Panthers host North Pike

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 28, 2008

The rebuilding Brookhaven Panthers receive their first test ofthe 2008 football season Friday night, hosting the North PikeJaguars. The long-awaited opener kicks off at 7:30 and a largecrowd is anticipated at King Field.

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey will unveil a young squadwith just 15 seniors on a 90-plus varsity team that includes 17juniors, 32 sophomores and 30 freshmen. Peavey said there are manyquestions to be answered, on offense and defense.

“It’s time to get the season started,” said Peavey. “We willstart playing for real. Hopefully, we will be ready.”

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Peavey, 46, in his 7th season at the helm, has coached thePanthers to region championships in 4 of the last 6 years. They wona Class 4A state title in 2004. Last year they won the region titleand finished 8-2.

Peavey said the following players would be in the startinglineup and several more would see playing time against North Pike.On offense, the receivers are Duwone Harris (5-11, 180, soph.),Trent Powell (5-10, 168. soph.), Isaiah White (5-8, 172, jr.) andE.J. Henderson (5-9, 150, soph.). Nick Peavey (6-0, 215, soph.) isa tight end.

Semmie Smith (5-10, 185, jr.) is at running back and Bud Britt(6-2, 185, sr.) is at quarterback.

On the offensive line, Derrick Henderson (6-4, 315, jr.) andQuartez Lyons (6-1, 291, sr.) are at tackles. Tamaeus Hooker (5-8,244, soph.) and Jonathan Buie (5-9, 237, jr.) are at guard and SamBallard (6-1, 215, soph.) is at center.

Placekicking will be handled by Chris Lowman (5-9, 140, sr.).Britt will punt.

On defense, the ends are Joseph Owens (6-0, 235, jr.) andLaterrius Williams (6-1, 225, sr.). The tackles are CordaiHenderson (5-10, 258, jr.) and Jawaun Merchant (5-11, 270,soph).

At linebacker are Kendrell Brown (6-0, 183, sr,), Isaac Jones(5-9, 172, sr.), Chavon Middleton (5-7, 170, sr.) and JarvisWilbert (5-8, 192, sr.).

At free safety is Jeffrey Newton (6-0, 168, jr.).

. The cornerbacks are Chris Seals (5-7, 150, soph.), IsaiahWilliams ((5-6, 147, sr.), Elliott McKee (5-8, 146, sr.) andDevonte Stewart (5-9, 148, soph.).

North Pike Outlook

“North Pike is a much improved team because they played so manyyoung players last year,” said Peavey. “They have some goodathletes. They will spread those people out and let them try tododge people.”

Peavey’s Panthers participated in the Wayne County jamboree lastThursday and got a learning experience. They lost to reigning Class4A state champion Laurel 14-0 and to Wayne County 27-0.

“In the first game against Laurel, we missed two or three playsthat could make a diference,” said Peafey. “We moved the ball wellbut we got some penalties.”

Second-year North Pike head coach Chris Smith said he waslooking forward to playing the Panthers. “Brookhaven is a greatplace to play and there is a great atmosphere. Some of our kidsmight be bug-eyed but they will enjoy it, too.

“We want to play quality teams.” Smith continued. “We want toshow our kids what we want to be.”

Working at quarterback for the Jaguars is sophomore Revis Butler(5-10, 195). At running back is LaDerrick Turner (5-9, 195,jr.).

North Pike’s school district is growing in leaps and bounds,according to Smith. “We probably have a thousand kids in K-4, and625 in the high school.”

North Pike is expected to be elevated to Class 4A after thisschool year. The Jaguars were 2-8 overall last season and 2-4 inRegion 7-3A.

Panther Paws: Last season at North Pike, the Panthers prevailed37-6 as Charles (Bobo) Rancifer and Keyondra Powell returnedkickoffs for touchdowns. Powell also returned a fumble for atouchdown. Semmie Smith rushed for 101 yards and a TD.