Sports / Outdoors – 12/6/2005

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2005

The Panolian: SPORTS – December 6, 2005

  From the 12/6/05 issue of The Panolian        *NEW*


44 Game Win Streak – 4th Consecutive North Half Champions


The South Panola Tigers gathered together to celebrate as they hold "State Bound" posters made by the mascots and the cheerleaders. The Tigers will meet Meridian Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Jackson.

Team of century to defend title
By Myra Bean

In the after game huddle, South Panola head coach Ricky Woods gave the South Panola Tigers one night to celebrate their 26-0 shutout of Olive Branch. Then it was time to prepare for the state championship.

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The South Panola Tigers had the battle of their season when the Olive Branch Conquistadors "Quistors" came to Batesville for the second time this year.

With the North Half championship and a trip to the "big dance" as prize, both teams brought it all and left it on the field.

The No. 10 USA Today and the No. 4 National Tony Poll nationally ranked Tigers earned their fourth straight trip to the state championship with sound physical play and an aggressive game plan.

Tickets will be on sale at South Panola High School and the District office on Booth Street Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday, 8 to 12 p.m. for $10.

Tempers on the field got short towards the end of the game when Olive Branch knew the end of its season was near.

A couple of penalty flags were thrown on the Quistors for unsportsmanlike conduct. Tiger fullback Jeramie Griffin was the recipient of a well placed fist from a Quistor but interference from his teammates and coaches stopped the contact from becoming a full blown brawl.

Of the 10 teams in the state championships, seven are undefeated for the season.

In other action around the state to determine state championship matches, in the South Meridian (11-3) defeated Oak Grove 46-40 to earn a trip back to the state championships. It has been 15 years since Meridian has been to Jackson.

The Meridian Wildcats won the state championships in 1985 and 1990.

Meridian is coached by Ed Stanley, who was head coach at South Panola from 1994 to 2001.

Stanley took the position in Meridian in 2002 and this is the first time the team has made it through the South Half championships.

West Point (13-1) defeated Oxford 24-14 in 4A north. This was Oxford’s only loss of the season. West Point will meet Wayne County who defeated West Jones 34-6.

Wayne County (14-0) is the only team in the last four years who has defeated South Panola. Wayne County walked away with the 2002 5A state championship and since then have claimed the 4A state championship for the last two years. They will also be going for a 3-peat.

In 3A, Charleston (13-1) defeated the reigning 3A state champions Senatobia Warriors 27-6. In South 3A, Hazlehurst (12-0) kept its undefeated season intact Hollandale Simmons (13-0) defeated West Bolivar 34-14 and will meet reigning 2A state champion Lumberton (13-0) who shut out Perry Central 28-0.

MHSAA State championship will be played Friday and Saturday December 9 and 10 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

On Friday Class 2A will play at 2:30 p.m. and 5A will play at 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday Class 3A starts the day at 11 a.m., class 4A at 3 p.m. and 1A at 7:30 p.m.

Television times will be published in Friday’s edition of The Panolian.

Tigers quiet OB 26-0
By Myra Bean

Since 1993, in all but 2001, the road to the 5A state championship has gone through South Panola.
South Panola silenced more critics and secured a fourth straight trip to the 5A state championship game with a 26-0 shutout of Olive Branch Friday night.

Before an estimated 10,000 fans in low 40 degree weather, the Tigers performed their second shutout of the season.

This was one game the Tigers played where younger players did not get to substitute.

The score was not indicative of the intensity in which these two teams met each other on the gridiron.

The talk that had marked the season for these two teams rekindled last week when it was confirmed they would meet again for the chance to play for the state’s top honors.

Tiger quarterback junior Leroy Diggs led the Tigers with 192 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

Senior defensive back Kerry Hoskins pulled down his sixth interception of the season.

Both teams earned every yard with defenses holding the other team’s offense scoreless during the first quarter.

The Tigers had few mistakes in their first possession. Diggs was sacked a couple of times and slipped once. Senior tailback Rickey Sanford was tackled for a loss once and the Tigers punted with 4:51 left in the first quarter.

Olive Branch faced the Tiger defense which lived up to its name of "stingy defense."

The Quistors started on their own 20 and got to the Tiger 45 before punting, thanks to the defense of Justin Harris, Marlon Wilks, Kevin Young, Chris Strong and Rodney Diggs.

The Tigers got the ball with 58 seconds left in the first quarter and carried it to the second quarter where Leroy Diggs connected with senior wide receiver Rodney Gray on the first pass attempt of the evening.

Gray got two steps on the Olive Branch defender, caught the pass and outran the opposition for a 68-yard touchdown never breaking stride leaving 10:59 in the first half.

Barrett Johnson’s PAT (point after touchdown) was good for the 7-0 lead.

After that touchdown, the game continued much as the first quarter with the teams punting or turning the ball over on downs.

The second half was a barn burner as the South Panola came out more intense and more determined than ever.

So did the Quistors.

Olive Branch took the opening kickoff and using its run game got past the Tiger defense deep into Tiger territory. The Quistors converted a fourth down and one and a third down and one to keep the drive alive.

They drove to the Tiger 20 yard line on first down and 10 and got to the 17 for second down. The Tigers called a timeout with 7:05 left in the quarter.
On second down and seven from the 17, Olive Branch fumbled the ball and Kerry Hoskins recovered it on the 13 with 6:59 to go in the third quarter.

Fans on both sides had gotten into the game by this time, cheering for their respective teams. Chants of "defense" from South Panola were heard while the Olive Branch fans screamed and yelled for their Quistors to keep pushing forward.

But with that one mistake after they had controlled the ball for five minutes, the Quistor crowd was quieted and the Tiger crowd erupted.

Tiger fans stayed awake after that and began to chant for a shut out as Diggs cashed-in that turnover for a 36-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left in the quarter.

Diggs broke to the left side and outran the defense giving the Tigers a 13-0 lead which lasted into the fourth quarter.

In the middle of the fourth quarter when tempers started to fly, Diggs scored his second touchdown of the evening on a two-yard run with 4:35 left in the game. Diggs tried to go up the middle but it was congested with Tigers and Quistor linemen. He bounced from the pile, went around the right side and walked into the endzone.

Later the Tigers were on the 37 but fumbled with Griffin recovering. A Quistors got an after play hit in. The unsportsmanlike penalty landed the Tigers on the 19 yard line. The Tigers led 19-0 after the PAT failed.

On the Quistors’ next possession, Hoskins pulled down an interception with 3:52 left in the game. The Tigers got the ball on the Quistor 15 yard line. Another Quistor unsportsmanlike penalty gave the Tigers the ball on the seven yard line.

On second down and two from the seven, Rickey Sanford scampered in from seven yards out. With Johnson’s PAT, the Tigers shutout Olive Branch 26-0.

Other rushers for the Tigers include Griffin, 20 yards on six carries; and Sanford 63 yards on 16 carries.

Gray caught one pass for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers had a total of 329 yards including 271 rushing. Olive Branch had a total of 177 yards with 120 rushing. The time of possession was close with the Tigers having the ball 25:23 and Olive Branch 22:37.

Olive Branch was penalized seven times for 57 yards and South Panola six times for 45 yards.


Maples chosen as All-Star
     North Delta’s Dustin Maples will be one of the players representing the North in the Mississippi Private School Association All-star game Thursday, December 8. The game will be played at Mississippi College. Game time will be 6:00 p.m. Billy Hankins, head coach of Simpson, will coach the North squad.
NP Lady Cougars hold on for 51-50 win
By Donna Taylor

It was a barn burner of a game as the North Panola Lady cougars won their first game of the season against the visiting Coldwater lady Cougars. The final score was 51-50.

"It was a great win," Lady Cougars Head Coach Jocelyn Frost said after the game.

In an earlier meeting of the two teams this year, Coldwater wiped the floor with the Lady Cougars, in Coldwater, with a score of 45-27. It was equally satisfying for both the team and North Panola fans, to see such an exciting and hustle filled game.

As the game progressed, the ladies seemed to gain momentum as the cheers from the crowd grew louder and louder. The team was feeding off of the electricity of the fans. The noise level encouraged the ladies to push harder.

They were never trailing far behind, as they did in their first meeting. They made most of their free throws, and their fast breaks were awesome.

North Panola had a half time lead of 22-19. The lead went back and forth throughout the rest of the game, but NP managed to hang on and win.

Tanisha Williams scored six points, and was four of four from the charity stripe. Anterior Ballentine finished with eight points , and was two of three from three point land. Gernesha Edwards made seven of eight free throws, with a total of 10 points for the game. Daphne Thomas had 10 points, Latorya Hill had two points, and Coraka King was the high scorer of the night with 11, and Dynyel Presley added five more for the Lady Cougars.

"It feels good, winning," said one Lady Cougar.

A break down of their scoring, by quarters was; First quarter -14; Second -8; Third-8, and the fourth quarter is when they turned on the after burners with 21 points.

The Lady Cougars are back in action tonight for a district matchup at M.S. Palmer in Marks. The Cougars return home Friday, December 9 to host Byhalia at 6 p.m.

NWCC Rangers improved to 9-0 with 26-game win streak
     Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Derrick Smith (#23) of Senatobia and Jonathan Stokes of Crenshaw battle a couple of Southwest Bears for a rebound Dec. 1 in Summit. The No. 8 Rangers rolled to an 80-64 victory.
By Brett Brown
NWCC Sports Information

The duo of Tarrell Wilson and Justin Nabors both registered double-doubles to lead the No. 8 Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers to an 80-64 victory against the Southwest Bears Dec. 1 in Summit.

Northwest, which pushed its regular season win streak to 26 games, improved to 9-0. The Rangers’ last regular season loss came over a year ago when they fell to Gulf Coast on Nov. 22, 2004.

Forwards Wilson and Nabors, both of Holly Springs, were the main reason Northwest kept the streak alive. Freshman Nabors scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while sophomore Wilson totaled 12 points and 10 boards.

The Rangers took a 41-29 lead at halftime by converting 17 of 41 attempts from the floor.

Northwest opened the second half with a 10-2 run behind a three-point play by forward Shawn Morgan of Memphis and a lay-in by Nabors. That allowed the Rangers to claim a 52-31 advantage with 15:32 remaining and cruise for the win.

Guard Adrian Banks of Memphis added 15 points for Northwest, while guard LeDarius Johnson of Memphis scored nine.

Northwest traveled to Wesson last night to battle Copiah-Lincoln but the score was not available at press time.

Cougar boys drop another to Coldwater
By Donna Taylor

North Panola Cougar boys team lost to Coldwater again 72-50 last Friday night.

In their first meeting Coldwater also ravaged the Cougars.

Coldwater controlled the game from the opening tip-off but North Panola’s Nico Wooten was impressive although he could not keep the Coldwater team at bay.

"We will have to improve," North Panola Head Coach Jamone Edwards said. His team is still trying to find it’s niche.

Dewayne Austin, a junior for Coldwater, had 14 points to lead his team to victory. Freshman, Eric Carmichael, also scored 14 for the Cougars of Coldwater.

"I was satisfied with our team play," said head coach, Kensaki Jones.

In the first quarter of play, Coldwater led 23-8, second 36-27, third, 56-31 and the final 72-50.

Their next outing is against M.S. Palmer, Tuesday night, in Marks. Tip off is 7 p.m.

College football needs a real playoff system
By William Correrro

All this talk about the BCS is interesting but what I can’t figure out is how our northern neighbors above the Mason-Dixon Line managed to get "Joe Pa" out of what used to be "Joe Pop"?

Having some kin up that way makes it easier to understand I guess. You know me though – I don’t get too excited about anything outside the SEC.

I won’t go off too much here about the how’s and why’s we need a real playoff for NCAA D1 football but as I write this I’m sure hoping USC and Texas would lose the first weekend of December.

Just to foul it up again and maybe be the proverbial straw that trashed the camel so we can have a real playoff. The games would be better with the teams playing up to the final game instead of taking time off or just a few walk-through practices in the weeks before the bowl games start.

As best as I can tell and what people who supposedly know more than me about bowl economics have told me, a real playoff system would be better financially for all across the board.

I do know that our former Commissioner, "Coach" Roy Kramer, wanted to at least get a better system for picking the teams to play for the final rankings when he came up with the BCS system.

I just have a real problem with people who were never involved with college football deciding the national champion, which is the case with most sports writers. The real drama of actually playing for the title would be the best. Where one incredible play or a fantastic drive for the winning touchdown makes the decision.

Thing is, winning or losing some of these deciding games going into post-season can make the difference between getting or not getting bowl dollars in the tens of millions of dollars. Not too much pressure for a bunch of college kids is it?

Again, watching Peyton and the Colts take the Steelers to school Monday night a week ago was so much fun. He never ceases to amaze me.

And it’s not just him, it’s how the whole team is tuned to him is great too. Like when they recognized the Steelers were in the middle of subbing players so the Colts try to get the snap off and catch them with 12 on the field.

Didn’t get the penalty but they did force the Steelers to use a timeout. Let’s see, he didn’t win the Heisman did he? Bet that was decided by a bunch of writers, wasn’t it? Probably northern writers too.

Now that roundball is in full swing, I’m going to tell you to do yourself a favor and get out see Coach Skelton’s Rangers at Northwest. With the exception of the high school championship games in Jackson our football is over for these parts and that coliseum is warm, too. I have seen a few Ranger games and have to say when they swap out the entire team and the new bunch proceeds to make the opposition look just plain stupid is so much fun. And the popcorn is great too. See you next week.



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