| Tigers start playoff season undefeated
| By Myra Bean
The regular season is officially over for the public schools and the playoff season will be in full swing tonight when 1A and 5A division teams join the fray.
South Panola finished its fourth consecutive undefeated season last week with a 27-10 win over tough district foe Grenada. The win extended the Tiger win streak to 41 games and 55 out of 56 wins.
In the national polls, South Panola moved up in the two polls The Panolian has been tracking. The Tigers moved up to No. 4 this week in the National "Tony" Poll, receiving two first place votes.
In the USA Today Super 25 Prep Poll, the Tigers moved up to the No. 10 spot after then No. 4 Joliet, Ill. lost in the playoffs and dropped to No. 25.
The Tigers will host the Vicksburg Gators (7-4, 4-3) tonight in the first round of the playoffs.
Tickets for the playoff games are $7 and will be available at the high school from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the ticket booth beginning at 6 p.m.
Vicksburg upset Warren Central with a 10-0 win last week for that coveted fourth spot in 2-5A bracket. This was the first time Vicksburg has ever beaten Warren Central on the Vikings’ home turf.
In The Vicksburg Post, running back Delmon Robinson, who led all rushers with 121 yards on 13 carries, said "Coach (Alonzo Stevens) had been preaching all week that if we could come out and get behind the big guys, we would have success."
Chavous McWhorter ran for 119 yards on 23 carries for the Gators against the Vikings.
According to South Panola defensive end/wide receiver coach Trenell Edwards, Vicksburg’s offensive line comes in average 300 pounds of weight and standing over 6’0" tall. This will be one of the biggest offensive lines the Tigers have faced this year.
Against Warren Central, Vicksburg only passed the ball three times. The rest of the time, the Gators used the ground game to get the job done.
Last week Grenada came to South Panola with an air game which tested the Tiger secondary all night long. Edwards said the secondary played "pretty good."
"The Grenada quarterback had a quick release so it was hard to sit back in the zone," Edwards said. "We won’t just sit back and let everybody do that."
South Panola has one of the best, if not the best, defenses in the state of Mississippi and the run defense is its strong point.
Of its 11 opponents, South Panola has only allowed 113 first downs, 112 points and 1,922 yards of total offense, 887 rushing and 1,028 passing.
The Tigers have intercepted a combined 16 passes and recovered eight fumbles this season with Darius "Tigg" Barksdale with five interceptions and Kerry Hoskins with four interceptions. Justin Harris leads in sacks with seven and a half.
Jarred Draper leads with causing fumbles, two.
Leading tacklers with solo and assists include Chris Strong, 60; Justin Harris, 49; Tarus Young, 43; Marlon Wilks, 41; Kevin Young, 39; Rodney Diggs, 35; Karreem "Moody" Carr, 31; Teddy Flowers, 27; and Barksdale, 24.
With his 157 yards, Rickey Sanford has amassed 1,221 yards for the season with 18 touchdowns, followed by Jeramie Griffin with 964 rushing yards, 255 receiving yards and 11 rushing and receiving touchdowns; and Leroy Diggs, 822 yards with seven touchdowns.
Wide receiver Rodney Gray has 372 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Coming into the games in relief, sophomore Justin Market has 267 yards, followed by sophomore Mario Nash with 182.
The winner of this game will play the winner of the Northwest Rankin/Columbus game on Friday, November 25.
If South Panola and Northwest Rankin are opponents, the game will be played in Batesville. If Columbus wins, South Panola will have to travel to Columbus.
In other north 5A playoff action tonight, Starkville is at Madison Central and Warren Central is at Olive Branch. In the south 5A division, Gulfport is at Oak Grove, Brandon at Ocean Springs, Hattiesburg at George County and Moss Point at Meridian.
Some highlighted 4A action includes Noxubee County at West Point, Clarksdale at Pearl, Oxford at New Albany, Picayune at Wayne County.
In 3A action, Cleveland East Side is at Ripley; Senatobia is hosting Nettleton and Charleston is at Holly Springs.
In academy action, Simpson will play at Lee Academy in Clarksdale.
All of last year’s state champions are still in action except 4A champion Brookhaven. Mize, last year’s 1A champ, moved to 2A but is still in the playoffs.
Kickoff for all playoff games is 7 p.m.
| SP earns over $100,000 in football gate receipts
| 1/3 came from OB game
| By Rupert Howell
South Panola High School football has generated $107,857 through the Starkville game of November 8 according to figures presented to the school district’s board of trustees last Tuesday.
The game drawing the largest gate was against Olive Branch with the district collecting $35,526 for that game where the number one ranked Tigers hosted the number two ranked Conquistadors, a matchup that may be repeated in the playoffs.
The individual game totals do not include the figure of $19,173 for season tickets purchased by Tiger fans prior to the season opener.
The match against Clarksdale brought in $14,263, followed closely by Tupelo which brought in $13,336.
Carver High School of Memphis netted $10,046 in gate receipts and the Starkville game’s receipts were $9,649.
Two Junior Varsity games’ ticket sales totaled $2,469 and the pre-season jamboree drew $3,395 at the gate.
Cost of the guys in stripes through the November 4 game with Starkville and including Junior Varsity games was $2,605.
School superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer explained that the figures don’t truly reflect the number of people at games.
He gave an example of last week’s game against Grenada and estimated that there were approximately 500 band members between the two schools and as many as 100 volunteers helping assisting with the bands’ performances.
Game officials who are not working the games also have passes as well as school employees and school officials and coaches from other schools sometimes have game passes.
Although play-off games add to the schools coffers, teams participating get only a percentage of the gate, whether they are visitor or host.
During the regular season all gate receipts go to the host school unless other arrangements have been made.
School trustees were told that occasionally some travel costs would be paid to non-conference teams who travel a great distance to play South Panola. No teams were paid travel cost this season.
| Big Buck Contest is on
| By Myra Bean
The Panolian and Batesville Pawn Shop have kicked off the 2005 version of the Big Buck Contest as of last Saturday, November 12.
For the hunter who bagged the big one, unexpected or not, take your kill by Batesville Pawn Shop Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for official registration, weighing and a photo.
Doyle Pearson’s crew is ready with camera, measuring tape and clipboard to kick off the 2005 season with a bang.
Just remember a whole lot of people are invited to join in the contest. We accept deer killed only in Mississippi, no matter how close to the Tennesee, Alabama, Arkansas or coast lines.
Now, the confusing part for some people is who is eligible to participate. Residents of Panola and any county touching Panola who are of legal hunting age, whatever the state deems legal, is eligible to enter the contest.
Those counties include Tate, Tunica, Lafayette, Yalobusha, Tallahatchie and Quitman.
Employees of The Panolian and Batesville Pawn Shop and their immediate families are not eligible to enter the contest. Their photos and official measurements can be taken but they cannot win.
The youth have already seen some action during the youth hunt weekend last week. Photos are on page C3 of local youth who used some skill and bagged some venison.
Also see humorous columnist Robert Neill’s take on why southern men hunt and his possible new cell phone on-the-spot advice business he may start on page C10.
With the cold weather on tap, hunters are more anxious than ever to get out, according to Panolian writer Billy Davis.
"The cold weather only strengthens my faith that there is a loving God above us," Davis said.
Davis is an avid hunter and will be out hunting with his wife, Shannon, who got her license this fall and will hunt for the first time.
For more information on the Big Buck Contest, contact Batesville Pawn Shop at 563-2224 or The Panolian 563-4591 ext. 19.
| Southern Arkansas University placed eight players on the All-Gulf South Conference football team, four on the First Team, and four on the Second Team including defensive lineman Chris Herring of Batesville for first team defense.
| Green Waves start basketball season
with 3-0 record
| By Myra Bean
For more years than most can remember, the North Delta basketball boys have put together a 3-0 start following back-to-back wins over Faith Christian and Tunica Institute of Learning (TIL).
Saturday, the Green Waves won 47-40.
The junior high Green Waves won 34-27 which was their first win in a year.
Against TIL the Green Waves won 52-34.
Head coach Brad Wilson is in his first season as head coach of the Green Waves, replacing John Wadsworth who moved to Alabama.
He has experienced some championship competition at the 1A Central Delta Academy in the past two years. He coached his basketball team to two district championships and last year won championships in football and track. He was the head coach of all the previously mentioned junior high sports.
In the game with Faith Christian, Dakota Mabry was the leading scorer with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Jacob Gurley had 10 points. Evan West had eight points and four steals. Brandon White chipped in seven points but had 17 rebounds to lead the Green Waves.
Nathanael Abernethy was also a powerhouse on the boards with nine rebounds and four points. Austin Boling garnered five points for the Green Waves and a huge eight rebounds.
"Half our points came off rebounds," Wilson said.
The Green Waves jumped out to a 16-3 lead in the first quarter. Faith Christian was a little bit steadier in the next two quarters to close the gap. Faith Christian outscored North Delta 17-10 in the second quarter, but the Green Waves still led 26-20 at halftime.
At the end of the third quarter, North Delta maintained a 32-29 lead as Faith Christian tried to get closer in the fourth. North Delta kept up its pace to outscore Faith Christian 15-11 in the fourth quarter for the win.
"They (Faith Christian) started to press and we got out of sync," Wilson said. "They got back in the game but we held on to win."
Against TIL the Green Waves controlled the whole game and TIL never got within 11 points following the initial scoring.
Everybody got to play, according to Wilson.
"The first two games, they did not get in much," he said.
Gurley came in with a one-two punch scoring 18 points which included four three-pointers and eight assists.
Mabry had 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks.
Other scorers include Abernethy, 6 points, 7 rebounds; White, 5 points; Evan West, 4 points, 5 assists, 6 blocks; Heath Reed, 2 points, 6 assists; and Boling, 2 points.
"This was their best effort game – best hustle game," Wilson said. "They were excited about playing well and were pretty intense."
The team’s first real test will come against rival Magnolia Heights in Senatobia on Monday, beginning with the junior high games at 3:30 p.m.
"We will have to play as a team and turn the ball over less," Wilson said. "Defense wins games with rebounds.
"We are on the verge, but we haven’t got there yet," Wilson said. "We have the potential to be team oriented."
Wilson referred to last year with hot shooter Will Poole leading the team and averaging 30 to 40 points per game. He said he does not have that kind of a dominating player and the team will have to "spread the wealth around."
It is possible, according to Wilson, the Green Waves will be the team which has to scrap for every win this year.
"We have to come out and play every night until the buzzer sounds," he said.
The Green Waves will be on Thanksgiving break following the games with Magnolia Heights.
On Monday, November 28, the Green Waves will christen their newly renovated gym hosting Lee, Ark. in the first home game of the season beginning at 4 p.m.
The Green Waves, though started the season on time, the team did not form until football season ended. An in-depth interview with Wilson will follow in Tuesday’s edition of The Panolian.
The Jr. High team to TIL by 13 points, according to Wilson.
Against Faith Christian, Brian Nickle, a seventh grader, was the leading scorer with 13 points, followed by Hunter West with 11 points. Other scorers include Bateman Greenlee, 6 points; s; Keith Crumpler and Taylor Herron, 2 points each.
The Jr. High girls won their two games against Faith Christian and TIL. Scores and information will be printed later.
The varsity girls are still looking for their first win of the season.
| Cougars and Lady Cougars struggle in tournament
| North Panola’s Coraka King, front, keeps the ball away from the Coldwater defender while teammate Jessica Wilson (back, left) calls for the ball.
| By Donna Taylor
The North Panola Lady Cougars faced a fierce Lady Coldwater Lady Cougar team Friday night, at 7p.m. in the Coldwater Round Robin. They lost 45-27.
The game was one sided from the start with Coldwater taking control early.
North Panola only scored three points in the first quarter. Gernesha Edwards of Como, was the high scorer of the night, with 15 points. Edwards was a high scorer for Como Middle School and is also a majorette for the band. Dancers for the band must be very athletic and be able to do aerobics.
Shanketta Newson, also a dancer for the NP band, scored three points, Dynyel Presley-5, K. Bobo-2, Tenisha Williams-3and Verkedra Hall with two.
The team scored six points in the second quarter, seven in the third and 19 in the fourth. The Oxford game scheduled for Monday night, Nov. 14, was cancelled by Oxford because of scheduling problems.
The Cougar girls and boys teams are winless so far.
There are no stats for the boys team against Coldwater Friday night. The reporter was kicked out of the gym for taking two pictures of an altercation that disrupted the game in the first five minutes.
The Monday game against Oxford was cancelled by Oxford.
The Cougars are on Thanksgiving break but will return to action for its home opener Friday, December 2, to host Coldwater beginning at 5 p.m.