Local Sports from The Courier
Saturday, November 17, 2012Division VI Regional: Brown and Wilson are McComb workhorses
It's been no secret who McComb's top two offensive play-makers have been this season.
All-purpose backs Jerry Brown and Cody Wilson have carried a large portion of the Panthers' offensive load, combining for 3,632 yards and 53 touchdowns going into Friday night's Division VI, Region 22 final versus Delphos St. John's.
One would think slowing down those two could be the key to beating McComb. No other team has been able to do it all season, but Delphos St. John's was doing just that for most of the game.
When the Blue Jays scored to make the score 21-7 with 10:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, Brown and Wilson had been held to a combined 95 rushing and receiving yards.
"Their defense was just tremendous," Brown said of St. John's. "Their defensive line is big, the linebackers all came up into the hole and tackled us running backs and we couldn't make any big plays."
Outside of Wilson's second quarter 52-yard kickoff return and 25-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the second quarter, St. John's had kept McComb from springing any huge plays.
But when the Panthers' backs were against the wall, McComb, led by Brown and Wilson, broke out. The Panthers gained 120 of their 320 total yards in the fourth quarter to ultimately pull through to a 28-21 victory.
Senior quarterback Dalton Buck found senior Brandon Ishmael down the sideline for a 28-yard connection to give the Panthers some hope.
Wilson later went up the middle to score from 1 yard and cut the St. John's lead to 21-14.
Two plays into the Blue Jays next possession, Brown picked off a Mark Boggs pass and weaved his way all the way down to the St. John's 20-yard line.
Brown and Wilson carried the ball on the final five plays of the drive as Brown went outside and dove to the pylon for the 4-yard touchdown.
Wilson was stopped from a yard-and-a-half out on the two-point conversion try, but there were still more plays to be made.
The McComb defense forced a three-and-out, setting up Brown and Wilson's heroics on the game-winning drive.
"Our defense got a couple three-and-outs and that just gave us some momentum and me Jerry and some other guys just made some plays and we just started rolling from there," Wilson said.
Out of the wildcat, Brown ran three times for 12 yards as McComb moved the ball from the Blue Jays' 44 to the 32.
But Brown, known more for his running than his throwing, started the biggest play of the night with his arm.
"That is the thing with Jerry, he was throwing well this summer," McComb head coach Kris Alge said. "He's got a great arm, but when he had three pins in his pinkie, he couldn't throw for five or six weeks.
"Gradually we have been throwing more and more. We worked really hard Wednesday with him hitting a couple of those routes that we thought we could exploit them a little bit."
In the wildcat, Brown completed a play-action fake. Wilson stopped in the middle of the field, got a Delphos St. John's defender to bite and continued his option route down the middle of the field.
"I had to get the corner to bite on the corner (route) then go for the post," Wilson said.
Brown's throw was way out in front of Wilson, but the Wilson was able to run it down and made a sensational all-out diving catch to save McComb's season.
"I coach Cody in track and he has just an unbelievable work ethic and if there was anybody that was going to go get it, he was going to go get it," Alge said about Wilson's grab.
Brown scampered outside, then reached his hand over the goal line to give the Panthers' the lead for good.
"Our lineman pushed the defensive line, and we got to the second level and the running backs blocked for me and we got into the end zone," Brown said.
Brown and Wilson, bottled up for most of the night, combined for 86 all-purpose yards over the final 11 minutes, not including Brown's 29-yard pass.
"This is amazing. My sophomore year we came up short to Delphos St. John's," Brown said. "Me and Cody Wilson played in the game and we just wanted revenge so much on Delphos St. John's. They have crazy tradition and they are a well-known team around the state of Ohio. We came ready to play, and this is amazing."
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