence County game went tothe entire offense. On defense, linebacker Bart Sias earned thehonor. Jake Williams was recognized for his performance on specialteams.
Sias, a senior linebacker, led the Panthers with 8 tackles.Safety R.J. Jenkins had 7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery and 2 causedfumbles. Tackle Virgil Sanders had 7 stops and fumble recovery.Linebacker Greg Walker had 6 tackles.
Bloomfield Leads Bulldogs
A 1991 William Carey College graduate, Bloomfield is in hisseventh year as Vancleave’s head coach. The Bulldogs have been inthe playoffs the last four years.
Bloomfield said the Bulldogs rely on rushing the football. “Weare a ground attack team. We throw it when we need to.”
White and Jarrod Eley (5-8, 175, jr.) work mainly at fullback.The halfbacks are John Hannah (5-10, 180, sr.), Dre’ Whittle (5-9,155, so.) and Hugh Humphrey (5-11, 170, jr.).
“We try to get better on the defensive side,” said Bloomfield.”We have made some adjustments in our secondary. We haven’t gotbeat deep the last couple of ball games.
“Our linebackers are doing a better job,” he added. White worksat middle linebacker and is recognized as the team’s bighitter.
Shane Schieamon the team’s place-kicker and punter.
Bloomfield said he has 10 seniors on his squad and one of themhas missed the season due to injuries.
After watching the Panthers on film, Bloomfield said, “We havestudied Brookhaven. They are very fast. They are fundamentallysound. They block well and are big up front.
“I know Charles Wilson has a ton of touchdowns,” Bloomfieldcontinued. “He’s very, very quick. We will have to be on our bestgame to tackle him.”
Bloomfield recognized Brook’s multi-talented quarterback.”Rancifer is a load. He’s a tailback at the quarterback positionwho can throw the football. We’ll do our best to try and containthose guys. It’s a challenge for our defense.”
The Panthers’ receiving corps also impressed Bloomfield. “Theirspeed is something we will have to deal with. Yarborough is reallygood. He’s a big, physical kid.”
“We have to make some stops and let our offense grind itout.
“We are expecting a big crowd,” said Bloomfield. “Our kids areexcited about playing and we are excited, too.”
Panther Paws: Last year Ole Brook finishedthird in the region race and lost to Picayune on the road.