Lawrence Co.’s night

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 6, 2008

Kendrick Hardy knew it was Lawrence County’s night. TheAll-State senior running back was instrumental in helping theCougars end six years of frustration Friday night, overwhelming theBrookhaven Panthers 63-21 on King Field.

An estimated crowd of 3,200 watched as Hardy rushed for 2touchdowns and returned an interception 34 yards for another.Teammate Mathew Wells also rushed for 2 TDs and caught a 57-yardpass from quarterback Adam Watson in an awesome display ofoffensive power.

“This is the first time in a long time for us to beat Brookhavenand it feels good,” said Hardy, outside the jubilant dressing room.”I knew we were going to win but I didn’t know we could score thatmany points.”

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The Cougars (5-1, 3-0) claimed sole possession of first place inthe Region 6-4A race and they matched last week’s 63 points scoredagainst McComb. They amassed 448 yards total offense and led BHS42-14 at halftime.

Hardy (6-1, 220) made his last appearance of the game on ajolting 58-yard touchdown run with 2:20 left in the third quarter.The PAT kick by Tevor Havis expanded the lead to 56-14.

During the game’s 5-touchdown second quarter, Hardy stepped infront of a Bud Britt pass and returned it for a touchdown. “Coach(Mike Davis) told me I should try to get my first interception. Ithit my shoulder pads. I thought I could take it to the house.”

The Cougars asserted themselves on their first possession of thegame. They marched 67 yards in 15 plays. Hardy carried the final 4yards over right tackle.

A 2-yard sneak by Watson and a 17-yard run by Josh Cameron gaveLCHS its second and third TDs of the opening 12 minutes. Theyscored on 6 straight possessions in the first half and continuedthe stampede in the third quarter.

Coach Davis displayed chivalry after Hardy’s final TD, pullinghis starting backfield. Cougar Lakendrick Barnes recovered theensuing kickoff at Brook’s 30-yard line. Cornelius Sibley’s 4-yardplunge made it 63-14 with 11:53 left in the game.

“I’m proud for our kids and our coaches,” said Davis whorealized his first win over BHS. “Our kids stepped up against agood Brookhaven team. We have a young coaching staff and they did agreat job preparing our kids.”

The Panthers were hampered by 5 turnovers, 2 interceptions and 3lost fumbles. They drove 77 yards for their first TD. Semmie Smithreturned after a 1-game suspension and scored from 1 yard out overright tackle. Chris Lowman’s PAT kick reduced the deficit to 21-7with 7:47 left in the second quarter.

Four more touchdowns lit the jumbo scoreboard before halftime.Wells scored twice before Smith ran 11 yards for a second TD and itwas 42-14. Wells intercepted Britt on the last play of the firsthalf.

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey said he was disappointed byhis team’s performance. “We had a bunch of guys who didn’t handlethe intensity of this game. We got a whipping in every phase of thegame. We didn’t tackle well and we didn’t block well.

“We will have to play much better to make the playoffs.”

BHS wide receiver Duwone Harris enjoyed another big game,catching 7 passes for 111 yards but the Panthers (3-2, 2-1) wereunable to muster much offense, gaining just 96 yards on theground.

Tavarus Howard scored Brook’s final TD on a 4-yard run.