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Petal makes plays to put BHS away

In the words of their head coach, the Brookhaven High Panthers “played their tails off” Friday night but came up on the wrong side of the score in a 35-14 loss to 6A Petal High Friday night.

Petal led 28-14 at halftime of a game that was much closer than that score suggests. In the second half the Panthers scored once in the third quarter as neither team had sustained success moving the ball over the final two quarters.

The Panthers from Forest County jumped up early as they scored on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Jackson Allen to senior receiver Jonathan Harris that out them up 7-0 just two minutes into the game.

Disaster struck for BHS on their first offensive series as they fumbled the ball deep in their territory and Petal would quickly capitalize to take a 14-0 lead.

Brookhaven High responded on the following kickoff as junior returner Javonta Stewart brought he ball out to midfield to liven up the BHS sideline.

Freshman Xavier Gayten drew the start at running back for the Panthers and it was he who took a hard shot on the opening drive and saw the ball recovered by Petal.

On the following possession Gayten again dropped the ball — this time though he scooped it up himself and rumbled 25-yards for a touchdown that put BHS on the board.

Fellow freshman Bryce Smith knocked in the PAT kick and BHS trailed 14-7 with 4:39 remaining in the first quarter.

The BHS defense fed off that energy as they held Petal to their first 3-and-out of the night on the next series.

BHS moved the ball throughout the first half as the Ole Brook offensive line was pushing around their Panther counterparts at the point of attack.

A key drive that came up empty for BHS came in the second quarter when senior defensive back Quintaye Bates snatched up a dropped punt return by Petal in their own territory.

A field goal attempt came up empty after a bobbled snap and Petal took no time in moving down the field to score a TD that put them up 21-7.

Again though, the BHS offense put together another solid drive that saw junior quarterback Dre Ross run in from 28-yads out to cut the score to 21-14 with just three minutes remaining until halftime.

That was too much time for the Petal offense though as Allen hit Harris on a 55-yard scoring pass that made the Petal lead 28-14 at the break.

There was more bad news for BHS as Ross got banged up at the end of the second quarter and he and Stewart spent the entire second half watching instead of playing.

Gayten filled in at quarterback as Brookhaven fought to keep things close late but a Petal team with more depth grinded out another score in the third quarter to cushion their lead.

“We know we’ve got some stuff that we’ve got to do better,” said Peavey. “You never want to lose, but I saw some things I really liked. We just missed some opportunities early in the game that could have had us hanging with them closer.”

Brookhaven is on the road next week at McComb High.