Ole Brook wins district opener 40-24 over South Jones
South Jones running running back Xavier Roberts never stopped fighting for yards, the South Jones defense never quit hitting and quarterback Will Mitchell tried to get the ball downfield every chance he got.
The effort was there, but Brookhaven’s athleticism proved to be too much for the previously undefeated South Jones Braves 40-24 Friday night.
“Brookhaven is a very good football team, but we played hard,” said South Jones head coach Cory Reynolds. “I knew we would have to play a perfect game, and we shot ourselves in the foot too many times, and gave up way too many big plays.”
On the opening drive of the game, it seemed the Braves were on pace to improve to 6-0. The returning Ricky Boleware gashed the Panther defense all the way down the field, and finished the drive with a six-yard touchdown run.
The Ryne Sasser kick gave the Braves a 7-0 lead early.
Ole Brook had different plans for its trip to Ellisville. Two Kenneth Dixon touchdown runs and a Sevante Quinn touchdown run later, the Panthers were up 20-7 with 10:52 remaining in the first half.
“I told our guys that we know how to play when we are down,” said Reynolds. “It is nothing new, but we needed to get back in the game fast.”
Sasser tacked on a field goal for the Braves before halftime, but two stalled drives from South Jones gave the Panthers all the momentum going into the locker room.
Demarrell Leggett extended his team’s lead on the first drive of the second half with a six-yard touchdown run.
Down 27-10, the Braves finally answered with a touchdown when Mitchell and Boleware led a ground-and-pound drive inside the Panthers red zone.
Mitchell dumped a five-yard touchdown pass off to tight end Kameron Flowers and the Sasser kick left Ole Brook with a 27-17 lead.
After trading punts, Jordan Blackwell capped off an important Panther drive after hauling in a three-yard pass from Quinn to give his team a 33-17 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Braves continued to fight, and on the very next play Mitchell found Roberts in the middle of the field for a much-needed 50-yard touchdown pass.
Now only down 33-24, the Braves defense went to work, but the offense could only convert two first downs from that point.
Dixon sealed the Panther victory with 3:33 left in the game with a nine-yard run.
“It all boils down to execution,” Reynolds said. “They executed, and we failed to do so. We cannot do anything but get ready for a big game next week.”
Ole Brook head coach Tommy Clopton said there were things his team needed to continue to improve on, but added he was pleased with their effort.
“Going on the road and winning a district game is tough and I’m glad we were able to get a win. We had way too many penalties, but we are going to clean that up.”
Clopton said he was most impressed with his team’s ability to overcome the penalties.
“We didn’t throw it as much as we would like too, but we were able to control the pace with our running game, and I thought when it mattered most, we made the plays we needed to make to win the ball game,” he said.
Quinn finished the game with 69 passing yards and one score. He contributed on the ground to the tune of 130 yards and another touchdown as well.
Kenneth Dixon paced the ground attack with 126 yaards and three touchdowns, while Demarrell Leggett added 90 yards and a score.
Direyun McNair and Wesley Calcote led the defensive effort with nine tackles each. Jordan Blackwell had seven tackles and a touchdown on the night, while Deion Williams tallied six.
Disruptive nose guard Jeffery Johnson had a big night for Ole Brook also. He registered two sacks and a fumble recovery in the Panthers’ win.
Brookhaven (4-1) will host Wayne County (1-4). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.