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Scrimmage offers action

Thursday’s history-making football scrimmage between Brookhavenand Loyd Star covered most facets of the game. Players saw plentyof action and enjoyed a pizza supper at the conclusion on LoydStar’s W.E. “Sambo” Smith Field.

An estimated crowd of 500 football-hungry fans witnessed theevent. It was the first-ever meeting between the varsity footballteams. There was no shortage of action as first, second and thirdteams took turns on offense and defense.

The two Lincoln County teams huddled at midfield after the gameand the head coaches, Tucker Peavey of Brookhaven, and Ryan Ross ofLoyd Star exchanged compliments. Players then bowed their heads andrecited the Lord’s Prayer together.

Ole Brook rising senior defensive tackle Cordai Henderson saidhe enjoyed the scrimmage. “It was fun to play against somebodydifferent. Loyd Star has some good speed. They’re fast.”

Henderson said he was looking forward to the 2009 season. ThePanthers debut Aug. 28, hosting Franklin County. It will be Brook’sfirst year in Class 5A under the new classification system.

Against Loyd Star, the Panthers gave up two early touchdownsduring the full-team portion of the scrimmage. Hornet runnersMarquis Sims and Marquis Hayes showcased their breakaway speed onthe corners.

A 3-man officiating crew blew quick whistles on the tackles toavoid major pileups. Camera crews from both teams recorded thescrimmage.

The Panthers got their first touchdown on a left-end scamper byrising sophomore Chris White who later scored again. Rising seniorSemmie Smith, Brook’s 1,000-yard rusher last season, was held outof the scrimmage due to a pulled hamstring.

As the scrimmage continued, Brook’s defense grew stronger.Devonte Stewart intercepted Hornet quarterback Joseph Shelby andreturned it for an apparent TD. Sherrod Gray picked off backupquarterback Korey Allen and made another potential TD return. QuinnWatson recovered a fumble.

Coach Ross cradled one of his infant twins after the scrimmageand reviewed the event. “I was pleased with the effort and weplayed hard. We were happy to have Brookhaven here.”

Ross said his team still had a long way to go. “We worked hardto get tougher on defense this spring. Defense will take you a longway in the playoffs.”

Action began with a passing drill as receivers and backs linedup against linebackers and secondary. BHS rising junior quarterbackDuwone Harris completed passes to Ross Hill and Travorius Showerson the first series.

Stewart, backing up Harris, hit White and Patrick Valentine inthe passing drill.

Shelby hooked up with McKinley Hamilton and Hayes. Allenconnected with C.J. Duckworth and Brandon Canny.

Brook’s rushing game was led by White and Showers. Tight endNick Peavey gained 15 yards on a busted pass play from Harris.

Coach Peavey said he saw room for improvement. “We made a lot ofmental mistakes and that was disappointing. Loyd Star’s guys playedhard. Overall, we had a good effort and a good spring.”

The Panthers also ran an extra point series. Kickers DeweyStaley and Matt Hart took turns kicking extra points and had mixedresults. Sam Ballard worked as long snapper.

Last year’s kicker (Chris Lowman) and punter (Bud Britt) must bereplaced.

Loyd Star offensive tackle Trey Reid (6-2, 265) prepared todevour his pizza as the box rested on the hood of a pickup truck.He said he enjoyed the scrimmage.

“It was good to have Brookhaven out here,” said Reid. “Theyworked us pretty good. That will help us get better for theseason.”

Class 2A Loyd Star makes its debut Aug. 21 in a designated MHSAAClassic Game, hosting the Class 3A Franklin County Bulldogs.