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Panthers invade Wayne Co.

The powerhouse Wayne County War Eagles entertain the BrookhavenPanthers Friday night for a Region 3-5A test in Waynesboro. Kickoffis 7 p.m.

Wayne County (4-1, 1-0) is off to another strong start thisseason. The Eagles, coached by Marcus Boyles, beat region foe StoneCounty 13-7 last Friday night at Perkinston, where the Tomcats playtheir home games on the Gulf Coast Community College field.

Boyles has compiled an awesome 101-12 record in 9 seasons atWayne County. His Eagles finished 12-1 last season in Class 4A,absorbing an upset loss to West Jones in the South statesemifinals.

Boyles had 12 starters returning this year. Their only loss sofar was a 21-7 setback at Meridian in the second game of theseason.

Standout running back Tracy Lampley has graduated and is playingas a true freshman at Southern Miss. Replacing him is Dewayne Davis(5-7, 160, jr.) who wears jersey No. 34.

“Number 34 looks pretty darn fast,” said Ole Brook head coachTucker Peavey.

“Their quarterback (Demarcus Henderson) can throw it and theyhave some big tall receivers,” Peavey pointed out. “They have acouple of big defensive linemen.”

Henderson (5-11, 170, sr.) is a veteran who passed for 1,196yards and 20 touchdowns last year. One of his primary receivers isShavrice Cunningham (6-1, 210, sr.) who had 25 receptions for 325yards last year.

On defense, Marian Chapman (6-0, 215, sr.) and Vinte Gandy (5-9,220, sr.) anchor the line at end and tackle respectively.

Around 100 Wayne County varsity players are suited up for Fridaynight’s games. They cover the sideline for home and away games. WarEagle fans wear hunter orange and fill the stadium by thethousands. From 7-8,000 fans are expected for tomorrow night’sgame.

Peavey’s Panthers (2-2, 0-1) are coming off a 38-14 home fieldloss to West Jones, the top-ranked team in Class 5A. They werevictimized by 3 turnovers as 2 of them led to easy touchdowns.

Peavey reviewed last week’s performance. “We must eliminate ourturnovers on offense. When we get inside the 20, we need to comeaway with some points.”

Brook’s secondary was victimized by 2 touchdown passes fromquarterback Ben Stevens to wide receiver LeKendrick McKellar.Running back Devontay Barnett rushed for 142 yards and 2touchdowns.

“On defense, we must execute,” Peavey pointed out. “If it’s 10plays or 100 plays, we have to do it over and over again.”

Peavey said his team has worked on pass defense. “We have to bein the right coverage and those calls must be relayed right.”

Under the MHSAA state playoff format, the top 4 teams in eachregion advance to the state playoffs. Peavey said, “It’s a regiongame. We certainly want to improve and play better. I believe wecan do better.”

Recognized as Players of the Week for the West Jones game wererunning back Semmie Smith on offense and lineman Cordai Hendersonon defense. Smith rushed for 149 yards and 2 TDs. Hendersonaccounted for 4 tackles, 4 pass pressures and a quarterbacksack.

Working in Brook’s offensive line are Sam Ballard and DerrickHenderson at tackle, Mitch Case at center, Tameus Hooker and WillFurr at guard and Nick Peavey at tight end.

Other leaders on the BHS defense were Austin Barnett with 7 solostops and 3 assists; Jewaun Merchant with 6 solos and 1 assist, andShamonte Brooks with 5 solo stops.

Panther Paws: BHS hasn’t played Wayne County since 2006, whenthe Panthers lost 30-17 on King Field, in the second round of thestate playoffs. In 2004, when BHS won the Class 4A state title, thePanthers went overtime and beat Wayne County 27-21 in the Southstate semifinals.