Panthers’ INT spoils McComb late drive

Published 1:13 pm Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Brookhaven Panthers managed to turn the tables and get some payback on their ancient rival, the McComb Tigers. The Panthers’ defense stepped up and denied McComb’s fourth quarter rally to preserve a 26-19 triumph over the Tigers Friday night at King Field.

Brookhaven (4-0) wasn’t assured of the victory until junior defensive back Ben Robinson intercepted a pass from McComb’s quarterback Alex Woodall at the Panthers’ five-yard line with one-minute left in the fourth quarter.

“Heck-of-a game,” said BHS coach Tommy Clopton. “Both teams battled until the very end. I was very pleased with my guys’ efforts. They fought hard and found the way to get the win.

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“Overall, it was a total team victory,” continued Clopton. “Now, we’re getting a much needed break to nurse our injuries and get prepared for a tough district schedule.”

McComb and Brookhaven fans gathered to witness another tough battle in this longstanding rivalry. The Tigers (2-2) came out and quickly set the tone in the first quarter, when Woodall hooked up with senior wide receiver Trivillian Williams on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 9:19 remaining. Shawn Speight was successful on two extra point kicks.

The Panthers answered the Tigers’ challenge with a touchdown as junior running back Jermone Kelly rumbled six-yards to paydirt with 6:05 left. Chris Calcote was two-of-four on the extra points for the night.

The Tigers managed to reclaim a slim lead before the end of the first quarter, when Brookhaven was forced to give up a safety with 0:38 remaining on a bad snap to the punter.

In the second quarter, McComb increased their lead to 12-7 at the 9:03 mark after Speights nailed a 32-yard field goal.

The Panthers came roaring back as they hammered McComb with 12 unanswered points to take the lead before halftime. Kelly led the charge with a nine-yard scramble with 5:07 remaining.

Brookhaven’s final touchdown came when Ken Boyd broke free from McComb’s defense and sprinted 76 yards to paydirt with 1:18 left. The Panthers led 19-12 at the break.

In the second half, both schools continued their tough physical battle. Brookhaven scored its final touchdown of the game in the third quarter on a 32-yard pass from Fred Trevillion to Javontae Trevillion with 9:30 left. After three quarters of action, BHS led 26-12.

In the fourth quarter, McComb refused to give up and charged back into the bout on a one-yard run by Woodall with 8:23 remaining.

Throughout the rest of the fourth quarter, the Panthers and Tigers battled back-and-forth in the seesaw contest as Brookhaven held a firm grip on a seven-point lead.

“We fought hard for four quarters,” said McComb coach Malcolm Jones. “We had a chances to win the game, but the ball did not bounce in our favor. Brookhaven made the big plays needed to get the victory. Overall, I was extremely proud of the guys’ effort of not giving up and fighting until the very end.”

Offensively, Fred Trevillion paced the Panthers’ aerial attack, completing six of 13 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown.

Boyd led BHS’s rushing game with 13 carries for 132 yards. Kelly contributed 19 carries for 125 yards.

Javontae Trevillion led all Panther receivers with three catches for 100 yards.

Woodall was the offensive leader for the Tigers. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 145 yards, one touchdown and two interception. He also rushed for 89 yards on 15 carries.

Williams was the top receiver for McComb with five receptions for 61 yards.

Defensively, Kardel Clark directed the Panthers with 10 tackles. Detric Smith and Leo Lewis provided six stops each. Ty Hill and Robinson helped with five tackles apiece. Calcote recovered a fumble, and Robinson had a interception.

Brookhaven has an open date next Friday. The Panthers will return in two weeks to host Region 5A foe, the Laurel Golden Tornadoes. McComb visits Tylertown next week to battle the Chiefs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.