OLIVE BRANCH – The South Panola Tigers went to great lengths in order to retain their undefeated status with a 28-10 win over then undefeated Olive Branch.
Quarterback Derek "Smoke" Pegues outshone all players with the help of the big offensive line.
Pegues rushed for 202 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. With that great night, Pegues also had some negative moments with adverse effects.
For the first time this season, Pegues threw two interceptions. He only attempted three passes. One interception resulted in a field goal.
The Tigers (6-0 overall, 2-0 district) knew they were in for a very physical fight going into enemy territory in Desoto County. Tensions were high for both teams which had a lot on the line and something to prove.
The crowd estimated at more than 5,000 was pumped and ready. Olive Branch had a few reserved seats open, but the Tiger crowd had filled its side before the opening kickoff.
The gauntlet had been thrown. The time for talk had passed. The only talking allowed was within the boundaries of the gridiron.
Olive Branch got first dibs to settle its case with the opening kickoff and proceeded to make its way into Tiger territory.
The Tigers responded – no touchdown allowed. Olive Branch said that was okay. Kicker Ryan Hoorman was their crunch time man.
It was not to be as Hoorman missed a 44-yard field goal with 9:26 on the clock.
The Tigers responded on their first possession. One minute, 18 seconds later, South Panola put the first points on the board. Pegues scored on a 38-yard run.
He broke to the left and left all takers behind. Tiger tailback Germichael Sanford was instrumental in moving the ball into Quistor territory. On first and 10 from the Tiger 35, Sanford took the ball to the Olive Branch 40-yard line.
Pegues capped a four-play 80-yard drive with the touchdown.
Russ Belk was perfect on the night with four points after touchdown (PATs).
Tiger territory became an elusive dream for Olive Branch for the rest of the first quarter. The Quistors only saw the 50 yard line but did not actually cross it after the first possesion.
Dandy Dozen defensive lineman John Jerry stopped the Quistors next possession with an interception he returned for a touchdown.
Santarious Armstead blocked the pass and the ball was batted around for a couple of times before Jerry secured it and took it in for an 18-yard run with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
With the PAT, the Tigers had a quick 14-0 lead going into the second quarter.
The Tigers received the ball right before quarter change on their own 10 yard line. It took 16 plays for the Tigers to go 90 yards for a three yard run by Germichael Sanford. He got help going into the endzone from Jeramie Griffin who pulled him across the line. Olive Branch defenders had his legs to keep him from going forward.
With the PAT the Tigers led 21-0 with 5:16 left in the half.
On the Quistors’ possession after the Tiger touchdown, Olive Branch kept pounding away with its pass game to move the ball into Tiger territory for the first time since its first possession.
On a drive in which Olive Branch earned four first downs, they scored a 20-yard pass with 2:55 left in the half. With the Hoorman PAT, the Quistors cut into the Tiger lead 21-7.
In a new play where the Tigers spread the offense, Pegues threw long but the Quistors intercepted the ball and were on an path to score. Tiger lineman Willie Oliver came over and made a touchdown saving tackle to knock the runner out at the Tiger 19 yard line.
The Tiger defense held the Quistors to a one yard gain, but Hoorman kicked a 35-yard field goal to further cut the lead 21-10 going into halftime.
The Tiger’s first possession of the third quarter was a little rocky. Pegues was dropped behind the line for a sack on second down and seven where he lost five yards. Then on third and 12 he threw his second interception of the year.
As a credit to the defense, the Quistors had to punt the ball away.
The Tiger offense redeemed itself on the next possession. Pegues took the ball from his own 26 to his own 49. Then from the 50, he lived up to his nickname and smoked the Quistor defense as he sprinted for a 50-yard touchdown run up the right side.
The PAT gave the Tigers the final score of the night.
South Panola still had a little trouble holding onto the ball later on in the game. The Tigers fumbled and the Quistors recovered with 5:00 left in the game on their own 40 yard line.
Two plays later, Kerry Hoskins intercepted his first ball of the night, but the Tigers had to punt the possession away.
Three minutes later Hoskins was at it again with the interception at the 2:00 mark. He ran for the touchdown but it was negated on a blocking in the back penalty.
The Tigers had 480 total yards, including 459 rushing.
Germichael Sanford was the second leading rusher with 139 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown.
Other rushers include Darius Barksdale, 47 yards, 6 carries; Karreem Carr, 42 yards, 3 carriies; and Jeramie Griffin, 29 yards, 8 carries.
Justin Davis had one reception for 21 yards.
Olive Branch was held to 192 total yards, including 158 passing.