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Panthers host Mendenhall

The Mendenhall Tigers invade King Field Friday night for aRegion 6-4A game with the Brookhaven Panthers. Kickoff is 7:30p.m.

Brookhaven (2-1, 1-0) is the defending region champion and freshfrom a narrow 31-28 win at McComb. Mendenhall (1-3, 0-1) absorbed a33-21 loss at the hands of the unbeaten Forest Hill Rebels who are4-0 and 1-0.

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey said there is no shortage ofathletes on the Mendenhall squad. “Mendenhall is the normalMendenhall team. They are very athletic at the skill positions.They seem to have better linemen.”

Peavey was especially impressed by No. 57, Roland Dampeer (6-2,230, sr.), and No. 52, Cordario McClain (6-4, 260, sr.). Dampeerreturned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown against Forest Hill.

“Number 57 plays hard every play and No. 52 is another big guywho really stands out,” said Peavey. “They have some a lot ofrunning backs and some good receivers, too.

Chris Peterson is in his sixth year as Mendenhall’s headcoach.

Offensively, the Tigers are directed by senior quarterbackMontrell Edwards (5-7, 165) who wears jersey No. 5. Edwards is anelusive runner and possesses a strong passing arm, too.

Asked about Mendenhall’s defensive scheme, Peavey said, “Theyplay a 3-3 stack defense when they are blitzing all the time. Theyare athletic enough to play man coverage which frees up the otherplayers.”

Injuries Bite Panthers

Peavey, in his seventh year at the helm, has been surprised bythe number of injuries which have plagued his team this year,especially so early in the season.

“In the time that I’ve been here, we have never had this manyinjuries and ailments,” said Peavey.

Sophomore lineman Josh Chermie had his appendix removed and thentwisted his knee. Starting linebacker Jarvis Wilbert has been outsince before the season started with an ankle jury that requiredsurgery. Starting sophomore center Sam Ballard has a back injury(cracked vertebra) and is out for the season.

Veteran defensive end Joseph Owens is out indefinitely. He had acyst removed from the right side of his neck and sat out lastweek’s game at McComb. Peavey said Owen would miss the Mendenhallgame.

Another casualty is senior offensive tackle Quartez Lyons whohad an MRI performed today on his leg. He injured his knee inBrook’s win over the McComb Tigers last Friday. He won’t playagainst Mendenhall

The Panthers built a 24-0 halftime lead and then had to fightfor survival as McComb authored an impressive comeback.

“We just didn’t play in the second half,” said Peavey. “Mistakesand turnovers hurt us. Then we were hanging on for dear life.”

Brook’s Players of the Week for the McComb game were KendrellBrown on special teams. Jawaun Merchant on defense and Nick Peaveyand Trent Powell on offense.

Merchant recovered a fumble on McComb’s last drive to preservethe win. He also had 6 tackles and 3 assists.

Powell caught a 59-yard pass from quarterback Bud Britt to putthe Panthers up 31-21 with 4:54 left to play.

Britt completed 10 of 18 passes for 162 yards. Powell had 4catches for 68 yards.

On defense, the Panthers were led by linebacker Renaldo Epps whowas credited with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. Javon Middletonhad 6 solo stops, 4 assists and a safety. Issac Jones had 5 solostops and 2 assists.

Panther Paws: Last season at Mendenhall, BHS posted a 20-12victory as Semmie Smith rushed for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns.Tiger quarterback Montrell Edwards passed for 158 yards and 2 TDs.He also rushed for 70 yards.