Sports / Outdoors – 10/6/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 6, 2006

The Panolian: SPORTS – October 6, 2006

  From the 10/06/06 issue of The Panolian       

Strong selected to U.S. Army All-American team
     South Panola linebacker Chris Strong (left) accepts his jersey from U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Stanley Westbrook to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, January 6 at the Alamadome.
By Myra Bean

South Panola’s Chris Strong added another accolade to his already impressive list.

The 6’2", 240 pound linebacker was chosen for the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl to be played in San Antonio, Texas, January 6.

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The announcement was made before the football team, coaches, school staff and administration, seniors and juniors of the high school Thursday morning.

Also on hand were members of Strong’s family including his mother, Brenda Strong and his aunts, Sherry Strong Goodson, Ruby Strong and Calandra Strong.

The band provided preceremony music and the cheerleaders led the crowd in a couple of cheers to open the ceremony.

Officials of the U.S. Army All-American game, including Donald Ingstrom, were on hand to direct the ceremony, and Staff Sergeant Stanley Westbrook did the honors of presenting Strong his game jersey.

South Panola head football coach Ricky Woods also received his personal invitation to attend the game which will be paid in full by the U.S. Army.

The game will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and televised at noon on NBC.

Out of 400 nominations, Strong was picked as one of the top 80 athletes to participate in the bowl, according to a news release issued by the bowl committee.

"Strong joins the likes of Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson, who all made their national debuts as U.S. Army All-Americans," the release states.

Strong also joins former teammate who played in this game Derek Pegues, who is a starter on the Mississippi State football team. Pegues played in the 2004 U.S. All-American bowl.

"Chris Strong might very well be the top linebacker prospect in the country," said Garrett Shea, director of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, in the release. "He dominates just about every play, running down every back he goes up against, and proving to be nearly unblockable. In addition, he is a sure tackler with great size and quickness, while playing with the defensive toughness necessary to play the linebacker position. Chris Strong is a tremendous all-around athlete and the Bowl is proud to have him join the U.S. Army All-American class of 2007."

As an U.S. Army All-American, Strong will have the opportunity during Bowl week to participate in a series of Army leadership and teamwork sessions, NFL athlete seminars, study hall sessions and goal setting and achieving workshops, according to the release.

As part of being selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, each athlete’s head coach is invited to travel to San Antonio compliments of the U.S. Army and attend the U.S. Army National Coaches Clinic presented by Prep Sports Online.

For more information on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, alumni, coaches, awards and other Bowl Week events, visit and .

Other accolades received by Strong include national recruit, Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen, and the 2005 Mississippi Association of Coaches defensive player of the year.

National Tony Poll – Week 7
Analysis by Christopher Lawlor

New No. 1:
De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) moves up three spots to claim the top spot in the Super 25 rankings. DLS inherits the top spot after then-No. 1 Hoover (Ala.) fell to John Curtis (River Ridge, La.) 28-14. No. 5 Curtis moves up six; Hoover drops eight. No. 2 Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) and No. 3 Lakeland (Fla.) remain the same. Five teams in the top 10 shifted positions. Despite a shake-up near the top of the football rankings, Hoover was the only loser among the Super 25.

Extra points:
No. 17 South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) equaled a Mississippi record for consecutive victories in a 12-7 win vs. Olive Branch. South Panola (6-0) tied Hamilton’s mark of 51, established from 1978-83.

1. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (4-0)
2. Byrnes, Duncan, S.C. (6-0)
3. Lakeland, Fla. (6-0)
4. Lufkin, Texas (4-0)
5. John Curtis, River Ridge, La. (4-0)
6. Southlake (Texas) Carroll (4-0)
7. Warren Central, Indianapolis (7-0)
8. Oaks Christian, Westlake Village, Calif. (4-0)
9. Hoover, Ala. (4-1)
10. St. Xavier, Cincinnati (5-1)
11. Lincoln-Way East, Frankfort, Ill. (6-0)
12. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (5-1)
13. Independence, Charlotte (6-0)
14. Northwestern, Miami (5-0)
15. St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City (3-0)
16. Summerville, S.C. (6-0)
17. South Panola, Batesville, Miss. (6-0)
Previous: 17. Result: d. Olive Branch 12-7.
Next: Friday vs. Columbus.
18. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (5-0)
19. Colerain, Cincinnati (6-0)
20. Smithson Valley, Spring Branch, Texas (5-0)
21. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (4-0)
22. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (3-0)
23. Mount Carmel, Chicago (6-0)
24. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh (4-1)
25. West Monroe, La. (5-0)
Tigers did not almost lose game
I debated how to say this delicately. No more Tiger bashing.

Only positive Tiger growling allowed.

South Panola did not "almost lose" Friday’s game against Olive Branch.

Basically, someone is always trying to tell someone else how to do his/her job, especially mine.
My temper almost exploded like a volcano when I heard the negative talk about the game last week.

It was an awesome game. I took into account – for three days – that Batesville is spoiled by the success of the South Panola football team. We expect to deliver a near blowout every game.

I know how excited 100 percent of us at the game, listening on the radio and via the webcast on the internet were. I was there.

Every once in a while it is good to have a game like the one against Olive Branch. Those games point out some areas the team needs to work on as the year progresses.

Sure, we were all anxious but the guys said, "We got this."

And they took care of our anxiety like they have for the past 66 games minus one.

So, cut the team a little slack. They work hard. The coaches at Olive Branch are good and they scouted this team well. South Panola is probably and will be the team in which playbooks are designed around for a long time to come now.

Opponents study them and will play them harder than anybody else they will play this season. Check Moss Point for example. They have done nothing since the game against the Tigers.

Let’s look at the facts of why the Tigers did not almost lose the game.

They went ahead in the third quarter and shut out Olive Branch for the last three quarters.

In a 48 minute game, South Panola shut down the Olive Branch offense for the last 45 minutes and 12 seconds.

The Tigers caused three of the five Olive Branch fumbles and RECOVERED them which could have resulted in scores for the Quistors.

An almost loss is down by one point or whatever with 14 seconds left in the game and you score. Not up by five with a whole quarter and a half left.

Have I proven my point?

The rest of the season will not really get that much easier for the Tigers. It is possible they will meet Olive Branch again in the playoffs, the same as last year.

They need to hear only positive talk from the supporting community from here on out. Let the coaches do their job. They really do know what they are doing."

Now, let the greatest fans on the face of the earth get out and do what they do best on Friday night: cheer the Tigers onto setting a state winning streak record tonight.

See you on the sidelines.

Tigers go for 52nd straight win tonight to break record
By Myra Bean

A big night is on tap for the South Panola Tigers as they will attempt to break the state’s longest winning streak record against district foe the Columbus Falcons.

The Tigers and Falcons will suit up on Tiger Field in Robert H. Dunlap Stadium in what is expected to be a capacity crowd along with a few dignitaries.

South Panola (6-0 overall, 2-0 district) tied the record of 51 by defeating Olive Branch in a nailbiter last week 12-7. The record of 51 was set from 1979-83 by Hamilton before playoff games and state championships.

Columbus (2-3 overall, 1-1) district defeated Southaven last week 14-7. The Falcons lost to Tupelo in the first district game of the season 45-20.

The Falcons and the Tigers have a past which highlights some highs and lows for both teams, specifically last year.

The teams met twice in the regular season and the playoffs. Both games were in Columbus.

The first game on October 14, 2005, was a test of the Tiger fortitude as Columbus pulled within three points 28-25 at one point in the game. The Tigers were up 14-3 at halftime. Then on two South Panola fumbles, Columbus scored and started threatening the lead.

The Tigers got busy and pulled ahead and did not allow the Falcons to score anymore and claimed a 48-25 victory.

The Tigers let the Falcons know in no uncertain terms, they were a much improved team and not to be messed with as they ended the Falcons’ season with a 62-14 win.

The Falcons are under first year head coach Daryl Jones.

Upon a win by the Tigers, a postgame ceremony is planned to celebrate the milestone. All fans are requested to remain and join in the celebration.

The ticket booth will open at 6 p.m. for general admission ticket $5 and reserved tickets $7.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

NP hopes for win #1
By Myra Bean

"We just missed them," head coach Vincent Johnson said about the North Panola game against Independence.

The Cougars missed a PAT and a two-point conversion which could have either tied the game or given them the win.

Johnson said Independence was a stronger team than M.S. Palmer and about the same as Holly Springs.

The Cougars have lost all of those games and enter tonight’s district contest in Byhalia with a 0-6 record.

Byhalia is 2-4 overall, 0-2 district. Byhalia’s two wins came against Chester County, Tenn. and Pontotoc last week, 22-14.

In district play, Byhalia has also lost to M.S. Palmer 14-12 and Independence 15-0.

Kickoff for tonight’s contest is 7 p.m.

Big game on tap with ND and Delta
By Angie Ledbetter

Tonight’s football game will bring back an old rivalry that existed between the North Delta Green Waves and the Delta Academy Raiders several years ago but was discontinued when the two schools went to different classes in the MPSA.

At one time in school history, the game between these two teams was the biggest rivalry of the year for both teams.

The Green Wave will travel about 20 minutes west to Marks to take on the undefeated Delta Academy Raiders (6-0) in non-conference action.

The Green Wave are coming into this game after a big win over the Tunica Blue Devils for their 2006 homecoming and with a district win for them to improve to 3-3 overall and 2-1 district. They are in second place in the district with Bayou Academy (4-2 overall, 3-0 district) holding the lead by only one game.

The Raiders are also coming off a big win last week after shutting out 1A Deer Creek 42-0. The other team that they have shut out this year was Strider Academy 40-0.

The Raiders have played four games against 1A teams and two games against 2A teams. They have scored 205 points and allowed 67 points this season.

Head Coach Richard Russo said Delta is well coached. The Raiders are coached by Deuce Harrison, Wayman Grantham and Bryan Madden. They have 28 players on the roster including one seventh grader, one eight grader, and eight ninth graders.

They have seven seniors, four juniors and seven sophomores. According to Russo, the bulk of those 18 players are good football players and solid.

"Just about all across the board, they have good football players," he added.

"David McNutt, No. 64, is a giant out there," said Russo. "He is a defensive end and an offensive tackle. He looks to be like a lineman that we need to be aware of."

Russo said quarterback, Trent Sinquefield reads the option game well.

"They have an option-oriented attack and he does about as good as a job that I have seen in high school of reading the option game," Russo said. "He is very impressive."

Kyle Corbin is the go to receiver for the Raiders.

"Jordan Campbell is one of the best fullbacks that I have ever seen," Russo said. "He takes the ball and goes 0-60 miles per hour as soon as he gets it."

In the past two games, Delta has shown 10 different offensive formations, according to Russo. He said the Green Wave defensive system adjusts to every offensive formation real well.

"A lot of teams that run a five man front have a hard time adjusting to formation," Russo said.

He said there is no secret why the Raiders are 6-0.

"They have excellent players," Russo said. "They are very sound offensively and defensively. They are probably the best well-oiled machine offensively that we have seen all year."

The Green Waves’ job will be to stop them from moving the chains, according to Russo, or they will hold the ball.

"That is their game plan – to nickel and dime you to death and eventually pop a big one on you," he added. "They have very athletic lineman which you don’t see a whole lot. They really pull well and move well."

Russo could only say they had better get ready to play.

"We better strap up our chin straps a little bit tighter, bite down on our mouth pieces a little bit tighter, and get ready to have the pass popping," he said.

Are they beatable? Russo asked.

"Absolutely," he said. "We have to play a great game. We need to play a mistake-free, well-executed game. The kids are excited about the challenge."

The pep rally for the team is at 2:30 in the school gym today. Pregame is at 7:00 tonight with Head Coach Richard Russo and kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. on FM 106.9.

Directions to the school: Take Highway 6 west to Marks. At the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 3, take a left on Highway 3 going South. At the 4-way stop (Main Street ) take a left. Go across the railroad tracks, go through town and follow Main Street through a deep right curve. The road changes to Riverside Drive. Go through a 4-way stop and continue along Riverside Drive out of town. Delta Academy is on the right.

     Registration for the city of Batesville gymnastic classes will be held Monday, October 9 at 5 p.m. at the Batesville Intermediate gymnasium.
     Classes are open to boys and girls ages 5 and up. The cost is $30 per month.
  Mississippi Xpress
     The Mississippi Xpress 11 and under USSSA team is ranked No. 1 nationally out of 564 teams in its league.
     The team has 320 USSSA points. The second place team has 310 points.
     The Xpress is 14-8 overall and averages 7.8 runs per game. It allows 4.9 runs per game.
     Their record versus teams in their class is 14-4 and they have a power rating of 1134.
     In the various tournaments, the Xpress has two first places, two second places and one seventh place.
  South Panola softball
     The South Panola Lady Tigers defeated Clarksdale 7-5 in seven innings Monday afternoon.
     Diamond Barr pitched the complete game for the win. Tyunna Diggs was good for two homeruns. She also drove home three runners on the first homerun.
     The Lady Tigers are preparing for the playoff season. Tuesday, October 10, they will play Madison Central in Madison for the best two of three game series.

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