Patriots surprise BHS
Forest Hill junior quarterback Isiah James said he felt like asenior Friday night on King Field. He played like a seasonedveteran and threw a 22-yard touchdown strike to wide receiverShaquan Holmes with no time left on the clock as the Patriotsshocked Brookhaven’s Panthers 16-13, spoiling Senior Night in theprocess.
Brookhaven (5-5, 3-4) appeared to have the upper hand in thefinal 64 seconds. The Patriots took over on their 20-yard line, 80yards away from paydirt. After an incomplete pass, James was sackedfor a 3-yard loss by Joseph Owens on second down but Jamesregrouped and completed 4 of his next 5 passes to author animprobable victory.
“Coach (Mario) Lane told us to man up tonight,” said James(5-11, 176). “My teammates needed me, so I had to step up and playlike a senior.”
Forest Hill (5-6, 2-5) had nothing to play for but pride.Brookhaven had secured a No. 4 seed in the Class 5A state playoffswith a win over McComb last week. The Panthers will play at MossPoint Friday.
“Coach Lane said we were going to look for No. 84 (Holmes) overthe middle,” said James. “I threw it to him and said, ‘Lord, pleaselet him catch it.'”
The reception set off a raucous celebration as Forest Hills’players swarmed the field and ice water jugs were poured oncoaches. The Patriots were penalized twice for excessivecelebration before the game was considered complete.
“We have a great group with a lot of guts and they gave a greateffort,” said Lane. “Our kids don’t have the most talent but theyplay hard.”
Lane’s team overcame adversity and 110 yards in penalties.Senior wide receiver Zachary Pendleton, the team’s punter andplacekicker, had booted a 27-yard field goal to put the Pats up10-7 with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
Five minutes later, Pendleton was ejected for disputing apenalty. A holding call had erased his TD reception.
On defense, the Pats also played hard. They limited BHS to just138 yards total offense.
“We never could get any rhythm going on offense,” noted OleBrook coach Tucker Peavey. “Forest Hill has two real goodlinebackers. They’re a real good team.”
On Senior Night, the Panthers took advantage of a short punt.They went 39 yards in 7 plays, aided by a pass interferencepenalty. Senior running back Semmie Smith took a pitchout fromquarterback Duwone Harris 4 yards around left end for the TD.
Dewey Stailey’s PAT kick put the hosts up 7-0 with 58 secondsleft in the first quarter.
The Pats showed their big-play potential after Kentrell Brownintercepted Harris in the end zone. They went 80 yards in 18 playsand scored with no time left as James connected with Patrick Grayon a 9-yard slant. Pendleton’s PAT gained a 7-7 halftime knot.
Smith gave the Panthers a 13-10 advantage late in the thirdquarter when he raced 52 yards for a TD, cutting back across thefield. He finished with 129 rushing yards on 18 carries.
The Panthers, who were minus senior defensive lineman JewaunMerchant due to an ankle injury sustained in the McComb game, madetwo fourth down stands in the fourth quarter. They halted the Patsat the BHS 22 and 47-yard lines.