Panthers tour Forest Hill
Forest Hill looms as the last hurdle for Brookhaven’s Panthersin their march to the state playoffs. The Region 3-5A game kicksoff at 7 p.m. Friday at Forest Hill.
Brookhaven (5-4, 3-3) is fresh from a 34-6 trouncing of the McCombTigers. Forest Hill (5-5, 2-4) lost 34-7 at Stone County in anotherRegion 3-5A contest. The Patriots and Panthers are battling forfourth place in the region race behind unbeaten West Jones (9-0,6-0), Picayune (8-1, 5-1) and Wayne County (8-2, 5-1).
West Jones is at Pearl River Central and Picayune visits WayneCounty in final regular season action tomorrow night. McComb is atStone.
Region 3 teams will meet Region 4 teams Nov. 12, in the first roundof the playoffs. Region 4 is led by Long Beach, Vancleave, MossPoint and D’Iberville.
Ole Brook coach Tucker Peavey put Friday’s game in perspective. “Wehave to win to keep on going. We have to take care ofbusiness.”
Due to rain, Peavey’s Panthers practiced in the BHS gymnasium onTuesday and Wednesday. “We would like to get outside so we canthrow (football) and catch it.”
Peavey had nothing but praise for the Patriots who are under thedirection of head coach Mario Lane. “They are real solid. They area good team.”
According to Peavey, the Patriots have several talented skillplayers. They are led by running back Jabari Baker (5-10, 205, sr.)and quarterback Isaiah James (5-11, 180, sr.) who wear jerseynumbers 3 and 10 respectively.
“Their quarterback can throw it and their running back is a goodone,” said Peavey. “They have big, good-looking receivers,too.”
Asked about the FH defense, Peavey said, “Their lineman, No. 72(Christian Ringo) looks like a real good player.” Ringo (6-2, 265,sr.) has size and quickness to rule the trenches.
Peavey’s Panthers are coming off what he described as his team’sbest overall performance of the season. His weekly Player of theWeek honors went to the whole team.
On defense, the Panthers limited McComb to 176 yards total offense,with 65 of those yards coming on the last series of the game andresulting in a last-second touchdown against BHS reserves.
Topping the BHS tackle charts was lineman Jawaun Merchant with 5solo tackles, 3 assists and a forced fumble. Chris Smith andShamonte Brooks each had 5 solo tackles and 1 assist. Kalen Calcotehad 4 solo stops and 3 assists. Jaboree Poole returned a fumble 3yards for a touchdown.
Offensively, the Panthers were paced by senior quarterback DuwoneHarris who rushed for 118 yards and passed for 96 more, completing6 of 18 passes. Ross Hill had 3 catches for 63 yards and DevonteStewart had 3catches for 33 yards plus an 83-yard kickoff returnfor a touchdown to start the game.
Senior running back Travorius Showers contributed 20 rushes for 96yards and 2 TDs in the decisive win.
BHS senior wide receiver Trent (Batman) Powell missed the game dueto a pulled hamstring. Peavey said Powell’s status for tomorrownight’s game was unknown. “We’ll see how it does by Friday.”
Panther Paws: Last year on King Field, Forest Hill beat thePanthers 16-13, scoring on the last play of the game as IsaiahJames passed 22 yards to wide receiver Shaquan Holmes, climaxing an80-yard drive in the final 64 seconds of the game. BHS running backSemmie Smith rushed for 129 yards and 2 TDs in the loss.