BY MYRA BEAN
BATESVILLE – The picture in Region 1-5A is becoming clearer as district games began last Friday, September 27.
Only three teams remain undefeated in this northern division: Olive Branch, South Panola and Starkville.
Olive Branch, under new head coach Jamie Mitchell, and South Panola will meet up Friday, October 4, on the Olive Branch campus.
Olive Branch has racked up some impressive numbers, as this much improved team is now on a rampage.
For the season, Olive Branch has defeated Cleveland 35-7; Memphis Northside 41-6, Memphis Wooddale 42-12, and Memphis Millington 36-0.
Olive Branch got its mettle tested with district opponent Southaven, but stood strong on the way to a 14-7 upset over the Chargers. In 1999 Olive Branch shutout Southaven 26-0.
The past two years Southaven has shown marked improvement and was 4-0 going into last week’s game against Olive Branch.
In 2000 Southaven won that matchup 21-6. In 2001 Southaven came out on top 34-7. In 2001 South Panola defeated Olive Branch 28-6 on a very cold, rainy night.
South Panola enters tonight’s game riding high on a 5-0 record, after defeating district opponent Horn Lake 41-24.
With the stunning news Olive Branch defeated Southaven, this team has finally gotten the message across that the Conquistadors are no longer a pushover team.
Southaven tagged South Panola in 2001 with a 28-14 loss. In 2000 Olive Branch took a one point decision from the Tigers 17-16.
Though at one point South Panola could count on this game with Olive Branch being a shoe-in district win, those days seem to be long over.
The South Panola team is displaying a multi-dimensional team which can attack the endzone from many areas.
In four of the five games played, South Panola has scored on its special teams: kickoff return, extra points and field goal. These areas are responsible for 26 of the the Tigers 122 points this season.
Each of the Tigers’ assistant coaches works with an area of the special teams. This move by head coach Ricky Woods could possibly be the reason Moss Point and Clarksdale were defeated by the Tigers this year.
Also, playing a part in this game will be the condition of the field. Hurricane Lilli is expected to drop some rain, but the field will not have had enough time to dry.
This battle of the undefeated teams is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.