QBs lead BHS, West Point

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quarterbacks Duwone Harris of Brookhaven and Justin Cox of WestPoint have put up some big numbers this season. The talentedseniors have directed their teams to Saturday night’s MHSAA Class5A State championship game. Kickoff is 7 p.m. in Jackson’sMississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Harris, a powerful 6-foot, 200-pounder, has strength and somebreakaway speed. He missed 2 1/2 games due to a separated shoulderbut has been going strong since his return. The Panthers (9-4) havewon three straight playoff games against favored opponents andHarris has been a catalyst.

Harris rushed for 172 yards and passed for 165 in last Friday’s27-26 win over previously unbeaten West Jones, accounting for threetouchdowns. On the season, Harris has passed for 1,167 yards and 8touchdowns. He’s rushed for 1,467 yards and 9 TDs.

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West Point coach Chris Chambless has watched Harris and thePanthers perform on the video screen. He expressed his respect forBrookhaven.

“Brookhaven is very physical up front,” said Chambless. “They willstrike you. Duwone does a good job getting them going onoffense.”

Cox (6-1, 180) is a slender speedster who has been timed at 4.48 inthe 40-yard dash. He has made a verbal commitment to sign withMississippi State University. He is expected to play cornerbacknext year.

BHS coach Tucker Peavey said Cox has exceptional speed. “He’s avery good athlete and he’s very fast.”

Peavey said Cox was faster than Wayne County quarterback ChuckLacey.

Asked about West Point’s offense, Peavey said, “It’s an I-formationand a power running team. All of a sudden, they spread the fieldand Cox makes things happen.”

Senior running back LaKenderic Thomas (6-0, 200) also drew praisefrom Peavey. “No. 24 (Thomas) is as good a running back as we’veseen.”

Continuing his description of the Green Wave, Peavey said, “Theiroffensive line is physical. They run-block real well. They are aphysical team and you have to stop them.”

Speed is an asset on West Point’s defense. “They have speedeverywhere. The linemen attack you. They play man coverage (in thesecondary) and come get you.”

The only blemish on West Point’s record (14-1)was a last-minuteloss to Starkville.

“We will have to play the best we’ve played,” Peavey noted.”Obviously, we can do that.

“Our kids are geared up and ready to go,” he added. “Our coachingstaff has done a good job preparing the team for each game.”

BHS is the designated visiting team and the Panthers will wearwhite jerseys.

Peavey said he wants his players to enjoy the game and representtheir community well. “It’s an honor being there. I hope ouroffensive line can keep doing what they’ve been doing.”

Harris is joined in the starting offensive backfield by runningback Travorius Showers. The wide receivers are Trent Powell, RossHill, Sherrod Gray and Joel Patrick. Nick Peavey and PhillipHamilton are the tight ends.

Brook’s offensive line includes Mitch Case at center, Tameus Hookerand Tyler Collins at guard and Stone Underwood and Sam Ballard attackle. Dewey Stailey kicks and punts.

Defensive Starters

Peavey said the Panthers have shown steady improvement on defense.”We are playing well on defense and we have some good seniorleadership.”

BHS defensive coordinator Kelby Bowman said his unit needs anexceptional effort against West Point. “We are going to play soundfootball and just tackle. It will be a hard-nosed football game.They have the ability to spread it out and throw it, too.”

On defense, the ends are Jaboree Poole and Thevis Cooper. Thetackles are Chance Smith and Jawaun Merchant. Inside linebackersare Kalen Calcote and Jacoby Cooper. Outside linebackers areShamonte Brooks and Jonah Hill.

The secondary includes Greg Sims and E.J. Henderson at cornerback.The free safety is Chris Seals.

West Jones Revisited

Last week’s 27-26 South State finals win over West Jones wasn’tsecure until Hunter Estess missed a 42-yard field goal with no timeshowing on the scoreboard. Estess had missed a 47-yarder threeseconds earlier but he was given another shot when BHS waspenalized 5 yards for running into the kicker.

Cooper accounted for 6 solo stops and 1 assist against West Jones.Chance Smith had 6 tackles and 1 sack. Jawaun Merchant (4-2) had 2sacks. Calen Calcote had 4 solo stops and 1 assist.

Brook’s kicking defense was decisive as Greg Sims blocked a fieldgoal and Thevis Cooper blocked an extra point.

Stailey made the decisive extra point with 29 seconds left in thegame. He was 3-for-4 on PATs and punted for a 32-yardaverage.

Offensively, Showers followed Harris with 59 rushing yards. Hillcaught a 79 yards TD pass in the first quarter and Peavey caught a3-yard scoring pass that tied the score at 26-all.