Sports / Outdoors – 10/15/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 15, 2004

Panolian Sports Headlines: October 15, 2004

For complete stories,
pick up the 10/15/04  issue of The Panolian

Pope Cheerleaders
The Pope Jr. High Cheerleaders recently competed at the Mid South Fair Cheer Competition. They competed against nationally ranked squads and earned second place. They received $500 to go towards their next cheer competition as well as a trophy.

The cheerleaders are: Joy Boyette, Haley Crawford, Karlee Darby, Allie Dungan, Jessica Durham, Alli Estridge, Hannah Jacobs, Paige Jordan, Carolyn O’Conner, Amber Patton, Olivia Vick, and Mary Wilson.

USA Today Ranks Tigers 16
By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

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BATESVILLE – The Tigers continue to move up in the national poll rankings.

In the USA Today poll released Tuesday, the Tigers moved to No. 16 in the nation, a five ranking jump.

The Tigers hope to keep their 22-game win streak going with a defeat of Tupelo tonight.

After starting back over in 2002, the Tigers have amassed a 36-1 record under head coach Ricky Woods. Woods recorded his 166th win with the 24-0 shutout of Columbus last Friday night.

The game between Tupelo and South Panola can become an emotionally-charged rivalry as has been the case in the past.

Some of that rivalry has cooled as South Panola handed Tupelo a 61-17 loss last year.

Tupelo is beginning to step back up slowly in the district. So far they are ranked No. 4 in 1-5A.

Tupelo has not blown out anybody this year but has nipped at the feet of the teams they have played and come up with the wins.

The lone district loss was at the hands of Columbus Sept. 24.

The other loss was from non-conference foe Oxford, Sept. 3.

Last week, Tupelo edged out Southaven 10-7.

South Panola is taking one game at a time and sending opponents packing with a loss. Led by Dandy Dozen and All-American quarterback Derek Peuges, the Tigers head into the last four games the only undefeated team left in 1-5A following Olive Branch’s defeat of West Point last week.

With 65 yards rushing tonight, Pegues can go over the 1,000-yard mark. He also has 11 touchdowns to his credit.

Tiger running back Germichael Sanford has 714 yards this season. He needs 286 yards to go over the 1,000 mark. With a week like last week, he will be close. Last week Sanford rushed for 224 yards.

Kickoff for the matchup is 7 p.m.

Directions: Take Highway 6 East through Oxford. Stay on Highway 6 and take a right to go to Pontotoc. Go to the 4-way stop and take a left. At the first traffic light, take a right onto highway 15. Watch the signs. Keep on this road until get into Tupelo. The first big light in Tupelo is at Cliff Gookin. Take a right. The school is on the right about a mile down the road.

Cougars to Play Last Home Game
By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

SARDIS – Completing passes to the Cougar receivers is a major concern of head coach Demetrius Hill.

Three of the four scores Cleveland East Side made last week against the North Panola Cougars (2-5 overall, 2-2 district) were interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Though Hill acknowledged the weather conditions had some effect on the mental state of the players, he is not accepting that as an excuse for substandard play.

"We have to play in all kinds of weather," Hill said. "We have to play hard regardless of the circumstances.

Hill was especially proud of the defense, which only gave up one touchdown Friday night. He said he is definitely seeing improvement in that area.

"We are a much better team than the team we showcased Friday night," Hill said.

There is no room for rest as the Cougars will host Cleveland (2-5 overall, 0-3 district) in a district game.

Hill expects a difficult matchup with Cleveland.

"This will be a tough game for us," he said. "They are a pretty sound team. We just have to come out and play."

Hill reiterated the team just have to come out and do what they have practiced to do to have a good game and win.

Cleveland lost in the 3A state championship last year and has not been able to recapture any of the 12-3 glory season last year.

This is the Cougars’ final home game of the regular season and the seniors will be honored.

Season’s First
Mitch Russell, 12, took this doe with his bow while hunting with his dad Allen. This is Mitch’s first deer with a bow.
Sunday Oct. 3, 2004, at 8:30 a.m. William Wilbourn killed a 10 point buck with a 20 inch inside spread. He took this buck with a 10-yard shot from a compound bow on Ballentine Rd. West past Rock Hill Church.

Highly Anticipated Indianola Comes to Town
The North Delta weapons of (l to r) Forrest Wilbanks, Dustin Maples and Dakota Mabry will be in play against Indianola tonight.

With every talk of anticipation for tonight’s game, there is a glint of curiosity. Will the Green Wave remain undefeated after a district showdown with the 7-1 Indianola Colonels in the biggest game in 2A action tonight?

The Colonels come to Green Wave field tonight with a district record of 3-0 and so do the Green Wave team.

This game continues the trip down the division road and will culminate with the next couple of games. The stakes are high for the Green Wave team.

Against the opposing teams, the Green Wave has been the beneficiary of its own hard work and preparation. Thus far, the direction of the team has gone forward each week. That forward motion will be necessary against the Indianola talent.

Green Wave head coach Rick Johnston has been cautious about sounding overconfident about the team every week. But even when he mentions his team’s mistakes, he’ll toss out the line, "I am very proud of them. They have worked very hard as a team to get here."

Johnston believes in the team. He knows this team is different from last year’s team.
The Green Wave team has rushed the ball 340 times for 2,853 yards in eight games. They are led by Dustin Maples. In eight games, he has rushed for 938 yards on 83 carries with 17 touchdowns.

Adam Goodwin has rushed 56 times for 591 yards. Hunter Coy has rushed 51 times for 400 yards. Forrest Wilbanks has rushed for 57 times for 309 yards.

The Green Wave defense has also been a key to the success. Leading the defense are Brandon Ciaramitaro, Coy Bland, Hal West, Scott Ross, Clint Egbert, Patrick Ellis, Harrison Nickle, Jacob Gurley and Cody Hallmark.

The backup team has carried its own load. The players have come in for most of the games and played just as hard as the first team.

Some backup players include Evan West, Nick Douglas, Dakota Mabry, Jon Ware, Jim Beard, and Andrew Dinetelman.

The Green Wave are No. 1 in the Academy AA District 1 and they are ranked No. 3 in the Clarion-Ledger AA poll. Simpson and Oak Forrest are ranked above them.

Johnston said Indianola feels good about its chance tonight and so do the Green Waves.

"Indianola has got some really good skilled people and they run the football hard," said Johnston. "This group this week are going to crowd the line of scrimmage and they play what I call a down hill defense. They come at you on every play. That is a good and bad thing. If you can get those people blocked at the point of attack, get pass that first wave, then you have got a chance to have a lot of success."

Johnston said Indianola has a good football team.
"They have only lost one time and that was to Washington, which was ranked in the top five in 3A at the time. Seeing that game on film, we see they are the most physical football team we will face," said Johnston.

According to Johnston, Indianola running back James Michael Dill runs the football harder or as hard as any back they have faced all year long and he has real good speed.

"The quarterback makes real good decisions," Johnston said. "He is the one who kind of holds it all together for them.

"It should be a real good football game," Johnston continued. "We have to have a better effort in the first half than we did this past Friday night, if we are going to be successful. It is a big game and we are preparing. Hopefully, we can play a mistake free football game and see what happens."

By tonight’s 7:30 kickoff, there will begin to be a reckoning. The Green Wave football team will be tested and will find out exactly where they are as a football team.

Indianola is expected to bring many pep buses. There may only be standing room for tonight’s crowd.

"We are going to need a big crowd out here tonight," Johnston said. "Hopefully, we will get that done."

The pep rally for the team is at 2:30 p.m. Tune in for the pregame show with Johnston and Mickey Aldridge at 7 p.m. on FM 106.9.

Congrats, Coach on 200th Win

Two hundred is commonly referred to as a "bunch" down here in God’s country. And that’s just what our own Northwest Ranger Football Head Coach Bobby Franklin did Thursday night. An even 200 wins at Northwest including two National Championships. Just as football in the south – it doesn’t get any better than that. Now we get to start on the next two hundred. Thanks for everything Coach.

As good as that is, I was sure disappointed in the quality of the game at Tennessee when Auburn came and took them to serious school last weekend. I could really care less who wins one but I always pray and hope for a good close game. My sister’s husband was in the LSU at Georgia game and it was about the same.

We have some serious players in the SEC but it seems we have more teams in rebuilding 101 class this season. It’s not a big thing because most will be back to being serious players in a few years. Just part of the process of being the best.

This week’s award for the biggest idiot and just plain stupid goes to Ricky Williams. I saw where he has changed his mind and now decided he wants to play football.

I don’t think anyone has actually seen him; it was probably heard mixed in with the squealing his agent was doing from the lack of income. Then again, the more than a few million dollars he owes Miami for leaving them high and dry might have had something to do with it.

Did I say "high"?

That’s it: he might be running low on smoke and what brain cells haven’t been refried told him he would need more cash to pay for his problems. I don’t know what his reasoning is for coming out of retirement after only a couple of months but any team that picks him up is absolutely crazy.

How would you know he’s not going to bolt to Jakarta, Indonesia again a few weeks before the season? Sort of like crying, "wolf".

Personally, I think he should he horsewhipped. Someone with the kind of skills he has but fails drug tests because he can’t give up the smoke. He could be set for life. A young man getting paid tons of money to play a game.

Then he has also lost forever the chance to perform one of the greatest side jobs of being a pro athlete, which is a role model. Influencing young fans and players to do what?

Smoke dope and not give a rat’s behind about responsibilities? That’s worse than a quitter in my book. Even if someone did take him on he’d maybe do well for a while but he’d blow it because he won’t quit the herb. Why do you think they call it dope?

The Houston – Southern game last Thursday night had an interesting play where a player caught a kick in the end zone and started to run it out but then thought better of it and stopped right at the goal line. On Sportscenter, where I saw it, the commentators were positive it should have been a safety because he stepped on the goal line.

Let me ?splain how it works on bringing the ball out of the end zone. I held a pre-game class before a game a few weeks ago on this very subject with all the Jefferson Pilot play-by-play people or the Dave, Dave and Dave show as I call them.

First, if he had gotten the ball out of the end zone completely and stopped, he could have been tackled and downed on the one-foot line leaving Houston with ninety-nine and two thirds yards to go. If he had taken the ball completely out of the end zone and then realized the error of his ways, went back and kneeled down in the end zone, it would have been a safety.

The key to it all is where the ball is. Simple stepping on the goal line didn’t mean he was guilty of anything except maybe not thinking. The ball would have to be taken completely out of the end zone and then brought back in to have a safety. Stepping on the line or partially taking the ball across the goal line doesn’t matter. It’s just a touchback.

It works the same way with a running play when the offense is backed up to its goal line. Suppose a quarterback is trying to throw a pass out of the end zone and gets trapped.

He tries to get out of the end zone and is downed with the ball lying across the goal line. Ruling: no safety. But here’s where you have to have an Umpire with skills.

He should pick up the ball after the play and get it up away from the ground and then spot it for the next play about a ball-length in front of the goal line. It just keeps the uneducated who don’t read this piece every week from thinking it should have been a safety and the striped shirts cheated their team.

It’s the same if a player is running toward the goal line trying to score and is tackled at the 2-inch line. We always spot the ball a ball’s-length away from the goal line. Just eliminates confusion before it starts.

Get out and see some football. I know we should have had at least twice the crowd that was there for Coach Franklin’s 200th win at Northwest. Shame on those who weren’t there. Ought to be some way to cut off their TV for a week. See you next week.