Sports / Outdoors – 1/17/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Panolian: SPORTS – January 17, 2006

  From the 1/17/06 issue of The Panolian        

Steelers advance
     Deshea Townsend of Batesville, cornerback of the Pittsburgh Steelers helped defy tradition and upset the Indianapolis Colts for a trip to the AFC Championship Sunday in Denver.
By Myra Bean

The Pittsburgh Steelers advanced to the AFC National Championship game set for Sunday in Denver to face the Broncos after upsetting the Indianapolis Colts 21-18 Sunday.

The Colts, headed by quarterback Peyton Manning, looked stunned as the game progressed when they could not do anything against a pumped up Steeler team.

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The Steelers had lost to the Colts 26-7 Monday night, November 28. This was a totally different Steeler team with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger at the quarterback helm.

He completed five of six passes, one for a six yard touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle El, in the Steelers’ first possession of the game.

With 3:12 left in the first quarter, Roethlisberger connected with Heath Miller for a seven-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0 going into the second quarter.

The Colts had to settle for a field goal right before the half to get points on the board.

It took a while for the Colts to find their footing in the second half – they were down 21-3 going into the fourth quarter – to secure a couple of touchdowns and a two-point conversion to pull within three points of the Steelers.

The Colts were facing a fourth down and two and Manning waved the punt team off the field and went for the first down. He got it which eventually led to a three-yard Edgerrin James touchdown run. The Colts tried for the two-point conversion and it was successful to bring the game within three points.

With 1:17 left in the game, after the Steelers had stopped the Colts with a sack of Manning at the two-yard line, Jerome "The Bus" Bettis fumbled the ball.

A Colt picked it up and started to run it back but was stopped by the only Steeler who was in position to stop him, Roethlisberger.

The Steelers thought the game was basically over until that fumble and run back and the Colts and their crowd felt a new surge of energy.

The Steelers’ defense did not roll over and give the Colts anything in this last minute of the game.

The Colts could not get any further than the 29 yard line and placekicker Mike Vanderjagt had to try for a 46-yard field goal to tie the game with 21 seconds left on the clock.

The kick was not even close and Bettis felt the weight of a possible loss lifted from his shoulders.

Indianapolis started the season 13-0 but the win streak ended with back to back losses to San Diego and then Seattle. The Colts ended the regular season 14-2.

The Steelers became the first sixth-seeded team to advance to a conference title game, according to notes.

Former South Panola quarterback and standout Deshea Townsend had two tackles in the Steeler win Sunday afternoon.

For the season Townsend has 50 tackles, 11 assists, three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

The Steelers and the Broncos will play Sunday at 2 p.m. central time in Denver for the AFC Championship.

The winner will meet the NFC Champion from the Carolina/Seattle game which will be played Sunday at 5:30 p.m. in Seattle in Superbowl XL (40) February 5.

The Pittsburgh/Denver game will be televised on CBS and the Carolina/Seattle game will be televised on FOX.

Superbowl 40 will be played on Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. at 5 p.m. central.

ABC will carry the game.

Como girls/Grenada boys win BJH tournament
By Myra Bean

The Como Lady Cougars and the Grenada Charger boys were the winners in their divisions of the Batesville Jr. High tournament held Friday and Saturday at the Batesville Jr. High.

The Como Lady Cougars remain undefeated through the regular season and throughout the tournament to bring home the championship trophy.
On the road to the championship, the Lady Cougars defeated Batesville Jr. High 25-19 Friday night; Southaven 29-13 and Grenada 27-24 both Saturday afternoon.

Grenada boys defeated Southaven 44-35 Friday night; Como boys 37-13 and Batesville Jr. High boys 32-24 Saturday afternoon.

In other tournament action Friday night, Grenada girls defeated Southaven 28-5 and Batesville Jr. High boys defeated Como 33-18.

In Saturday’s games, Batesville Jr. High girls defeated Southaven 22-12; Batesville Jr. High boys defeated Southaven 30-20; Southaven boys defeated Como 43-33; and Grenada girls defeated Batesville girls 27-25.

In the Batesville/ Southaven boys game, James Spraggin led the Tigers with 11 points, followed by Nicholas Parker with eight points.

In the Batesville girls vs. Como game, Chasity Kearney was Batesville’s leading scorer with eight points while Audrey Taylor was the leading scorer for Como with 11 points.

In the Batesville girls’ game against Southaven, Kearney was the leading scorer with nine points, followed by Turkessa Burgess with seven points.

The Batesville girls and Grenada battled it out at the end of that game Saturday afternoon. Batesville led most of the first half, but Grenada battled to take the lead with 1:57 left on two free throws 12-11. At the half, Grenada had a 13-11 lead.

Batesville tied the game at 13 on a field goal in the second half and went up on a Burgess steal and field goal 15-13 with 12:26 left in the game.

Grenada tied the game on a three-point play at 17 with 9:28 left in the game. Then Grenada took the lead on a three-point field goal with 8:25 left in the game.

Burgess’ field goal with 5:21 left in the game gave Batesville a precarious one point lead 21-20.

Burgess worked her way down in the low post to give the Lady Tigers some breathing room with a basket for a 23-20 lead.

Grenada tied the game at 23 and then went ahead on back-to-back three-pointers with 1:06 left in the game.

Batesville scored one more basket to pull within one point but it was not enough as Grenada hit another field goal with 9.5 seconds left to go in the game.

Batesville tried for a three at the buzzer but the ball fell short.

The boys’ game was just as exciting as Grenada held a 17-15 lead at halftime.

Fouls were the downfall of the Tiger team as one of the leading scorers, Nicholas Parker, fouled out in the second half.

The game was tied at 19 in the second half and the teams exchanged the lead a couple of times but Grenada finally got a foothold to go ahead and stay ahead with 5:12 left in the game.

Batesville Jr. High will play in Grenada Thursday at 4:30 p.m. They will end the season Monday, January 23 at home when they host Lafayette at 5 p.m.

Como hosted Palmer the first night and will be in Ashley Thursday for games beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, Como will host Tunica at 5:30 p.m.

Recruit list has to be a joke
By Myra Bean

That was quite a list of Top 40 recruits from Mississippi listed Friday in The Clarion-Ledger.

I am beginning to think it was a joke.

It’s funny that not one player from South Panola was on that list.

Not one player who will have three state championship rings on their fingers following the spring ceremony in May was listed on that elite list.

Not one player from a team which had been nationally ranked for the last three years is on that list.

If that is not a joke, I don’t know what is.

There were five from Olive Branch who lost to this three straight state championship team twice this year.

They couldn’t get over the Tigers but they could land college scholarships to play. They are recruited and named top players in the state.

There were four on the list from Meridian. At least they got their team to the state championship. The one player who did not play this year due to an injury was on the list, but not Germichael Sanford.

Maybe they are too short. If so, they are still tougher than anybody else in Mississippi. Even though they don’t get to play other nationally ranked teams, South Panola is probably better than any other team in the nation.

The coaches at South Panola told me not to worry about it.

"Recruiters look at tape," head coach Ricky Woods said. "They don’t look at a list from the newspaper."

In this instance, that’s a good thing to know.

I hope that is the case with the recruiters because there are a couple of teams in Mississippi who need offensive linemen who can actually block.

It is an insult and a slap in the face to a team who has gone undefeated in the last three years and still get no respect. Good manners would dictate others around the state taking a good look at what this school has to offer in the form of athletes.

It is obvious that football is a team sport and athletes who are selfish on the field do not get their teams as far as the team wants them to be.

In comparing the athletes on this list, only one team who won the state championship has one player on the team: Lumberton.

Charleston has one but at least they got to the state championship.

The other five schools South Panola, West Point, Wayne County, Simmons and Hazelhurst who went and/or won the state championships have no players listed on the top 40 recruit list.

Hmmmm! Maybe this is a joke like one of the coaches said. It is obviously not for the best players in the state.

Well, we will see what happens when the players, who are interested, sign national letters of intent starting February 1. Maybe something good will come of that.

     North Delta’s Taylor Herron leaps for a basket against Delta Thursday night. Following the Pee Wee games, Delta Academy defeated the two junior high and high school North Delta teams in a sweep.
Tigers fall in OT to Conquistadors
     South Panola ninth grader Rico Keys (front center) protects the ball from the grasp of Olive Branch defenders Monday night.
By Myra Bean

South Panola and Olive Branch boys basketball teams gave the crowd their money’s worth in an overtime district matchup Friday night.

Olive Branch (15-4 overall, 2-1 district)) came out the victor by outscoring South Panola 19-7 in overtime for a 64-52 win.

South Panola (11-6 overall, 1-2 district) had to overcome a 15-point halftime deficit to be in position for Anthony Nelson’s buzzer-beater three-pointer as regulation time expired.

With 23.8 seconds left in regulation, South Panola had pulled within one point, 43-42, on a Shawn Daniels offensive rebound and subsequent field goal. Olive Branch hit two free throws to go back ahead three points, 45-42 with 16.4 seconds left in the game. South Panola missed a three pointer and called a timeout with 3.9 seconds left in the game.

Nelson stole the inbound ball as the Tigers were in their pressure defense and scored the tying basket at 45. Nelson was wrapped in his teammates’ arms and the crowd which had started out the door stopped its mass exodus to watch what would happen in overtime.

Overtime was all Olive Branch as the Tigers could not find the answer to turn the game back into their favor.

One of the leading scorers, Rodney Gray, had fouled out with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter and the Quistors were already shooting bonus foul shots.

South Panola was down 31-14 at halftime. After halftime, Tiger head coach Charlie Howard said, "We will play better ball this half."

And they did.

Olive Branch scored the first two points of the third quarter and the Tigers scored the next six to cut the lead 33-19 with 4:16 left.

With 2:22 left in the third, Olive Branch hit one of two free throws and the Tigers held them scoreless the rest of the quarter while scoring six unanswered points to cut the lead 34-25 going into the fourth quarter.

With field goals and free throws by Nelson, Gray and Justin Vaughn, the Tigers cut the lead to four, 37-33, with 4:14 left in regulation. Olive Branch hurt themselves in the fourth quarter with 10 turnovers, including fouls.

The leading scorers for the Tigers included Gray and Nelson with 13 points each, followed by Joseph Hankins with 10 points.

The Tigers will be in Southaven tonight for the first district meeting between these two teams this season. The boys’ game will follow the girls’ game which will begin at 6 p.m.

SP 9th Boys
The South Panola ninth grade boys played hard but could not overcome some hard ball played by Olive Branch.

Olive Branch defeated the ninth grade Tigers 44-26. Olive Branch had a 26-14 halftime lead.

The ninth grade team will play Horn Lake next Tuesday, January 24 at 5 p.m.

Lady Tigers fell to OB
By Myra Bean

The South Panola Lady Tigers (8-11 overall excluding tournament, 1-2 district) had a better showing against Olive Branch (16-3 overall, 3-0 district) this time than last, but still fell 50-41.

South Panola introduced a 6’2" German exchange student, Sabine Barth, to the lineup.

She, along with 6’1" freshman Skylar Barnes, blocked a couple of Olive Branch shots when they came off the bench.

The two teams were fairly close throughout the first quarter. South Panola’s Kim Sanford opened up the scoring and Olive Branch tied it up. Then Lady Tiger Shanice Williams shook off her defender to take the Lady Tigers back up 4-2.

The game was tied again at six and eight before Olive Branch hit a field goal with 50 seconds left in the quarter for the 8-6 lead.

Olive Branch came with its pressure defense to force turnovers and missed Lady Tiger shots and outscored South Panola 18-10 in the second quarter for a 26-16 halftime lead.

South Panola battled back to outscore the Lady Quistors 13-10 in the third quarter and cut the lead 36-29 going into the final quarter.

The Lady Tigers pulled within two points, 38-36, on a Barnes field goal with 4:57 left in the game, but the Lady Quistors flexed some muscle and played hard ball to run the score back up and put the game away.

South Panola was led in scoring by Sanford with nine points, followed by Courtney N. Jones with eight points.

The Lady Tigers will be in Southaven tonight for a district game at 6 p.m. following the boys Jr. Varsity game at 5 p.m. The Lady Tigers will return home Friday to host non-conference foe J.Z. George beginning at 5 p.m.

Como boys fall to Charleston 35-26
By William Correro

As sure as the world turns as the season ends the players start "declaring" to enter the NFL draft before they’ve finished school. Call me old school but I still think a player should have to finish college eligibility before moving up to the pros. I know few are ready to go skill-wise but I can’t help but think more college work – and a degree – would be better.

These player students should consider how much a school invests in them when they leave before they’ve contributed as much as possible back to the athletic programs. I know all about how they are student-athletes and do not receive any monetary compensation but they are coached and overall provided for while in school.

The maturity level of a student during that time increases exponentially over the course of a year too. It would or should be in the pro team’s best interest to have that maturity level as high as possible before handing them huge sums of money. But it would take a consistent move through all the pro sports from football to golf to be effective.

Speaking of golf, the 16-year old wonder child Michelle Wie is an example of being ready to handle the real world.

Yeah, she’s a great golfer and has played some incredible rounds in her young years but it is hard to believe one that young can handle all the constant pressures of the pro tour week to week. On the verge of missing the cut for the seventh time in a row won’t sit well with whoever her sponsors are.

Reggie Bush and Vince Young are two prime examples of forgetting about the team after a successful year and going pro. They will probably do fine in the NFL but I wonder how much thought was given to the teams that helped them get to where they are.

Then there’s Marcus Vick. I have to blame his older brother Michael for not kicking his tail the first time he got into trouble. Here’s a kid with talent on another plane but can’t stay out of trouble.

His school tries to help him after the first two times but then they had enough after his unsportsmanlike act in the Gator Bowl where he decided to purposely step on and kick an opponent. Virginia Tech sends him packing and within a week he’s arrested again.

Then comes the big announcement he’s going to the NFL draft. If I was an owner I might take him only if he paid me to play. In advance too. What an idiot. Oh well, not everyone can play – you have to fill the seats somehow. See you next week.

SP Diamond Club to meet
The South Panola Diamond Club will meet Thursday, January 19 at 7 p.m. at TV EPA auditorium on Power Drive. Parents of baseball players and supporters of South Panola baseball are encouraged to attend.



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