Panthers invade Lawrence Co.

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 11, 2009

It’s Lawrence County Week for the Brookhaven Panthers (1-1).It’s also Brookhaven Week for the LCHS Cougars (1-2) as theneighboring rivals square off Friday night in Monticello. Kickoffis 7:30 p.m.

Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey said he is familiar with therivalry that covers all athletic events. “Obviously, it’s a biggame and it always is. Lawrence County is going to play hard. Wemust be ready to play.”

Peavey said the Cougars are effective in their Wing-T offensiveattack and they make few mistakes. Their quarterback (Adam Watson)has been running it for a few years. They have some talentedrunning backs, too.”

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Cougar running backs Matthew Wells (6-2, 205) and Josh Cameron(6-0, 197) are both rated as major college prospects this year.Wells was a preseason All-State choice.

As a junior, Wells rushed for 1,357 yards and scored 19touchdowns. He caught 10 passes for 323 yards and 7 TDs. He alsoreturned 2 kickoffs for TDs. On defense, he intercepted 4 passesand made 42 tackles as a defensive back.

Cameron rushed for 1,213 yards and scored 14 TDs lastseason.

In last week’s 22-21 loss to unbeaten Class 3A power Tylertown,Wells rushed 25 times for 149 yards and 1 TD. Cameron rushed 19times for 117 yards and 2 TDs.

Defensively, the Cougars have had to fill some large shoes dueto graduation. Like the offensive unit, they are improving eachgame.

“I see some familiar numbers on defense,” said Peavey. “Theyplayed Tylertown very well. I haven’t seen a lot of big playsagainst them.”

Linebacker Marcus Brown wears jersey No. 90 and leads the LCHSdefense. He was recognized as Most Valuable Defensive Player inRegion 6-4A last year.

Peavey’s Panthers are fresh from a 34-0 shutout at the hands ofClass 6A powerhouse Clinton. It was the first time for the Panthersto go scoreless since the 2005 season opener at FranklinCounty.

Peavey said his team must complete scoring drives againstLawrence County. Although the Panthers accumulated 251 yards totaloffense, they were derailed by 1 interception and 2 fumbles.

“When we get the ball we are going to have to score with it,”said Peavey. “(LCHS offense) can control the ball for a longtime.

“Offensively, we must be able to finish drives. We have to getpoints out of those drives. We did some things good.”

Clinton amassed 338 yards total offense and led 34-0 early inthe fourth quarter. Peavey said his team must tackle better.

“On defense, we have to be in the right place and not wait onsomeone else to make the play.”

Senior running back Semmie Smith paced the Panthers againstClinton with 81 yards on 14 rushes. Quarterback Duwone Harriscompleted 6 of 13 passes for 98 yards and threw 1 interception.

On defense, BHS was led by Shamonte Brooks who made 8 solo stopsand 1 assist. Cordai Henderson had 7 tackles and 1 sack. JacobyCooper had 6 solo tackles and Jeffery Newton had 5.

Davis Expects Tough Test

“It will be a tough game for us,” said LCHS coach Mike Davis.His team won their season opener 27-26 over Jackson Callaway andlost 34-13 at Vicksburg Warren Central.

“Brookhaven has a bunch of athletes, especially at the skillpositions,” said Davis whose team finished 10-2 last season,winning the Region 6-4A crown. “They look big up front on offenseand defense. I know they ran up against a real strong Clintonteam.”

In a rebuilding mode, the Cougars lost senior offensive linemanCody Killingsworth to a broken leg in the season-opening win overJackson Callaway.

“We hope to have a big crowd for this game,” said Davis. “Bothteams are hungry for a win.”

After reclassification last spring, the Cougars remained inClass 4A while the Panthers were promoted to Class 5A. Davis said,”It seems strange not having them in the same district withus.”

Panther Paws: Last year on King Field, the Cougars realizedtheir most lopsided victory over BHS, winning 63-21 and ending a6-game losing streak in the series. Southern Miss signee KendrickHardy rushed for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wells gained 88 yardsand scored 3 TDs.

BHS quarterback Bud Britt passed for 147 yards but wasintercepted twice. Semmie Smith scored 2 TDs and gained 49yards.