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John Essex thumps Marengo High 38-0

DIXON MILLS &045; John Essex head coach Pierre Goode was careful how he talked to his players after Friday night’s 38-0 drubbing of county rival Marengo High School.

If that’s the case, the John Essex football team could have fit in a carton of Half-and-Half on Friday. They beat perennial power Marengo High in every aspect of the game &045;&045; beating them off the line of scrimmage, getting to the corners quicker, coming in up with more loose balls and converting third downs.

For the first quarter of the game, however, neither Goode nor Panther head coach Woodrow Campbell could figure out what would happen to their teams.

In Marengo’s first drive, the Panthers went three-and-out.

On John Essex’s first drive, the Hornets put together two impressive runs by Dorian Murphy and Jame Bryant. On the third play of that drive, though, Marengo’s Re’al Dunning picked off a Curtis Whigham pass and ended the Hornets’ drive.

Things didn’t get any better in the first quarter &045;&045; especially for John Essex. After a 32-yard run by Bryant, the Hornets looked like they would break onto the scoreboard with first down at the Panthers’ five yard line. On the next play, though, Hornets’ quarterback Whigham fumbled the snap and Marty Dunning picked up the loose ball.

On the Panthers’ next possession, driving into John Essex territory, Hornet defensive end Marcus Besteder crashed into MH quarterback Jarvis McCall and forced a fumble. Demetrius Branch picked up the loose ball and that stopped the next drive.

And if things couldn’t get any more sloppy, John Essex again drove the ball down the field to end the first quarter. Inside the Marengo High 10 yard line, Whigham again botched a snap and the Panthers’ Jermaine Tucker jumped on the loose ball to stop another threat by John Essex.

But kind of like the days when Goode played for a stuttering University of Alabama offense, the John Essex defense took over.

With just 10 seconds gone in the second quarter, MH’s McCall dropped back to pass and was hurried by Besteder. McCall tossed the ball into the air and the Hornets’ Darnell Edwards picked off the pass and sprinted 15 yards for a touchdown.

From there, the floodgates opened for John Essex. With more than nine minutes left in the first half, John Essex orchestrated a drive that started on their own 26 yard line. The Hornets’ moved the ball seven yards to their 33 yard line, and on second-and-20, Whigham hit Eryoll Robinson for a 67-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was good, putting the Hornets up 14-0.

In the second half, John Essex didn’t let up. With 5:03 left in the third, the Hornets moved the ball deep into Panther territory. On first-and-goal, Whigham handed the ball to Johnny Gracie, who fumbled the exchange. But Dorian Murphy was there to pick the ball up and stick it in the endzone, putting John Essex up 22-0 after Gracie converted the two-point conversion.

John Essex scored two more times when Bryant dashed nine yards to score with 5:16 left in the game. After another forced fumble by Besteder, Gracie rumbled four yards to put the final points on the board.

John Essex hasn’t beaten Marengo High since 1978, but Goode was quick to shun off the idea that he has helped bring a new era to the Jefferson high school.

For Marengo High, Rodderick Young led the Panthers with 10 tackles. Re’al Dunning, Jermaine Tucker and Sherman Quinney all had eight tackles.

Re’al Dunning also led the team in rushing with 38 yards on 15 carries. McCall completed four-of-nine passes for 16 yards.

Murphy led the Hornets on the ground with 103 yards rushing. Bryant had 97 yards rushing and Gracie added 57 yards on the ground. Each of them also scored a touchdown.

Besteder had six tackles and three sacks, while Demetrius Edwards had nine tackles. Edwards had seven tackles, two sacks, and he caused one interception.

John Essex will host American Christian on Friday, and Marengo High School travels to Coffeville.