Sports / Outdoors – 10/7/2005

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2005

The Panolian: SPORTS – October 7, 2005

  From the 10/07/05 issue of The Panolian     *REVISED*    


No. 1 and 2 set to clash in football showdown
     South Panola defensive coordinator Willis Wright encouraged his defense in the game against Moss Point. With the coach are (front, l to r) Rodney Diggs, Marlon Wilks; (back) Kevin Young.
By Myra Bean

The state of Mississippi is gearing up for what has been dubbed the game of the season tonight.
The No. 14 nationally ranked South Panola Tigers, No. 1 in the state, will host district foe and No. 2 state ranked Olive Branch.

Both teams enter the contest undefeated at 5-0 overall, 1-0 conference.

South Panola defeated Horn Lake 30-7 last week in the first conference game of the season, while Olive Branch downed Southaven 56-6.

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Over 10,000 people are expected at the South Panola game Friday. Right down the road North Delta will be having its homecoming. North Panola played last night, so a large concentration of people will invade Batesville for this showdown.

The last time a crowd this big was expected at a game was the 1998 matchup between South Panola and Moss Point. Before the new additions were made to the South Panola stadium, over 10,000 people were packed to watch that clash of the Tigers.

Olive Branch had a good season last year (10-2) that ended in the first round of playoffs with a 17-14 defeat at the hands of Clinton.

The Conquistadors are on a run. So far the seasons of both teams mimic last year’s at this time.

Both teams were 5-0 coming into this game. Olive Branch’s defense was one of the best that South Panola was slated to meet.

The Conquistador defense was tough and held South Panola to its lowest score of the season at that time. The Tiger’s defense was even better and handed Olive Branch its only loss of the regular season 28-10.

Neither team has forgotten they will have to leave it all on the field tonight.

Though Olive Branch has been talking it up on the radio and to anyone who would listen, South Panola’s head football coach has had his hands full keeping his team focused on the game of the week.
"This is just a regular game to us," Woods said. "It is no surprise to us that they are really good. We have a routine and we follow it."

The only weakness Woods jokingly said he has noticed and can be exploited is that the waterboy was on crutches and a little slow getting the water to the team.

"Yes, this is a big game but we have been in big games before," Woods said. "It’s midseason and we are looking forward to playing them."

Since Woods came on board in 2002, South Panola has been in big games and lost only one: the 2002 state championship to Wayne County.

There has been no rematch between the two teams as Wayne County dropped the next year to 4A and has remained there.

Wayne County (5-0) is No. 1 in Class 4A in this week’s Associated Press Polls and No. 3 in The Clarion Ledger Super 10 poll.

Olive Branch has overwhelmingly demolished its first five opponents this year 317-18. The first four were non-conference opponents from Memphis, Memphis Kingsbury, Shelby Brado Street, Memphis Northside and Memphis Treadwell.

South Panola has faced Oak Grove and Ocean Springs in the last two state championships and had big fights on its hands with those two teams.

As Woods said in the preseason, Region 1-5A is probably one of the toughest regions in the state in which to play.

In the AP and The Clarion Ledger Super 10 Polls, South Panola is No. 1, Olive Branch is No. 2 and Starkville, No. 4.

In The Clarion Ledger poll in 5A, the three teams are one, two and three, respectively.

Tupelo dropped out of the Top 10 in the AP Polls after a 24-13 loss to Columbus Friday.

One other 1-5A game last week was Starkville defeated Grenada 24-17.

South Panola officials only made change in ticket sales procedures.

The ticket booth will open up as close to 5:30 p.m. as possible, according to South Panola High School principal Dr. Gearl Loden.

Reserve and general admission tickets will be available at the booth.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Friday, October 7
North Delta High football team will host Lee, Ark. in its homecoming game at 7:30 p.m.
South Panola High football team will host Olive Branch at 7 p.m.
Saturday,  October 8
South Panola High School Band will participate in the MHSAA Marching Band Contest at Grenada High School at 4:30 p.m.
Monday, October 10
Batesville Jr. High School football will play in Clarksdale at 5:30 p.m.
South Panola High School B-team and ninth grade football will host Olive Branch at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 11
Pope Jr. High football will host Calhoun City at 5 p.m.
Thursday, October 13
North Delta Jr. High School football will host Indianola at 7 p.m. Seventh and eighth grade play at 6 p.m.   
Como Middle School football will host Coldwater in the final home game of the season at 5:30 p.m.
Batesville Jr. High School football will host Clarksdale at 5 p.m.
Saturday, October 15
South Panola High School will host a baseball clinic from 9 a.m. to noon. Children ages 7 to 12 are eligible to attend. The clinic will be held at American Legion Park. Cost is $25 and registration will be held the day of the clinic. In case of bad weather, the clinic will be held in the indoor practice facility behind the high school (up the hill from the practice football field.)
     For more information, contact head baseball coach Patrick Robey at 934-2104.
ND to celebrate homecoming ?Rockin’ With The Wave’
By Angie Ledbetter

The North Delta Green Wave football team will try and rock the stadium and the fans tonight when it hosts the undefeated Lee Academy Cougars from Marianna, Ark. for Homecoming 2005.

It will be a night when many alumni will return to the campus to see other friends, families, and see teachers that they haven’t seen in a long time.

The crowd will be there to see a great football game and who will be crowned Homecoming Queen 2005.

The theme for this year’s homecoming is "Rockin’ With The Wave" and they want to rock Cougars to put an end to their undefeated season.

Last year, when the Green Wave traveled to Marianna both teams were undefeated. The Green Wave won the battle and spoiled the Cougars’ undefeated season.

Tonight, the Green Wave will be looking to spoil that undefeated season again that the Cougars have. But you can count on it, the Cougars will be looking for a great way to repay the Green Wave for what they did to their season last year. It will be a battle tonight again and the Cougars would love nothing better than to go home with that undefeated season still under their belts.

The Green Wave will come into this game with a record of 5-2 overall and 2-1 district. Indianola Academy and Lee Academy from Clarksdale are tied for first place in the district with a 3-0 record and the Green Wave are next in line with only one loss in the district.

Kirk Academy has a district record of 2-2, Carroll has a 1-2 record, Bayou has a 1-3 record and Marshall is in last place with no district wins.

The District 1-A Lee Academy Cougars come into this game with a 7-0 overall record and 4-0 in the district. They have scored 276 points in seven games and only allowed 71 points by their opponents.

They have shut out three of their opponents this year. Their roster consists of 28 players with 11 of them being seniors, seven juniors, and 10 sophomores. They are under the leadership of head coach John Holcombe. The assistant coaches are Dee Burke, Brett Bullard, and Rusty Crump.

The Cougars will be led by quarterback Landon Bullard. He is a senior weighing in at 210 pounds.

"The Bullard kid has been a starter since he was in the tenth grade and now he is a senior," said Johnston. "We were at some senior camps this past summer and he really had a good showing. He has a rifle for an arm and he is a stocky kid, so he is hard to bring down. We are going to have to wrap up and do a really good job of containing him. We are going to have to get our hands up in his face and try not to let him have a passing lane. He is every bit of that 210 pounds, and he is a strong kid."

The running back will be senior Matthew Gerrard, who weighs 165 pounds. Other key players to watch will be Adam Crump, Taylor Clark, Charlie Ballard, and Jonathon Higgins. The kicker will be senior Tyler Clarkson.

"Homecoming is a big deal around here," said Johnston. "Seems like that it gets bigger every year. It gives the kids a good week and we are going to encourage them to have a good time, but come Friday, we are going to play football.

"We expect that their mind will be just on football," Johnson continued. "This week we are going to prepare for a good Lee Marianna team. They are undefeated and they were runner up last year in the state. They have tremendous skill people."

They have added a couple of linemen, according to Johnston, and this is those linemen’s first year. Johnston said they are real good players.

"They have got the total package over there," Johnston added. "We are going to have our hands full. They are going to spread us out and run a line of one back sets and throw the football. We are going to have to play much better than we did this past Friday night."

Homecoming festivities will be held in the school gym today. Thirteen senior football players and five senior cheerleaders will also be honored.

The homecoming court will be introduced at halftime tonight and the 2005 homecoming queen will be crowned by Headmaster Herman Coates and Anna Aldridge, the 2004 homecoming queen.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on FM 106.9 with Mickey Aldridge and Kirk Willingham.

Teams need your support
By Myra Bean

Just a note about tonight’s South Panola game with Olive Branch.

Batesville has always been gracious hosts and I hope in the midst of emotional competition we remember that.

The teams have come to rely on the support of the community as they continue the hard job they do each week.

Everybody but No. 1 wants the No. 1 team to fall. I hope that is not true of this community, despite some rumors I have heard.

It’s one thing to be a fair weather fan but another to live, teach and go to school here and down the team.

After hearing all the talk that has been going on up in Yankee territory (Desoto), it’s hard to show sportsmanship. But the team didn’t get as far as it has by losing its cool at every gesture or hot air blown its way.

Even though the school has laid claim to two consecutive state championship trophies, this is a different team this year with some of the same players from the last two years.

This year’s seniors want to prove they can do it to on their watch. They need the support to keep on working hard for that glory.

Fans need to pack South Panola stadium with hometown folks. Even go buy out the visitor side and show the Tigers that Batesville supports its own.



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