McComb escapes Ole Brook 36-26

Published 11:20 pm Saturday, September 12, 2015

DAILY LEADER / Jonathon Alford / Brookhaven defender Wesley Calcote (7) prepares to bring down McComb's quarterback Venchenza McCray (2) in the backfield.

DAILY LEADER / Jonathon Alford / Brookhaven defender Wesley Calcote (7) prepares to bring down McComb’s quarterback Venchenza McCray (2) in the backfield.

The Brookhaven Panthers entered Friday’s contest looking to capture their first win of the season. But McComb’s junior quarterback Venchenza McCray’s five touchdown strikes spoiled Ole Brook’s hopes as the Tigers escaped with a 36-26 victory over the Panthers at King Field. McCray finished the night with 263 passing yards on 13-of-22 attempts.

“We played better in spurts but we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot,” said BHS coach Tommy Clopton. “We have to protect the ball and eliminate big plays to win ball games. McComb has a very talented team, but we helped them way too much.”

In the first quarter, McComb scored its first touchdown on a 45-yard pass from McCray to Ali Henson. Carlos Medina kicked the extra point and finished 3-for-3 on the PAT attempts as the Tigers led 7-0.

DAILY LEADER / Jonathon Alford / Brookhaven's Tyriq Reese (1) escapes from a McComb tackler Lakeivion Isaac (55) in football action at King Field.

DAILY LEADER / Jonathon Alford / Brookhaven’s Tyriq Reese (1) escapes from a McComb tackler Lakeivion Isaac (55) in football action at King Field.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In the second period, the Panthers battled back and tied the game at 7-7 on Tomas Poole’s 45-yard rushing touchdown.

McComb rallied back to reclaim the lead just before halftime as McCray hooked up with Henson on a 13-yard pass to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.

In the third quarter, the Panthers jumped on the Tigers with Brookhaven’s Jeffrey Johnson leading the charge. He tackled a McComb player in the end zone for a safety to cut into the Tigers’ lead at 14-9.

On the following possession, the Panthers’ offense continued the momentum as freshman quarterback Sevante Quinn punched in a 1-yard rushing touchdown to give Ole Brook a 15-14 lead.

After another key defensive stop by Brookhaven, the Panthers’ offense marched down the field but ended up settling for a 27-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Tyler Mixon to increase BHS’ lead to 18-14.

In the final minutes of the third quarter, the Tigers rallied back to stop BHS’ momentum as McGray connected with Henson once again for a 65-yard strike as McComb took over the lead 21-18 at the end of the third quarter.

In the final frame, McComb opened up with two quick touchdown strikes by McCray to Daquan Smith on a 22-yard pass and a 60-yard pass to give the Tigers a 36-18 advantage.

The Panthers, with their backs against the wall, battled back into the action as Quinn hooked up with Garrett Smith on a 19-yard touchdown pass and Thomas Poole ran in the 2-point conversion to cut into McComb’s lead at 36-26 as the game ended.

Offensively, Poole directed the Panthers with 144 rushing yards on 26 carries.

Quinn, starting his first game as quarterback, directed the Panthers’ aerial attack, completing 8-of-21 passes for 125 yards.

Darrian Wilson was the top receiver with two catches for 37 yards. Garrett Smith had two catches for 33 yards. Jaleel Mitchell caught one pass for 46 yards.

Defensively, Wesley Calcote led Ole Brook with 12 tackles. Greg Watts had nine tackles. Jordan Blackwell finished with six tackles, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Kenneth Bellamy intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Stephen Springfield and Jeffrey Johnson had a sack each.

The Panthers (0-4) will have an open date this week to prepare for their district run against South Jones on Sept. 25 at home.