Mustangs buck Ole Brook
West Jones running back Devontay Barnett became well acquaintedwith the Brookhaven defense Friday night on King Field. Blessedwith strength and speed, Barnett rushed the football 22 times for142 yards and 2 touchdowns, sparking the Mustangs to a 38-14victory over the Brookhaven Panthers.
Barnett, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior, also caught 3 passes fromquarterback Ben Stevens who passed for 2 touchdowns. LaKendrickMcKellar caught TD passes of 27 and 7 yards and the Class 5A,top-ranked Mustangs remained unbeaten in 4 games.
Barnett scored on runs of 2 and 57 yards. His long,fourth-quarter dash gave the Mustangs a 31-14 lead with 8:28 leftto play.
“The holes were there and all I had to do was run through them,”said Barnett. “The blocking was good.”
Barnett said he was impressed by Ole Brook’s defense, especiallylinebacker Jacoby Cooper. “Brookhaven has a good defense. I liketheir attitude. Number 3 (Cooper) gave me trouble the wholegame.”
Brookhaven’s troubles began and ended with turnovers. Pantherquarterback Duwone Harris was intercepted by Ben McDonald onBrook’s first possession. McDonald returned the theft to Brook’s 14and Barnett scored 4 plays later.
In the fourth quarter, a botched handoff between Harris andSmith resulted in WJ’s Devonte Jones scooping up the football andracing 55 yards to paydirt for a 38-14 lead.
West Jones head coach Scott Pearson was happy to escape with avictory on a warm, humid night. The kickoff was delayed 65 minutesby lightning as thunderstorms rolled across Lincoln County.
“I’m thankful to be 1-0 in the division (Region 3-5A),” saidPearson. “We still have a long way to go,” including a home datewith McComb this week.
Asked about Barnett’s performance, Pearson said, “Devontay cancarry this team. He got 220 yards (versus South Jones) the lasttime we played.”
The defeat overshadowed a strong performance by BHS seniorrunning back Semmie Smith who rushed 14 times for 149 yards and 1TD, including a 44-yard score that reduced WJ’s lead to 24-14 with4:47 left in the third quarter.
“West Jones gave us trouble with their pressure defense,” saidBHS head coach Tucker Peavey. “We couldn’t make things happen. Wemust be able to throw the ball better and execute.”
Peavey said the Panthers played well on defense early in thegame but breakdowns in the secondary allowed Mackellar to get looseand catch TD passes of 27 and 7 yards from Stevens.
“We blew some coverages on passes,” Peavey pointed out. “Stevenswas able to move around and bought some time. We let Barnett lookgood.”
After the Mustangs went up 7-0, BHS gained a deadlock on a57-yard TD run down by Harris down the sideline and a PAT kick byDewey Stailey. Harris was under heavy pressure and tackled 7 timesbehind the line of scrimmage for a minus-43 yards.
The Mustangs enjoyed ideal field position on their second TDafter backing Brook up to its 5-yard line and taking a punt at theBHS 31. On second down Stevens found McKellar open for 19 yards andthe TD.
It was 21-7 at halftime on McKellar’s 7-yard reception and theextra point kick by Hunter Estes. In the third quarter, Estes hit a35-yard field goal for a 24-7 lead.
BHS (2-2, 0-1) travels to Waynesboro Friday for a region datewith the Wayne County War Eagles (4-1, 1-0) who beat Stone County13-7.