Panthers clobber Natchez
Editor’s Note: The following story was by REINA KEMPT of the Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ – The Brookhaven Panthers kept their post season hopes alive after crushing the Natchez High Bulldogs 62-36 Friday night as senior running back Tre McDaniel provided a solid performance for Ole Brook with 193 yards rushing on 26 carries.
“We challenged our team to go out and take out Natchez early,” said Brookhaven coach Tommy Clopton. “They did exactly what we asked. We were the most physical team on the field, and we were able to control the ball game.
“The games get bigger and bigger every week at this time of year,” continued Clopton. “We need to keep winning to get into the playoffs.”
Turnovers and inconsistent offense were major factors for the Bulldogs (3-6, 1-4) as they turned the ball over three times, all which converted to touchdowns for Brookhaven.
Natchez head coach Lance Reed said they were focused on trying to make a playoff push, but things got out of hand. “We were trying to get ourselves back on track to give ourselves a chance to win, and tonight we didn’t do that.”
Sidney Davis made a return to the field, but his 66 yards on six catches didn’t help the Bulldogs’ cause. Earon Brown had a big night with six catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and Anthony Robinson threw 30 passes and completed 21 of them for 273 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
Natchez had the opening possession and couldn’t manage to get a first down, but a bad snap made matters worse for the Bulldogs, as the ball went over Nehemiah Ford’s head and gave Brookhaven the ball at the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line.
Ken Boyd got on the scoreboard first for the Panthers with an eight-yard run, and Jonathan Martinez’ extra-point kick gave Brookhaven a 7-0 lead with 9:17 remaining in the first quarter.
Natchez couldn’t get any offense generated as Boyd ran the show in the first quarter for the Panthers. With just less than two minutes left in the first quarter, Natchez allowed Brookhaven to convert on two fourth-down attempts before Boyd rushed 10 yards for his second touchdown, this time, the kick failed.
Matters got worse in the second quarter as the Panthers scored 28 points to Natchez’s 14.
The first touchdown came from the Panthers’ McDaniel just three plays into their drive at the 10:07 mark.
Anthony Robinson finally got Natchez on the scoreboard with a 10-yard rush of his own. Ford’s kick failed, making the score 19-6.
The next two touchdowns came from Fred Trevillion, both within two minutes.
Brookhaven recovered Kevantaye Caston’s fumble at the 30-yard line before quarterback Fred Trevillion scored on a quarterback keeper.
Natchez dug themselves in a hole when they fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give Brookhaven great field position for Trevillion to score once more to extend their lead 36-6. The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard again at the 1:50 mark when Robinson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Brown.
But the Panthers came right back when Fred Trevillion threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Javonte Trevillion.
Natchez went into the locker room down 41-14, and ended up outscoring the Panthers 22-21 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough for a comeback.
Reed said he was proud of his offense for never giving up in the second half.
“Those guys played hard to the end, they gave themselves a chance to keep moving the ball,” he said.
Brookhaven came out of the locker room swinging as McDaniel got them in the end zone first on a 30-yard rush.
The Bulldogs were plagued with turnovers as just three plays later, Kardale Clark picked off Robinson’s pass before getting brought down at the Bulldogs’ three-yard line.
Reed said Bulldogs have been struggling with controlling the ball all season, and it showed Friday. “We … made mistakes that hurt us this whole year,” Reed said. “So it’s really important that we really focus on that. We can’t win by turning the ball over and shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Jermone Kelly scored on the next play to give Brookhaven a 55-14 lead.
Natchez got their first score of the second half on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Malik Byrd, but the two-point conversion attempt failed.
The fourth quarter saw only one score from Brookhaven on a three-yard rush from Fred Trevillion. Natchez had the final two scores on a rush from Robinson and a completed two-point conversion, and a 37-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Brown. Brookhaven ran out the clock to win the game 62-36.
Reed said his players understand that they have a long way to go before they can become a competitive football team, and that will keep them motivated to end their last two games with a bang.
“As a whole, we were not a very good football team right now,” Reed said. “We understand that and we have to work to get better. That’s our focus, we have to improve in these next two games.”
The Panthers (6-3, 2-3) return home to entertain the Wingfield Falcons on King Field. The Bulldogs invade Carriere to tangle with Pearl River Central High School next Friday. Kick off is at 7 p.m.