Panthers clip Hazlehurst Indians
Brookhaven senior linebacker Kalen Calcoteechoed the feelings of his teammates. “This game shouldn’t havebeen that close.”
Calcote and his teammates were hanging on for dear life in theclosing seconds of their game Friday night. Time ran out on theHazlehurst Indians when quarterback Kenneth Coleman was tackled atBrook’s 17-yard line. The Panthers began celebrating a narrow 7-6win over the upset-minded Indians.
After a classic but controversial goal-line stand, the Indians tookover with 1:50 left on the clock, 99 yards away from the winningtouchdown. With no timeouts available, Coleman directed the Indiansdown the field, hitting passes of 41 yards to Dedric Reese, 15yards to D’Alex Rockingham and 12 yards to Demetrius Cain for afirst down at Brook’s 25-yard line. With his receivers covered,Coleman was forced to run the last two plays and time expired.
“I want to thank our defensive line for putting pressure on thequarterback,” said Calcote. “We tightened up on defense and lockeddown.”
The Panthers (2-0) made their first home game a memorableexperience for the estimated crowd of 3,000. Tropical Storm Leepushed gusting winds across the field but just a smattering ofrain.
“I liked our big crowd,” said Calcote, “especially the studentsection.”
First-year Ole Brook head coach Wade Henderson said he realized histeam didn’t play up to their potential. “It was pretty ugly but ourdefense did a great job. They only broke once.”
That break came in the third quarter as the Indians (2-1) begandominating on offense. The Panthers managed just 57 yards and fourfirst downs on offense in the second half.
Hazlehurst drove to the BHS 2-yard line with its first possessionof the third quarter but came away empty. On their next possession,the Indians went 55 yards in five plays. Coleman hit Reese on an11-yard slant and it was 7-6 with 4:53 left in the thirdquarter.
The 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
In the fourth quarter, Jaboree Poole recovered a Coleman fumble atHazlehurst’s 6-yard line. Three plays gained just 5 yards andrunning back Justin Blue was stopped short of the goal line.
“Justin told me he had scored,” said Henderson. “I thought ouroffensive line surge had broke the plane,” of the goal line.
“We can’t take anybody for granted,” Henderson noted. “We mustcontrol what we do on the field.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Panthers took possession of anIndian punt at Hazlehurst’s 45. Quarterback Zach Smith piloted the4-play drive and Blue rumbled the final 23 yards to paydirt,dragging a tackler across the goal line.
Stephen Davey kicked the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 6:49 left in thefirst half.
Blue finished with 21 carries for 98 yards.
“Our defense played well and our offensive line played well,” saidBlue. “We have to pick up our play on offense and get better.”
First-year Hazlehurst coach Randall Montgomery praised his team’seffort against a heavily favored opponent. “Our kids gave a greateffort and they never quit. We just ran out of time.”
Montgomery reminded his players after the game that their goal isto win state, meaning the Class 3A state title. “It hurts to losebut this game will make us a better team down the road.”
The Indians host one of Brook’s Region 3-5A opponents Friday nightin the Jackson Wingfield Falcons. The Panthers continue theirhomestand and host the Class 6A Petal Panthers (1-2).