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Golden Tornadoes overpower BHS

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Brookhaven defenders Chris Calcote (48) and Willie Bates (22) tackle Laurel's running back Kenton Cooley Friday night.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Brookhaven defenders Chris Calcote (48) and Willie Bates (22) tackle Laurel’s running back Kenton Cooley Friday night.

Sophomore quarterback Keon Howard completed 15 passes on 31 attempts to collect 260 and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 86 yards on 12 carries and scored a touchdown as the Laurel Golden Tornadoes destroyed Brookhaven in the second half to claim a 31-13 victory over the Panthers in Region 3-5A action Friday night on King Field.

“This was a tough, hard fought game for both teams,” said Laurel coach Todd Breland. “Brookhaven has a very good, well coached team.

“I was very pleased with my guys’ effort in the second half, after struggling in the first half,” continued Breland. “We managed to get our offense clicking to put pressure on Brookhaven’s defense in the second half, and our defense made the plays needed to keep their offensive in check. Overall, we are really glad to start our district play off with a win in this tough region race.”

The Panthers (4-1, 0-1) came out of the gates on a mission and set the tone early with a fierce jolt on defense as Brookhaven’s Leo Lewis and Alxavier Williams plowed through Laurel’s offensive line on the opening drive of the first quarter. Lewis sacked the quarterback to force a fumble, and Williams recovered the fumble.

Brookhaven’s offense came out pumped after the great defensive effort and worked the ball down the field before stalling out in the red zone.

After a BHS turnover on downs, Laurel’s offense came back on the field and drove the ball a few yards before having to punt.

On the next play after BHS received the punt, senior Shuntez Smith broke loose from Laurel’s punt coverage and sprinted 80 yards on the punt return for the touchdown with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead. Chris Calcote was successful on one-of-two extra point kicks.

In the second quarter, Brookhaven and Laurel battled back-and-forth in a defensive heavyweight bout as both teams struggled to get their offense going. The Panthers managed to take their 7-0 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the Golden Tornadoes (5-0, 1-0) came out a changed team and overpowered the Panthers with their high-octane aerial assault.

Laurel managed to get on the scoreboard in the third quarter, when quarterback Keon Howard hooked up with Octavious Cooley for a 43-yard touchdown pass with a 8:34 remaining and the game at 7-all.

The Tornadoes took the lead over Brookhaven with 4:50 left in the third quarter as Jonathan Atencio nailed a 22-yard field goal. Atencio was a perfect four-of-four on the extra point kicks for the night.

The Panthers, refusing to give up, answered Laurel’s challenged late in the third quarter to reclaim the lead at 13-10. Brookhaven’s senior quarterback Fred Trevillion scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard run with :19 left.

In the fourth quarter, the Golden Tornadoes went on a rampage and out scored the Panthers 21-0 in the final frame.

Howard connected with Omar Bayless on Laurel’s first touchdown drive with s 53-yard catch with 11:19 remaining.

Junior running back Kobe Drummer punched in another Golden Tornadoes score on a 24-yard run with 8:35 left.

Howard put Laurel’s final points on the board for Laurel with 2:02 left on a one-yard plunge.

“We had too many missed opportunities,” said BHS coach Tommy Clopton. “In the first half, we had plenty of chances to increase our lead, but left 21 points on the field.

“In the second half, Laurel managed to capitalize on our mistakes to get the win,” stated Clopton. “Now we must put this game behind us and regroup to get ready for next week’s opponent.”

Offensively, Fred Trevillion paced the Panthers, completing 11-of-29 passes for 160 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Junior running back Ken Boyd directed Brookhaven rushing attack with 74 yards on 13 carries. Jermone Kelly contributed 68 yards on 16 rushes.

Jonathan Stepney was the top receiver for BHS with four catches for 70 yards. Smith caught four passes for 68 yards.

Omar Bayless led Laurel’s receiving corps with five receptions for 99 yards. Cooley had four catches for 96 yards.

Defensively, junior Kardel Clark and Lewis were the leaders for the Panthers with six tackles each. Billy Thomas and Ben Robinson provided five stops apiece. Detric Smith intercepted a pass and Williams recovered a fumble.

The Panthers continue Region 3-5A action next Friday. Brookhaven invades Waynesboro to battle the Wayne County War Eagles. The Golden Tornadoes visit Jackson to entertain Wingfield. Kickoff begins at 7 p.m.