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Ole Brook turns over Lawrence Co.

MONTICELLO – A swarming defense and the slashing, 3-touchdownruns of Semmie Smith sparked the Brookhaven Panthers to a 27-20Friday night victory over Lawrence County’s Cougars on arain-soaked gridiron. The Cougars self-destructed with 5 turnoversand Brookhaven’s Isaiah Williams provided the final theft,intercepting a pass in the end zone with 37 seconds left to play inthe heated rivalry.

Williams stepped in front of quarterback Adam Watson’s pass thatwas intended for Eric Boutte. The interception launched a happycelebration as the Panthers avenged last year’s humbling 63-21 losson King Field.

“I jumped up for the ball,” said Williams, recalling theinterception. “(Boutte) had the height advantage but I tried tostay with him. I knew we could beat them.”

The victory was a major turnaround for the Panthers (2-1) whohad lost 34-0 at Clinton the previous Friday night. Smith, whorushed 29 times for 197 yards, said it was a matter ofexecution.

“They beat us real bad last year,” said a happy Smith as hemunched on a Snickers candy bar. “We came over here and playedPanther football.

“Our offensive line did the best they’ve done,” added Smith.”They worked hard all week.”

Smith was a workhorse and a sparkplug in the Ole Brook offense.He scored touchdowns on runs of 11, 6 and 9 yards. His final TDcame with 7:32 left in the game. It was preceded by a high snapover LCHS punter Stephen Holden’s head and resulted in a 29-yardloss to the Cougars’ 22.

The Cougars (1-3) had tied the game at 14-14 early in the thirdquarter on a 17-yard TD run by senior running back Matthew Wellsand a PAT kick by Trevor Havis.

On the ensuing kickoff, the pooch kick was fielded by Smith athis 29 and returned 57 yards to LC’s 14. On first down, quarterbackDuwone Harris scampered up the middle for the go-ahead TD. DeweyStailey’s PAT kick made it 21-14.

Wells showed his speed late in the third quarter on a fourthdown play. He took the handoff from Watson, broke through the lineand galloped 40 yards to paydirt. Havis was stopped short on thePAT conversion run and Brook led 21-20.

“We stepped up on defense tonight,” said BHS head coach TuckerPeavey. “We kept battling and we played well.

“Semmie ran the ball hard,” Peavey pointed out. “Our offensivefront (line) did a good job.”

In a game of momentum changes, Brook’s Devonte Stewart blocked a24-yard field goal attempt by Havis when the Cougars stalled at the17. From there, the Panthers went 80 yards in 8 plays. Smith scoredfrom 11 yards out, breaking a tackle and cutting back against thegrain.

Watson directed 70-yard, 13-play drive for the tying TD. He hitBoutte for 15 yards and the TD.

The Panthers responded with a 7-play, 69-yard march on the nextseries and it was 14-7 with 3:40 left in the first half.

Cougar running back Josh Cameron lost 2 fumbles late in thefirst half and LCHS coach Mike Davis elected not to use the seniorstandout in the second half. Wells pulled a groin muscle on aleaping pass reception at Brook’s 20-yard with less than 5 minutesleft to play and didn’t return to the game.

“We had no fumbles last week,” said Davis, referring to histeam’s 22-21 loss to Class 3A power Tylertown. “But we had too manytonight.

“Offensively, Brookhaven did an excellent job,” said Davis.”They are a tough team to stop. Smith is a good player and he wastough to stop.”

BHS enjoys an open date this week before hosting West Jones forits first Region 7-5A test. The Cougars are on the road atVicksburg Friday night.