McCOMB — McComb’s offense coughed and sputtered for over 2½ quarters Friday at Doc Miller Field.
So Panthers’ coach Kris Alge made a wise decision.
The veteran coach shifted Jerry Brown into the quarterback spot to kick start his offense.
Brown came through with touchdowns on back-to-back, second-half possessions as McComb edged Blanchard Valley Conference-foe Arlington 14-0 in a Division VI, Region 22 quarterfinal. The Panthers (11-0) will move on to play Tiffin Calvert (7-4), who they beat in the season opener, in next Friday’s regional semifinals.
“We had opportunities in the first quarter and we got down to the 10, but we couldn’t punch it in,” said Alge, who is 131-41 in his 15th year. “We thought in the first half we were close to breaking one and they’d bring us down.
“So we put the ball in Brown’s hands and we started blocking a little better.”
Brown, who lines up anyplace in McComb’s offense, took over at QB on the Panthers’ third possession of the third quarter. He ran for 49 yards on the drive and threw for the other 17 as McComb, which was ranked No.2 in the AP poll, scored with 1:22 left in the period on a Brown 2-yard run.
“That gave us a little momentum,” said Alge, whose team beat Arlington 41-12 on Oct. 5.
After Arlington’s third straight three-and-out, Brown, who had 179 yards on 25 carries, went 11 yards. Cody Wilson’s 19-yard scamper set up Brown’s 29-yard TD jaunt.
“We were a little big headed in the first half I think,” said Brown, who ran for 1,134 yards during the regular season. “We beat them in the regular season. I think we learned our lesson.
“We got away with a big win, so we’ll all take it serious (before we play Calvert).”
The loss earlier in the year didn’t affect Arlington in the early going. The Red Devils came up with 2 big first-half interceptions and a stop just short of the goal line on McComb’s first interception.
“I’m happy with the effort, but not happy with the result. Our defense played their hearts out,” said Arlington coach Dick Leonard, whose team bows out of the playoffs at 7-4.
The Red Devils managed just 112 yards of total offense with Austin Rettig gaining 61 yards on 14 carries.
“Tip your hat to their defense,” Leonard said. “We didn’t have the right plan on offense. That’s something we have to work on.”
For McComb it was a chance to live another day after a sluggish playoff start.
“The kids didn’t want the season to be over and they dug down inside and kept plugging away,” Alge said.
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