Headlines – 12/5/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Panolian: HEADLINES – December 5, 2006

  From the 12/05/06 issue of The Panolian   –   

It’s ‘four-closure’ for University of SP
     Jackson had better watch out. The South Panola Tigers are claiming it as a second home after the Tigers made their fifth straight trip and won their fourth straight 5A State Championship Friday night. Holding up a Tiger fan’s homemade sign were senior linebackers Chris Strong (left) and Kevin Young.
By Myra Bean

Over 14,000 South Panola and Meridian fans braved below-freezing temperatures to see one of the best 5A state championship matchups in years.

These two teams met for the state championship in 2005 and South Panola won 56-14.

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The South Panola Tigers continued their history-making role by winning their sixth state championship Friday with a 28-21 win over Meridian.

This is the Tigers’ fourth consecutive state championship. Last year’s "three-peat" championship was a state record. South Panola has played in nine state championships since the series began in 1983.

South Panola broke the state winning record of 51 straight wins with a shutout win over Columbus 42-0 on October 6.

Friday night South Panola head coach Ricky Woods coached his 74th Tiger win. His record stands at 74-1, the only loss to Wayne County in the 2002 state championship.

The Tigers had a comfortable 21-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Meridian turned up the heat on this cold night and pulled within seven points, 28-21 with 5:14 left in the game.

"Coach (Larry) Weems had a great gameplan," Woods said after the game. "They played hard all night long. Both teams fought real well. I’m just proud to win. Again, I was proud of the kids. We played good."

The Tigers had 339 yards on the ground and 140 passing yards for a total of 479 offensive yards.

Meridian had 66 rushing yards and 208 passing yards for a total of 274 offensive yards.

South Panola earned 14 first downs and Meridian 13. Meridian completed 16 of 37 passes with no interceptions.

Tiger senior quarterback Leroy Diggs completed four of five passes for 140 yards and no interceptions. Meridian lost its only fumble and South Panola lost two of its four fumbles.

Meridian had three punts for 98 yards. South Panola only punted one time for 47 yards.

A big statistic was in the penalty category. Meridian was hit with six penalties for 34 yards while South Panola had no penalties.

South Panola was the only team from the north to win a state championship.

Other winners include: 4A-Wayne County 14, Clarksdale 9; 3A-Franklin County 23, Nettleton 13; 2A-East Marion 38, Calhoun City 27; and 1A- Puckett 38, East Webster 20.

Newest stores show retail flexing muscles
By John Howell Sr.
and Billy Davis

Citing the opening of a Radio Shack and a clothing store, Batesville developer Woody Loden announced last week that he has partially filled the space in his Highway 6 East shopping center that was left vacant with the closing of the Western Auto store in 2005.

Radio Shack has opened in one of the five spaces that were created with the remodeling and division of the space that formerly housed Western Auto.

A men’s clothing store, Sammie’s Suits and Accessories, will also occupy one of the 2,400 square feet retail spaces, Loden said. The clothing store, located at 447 Highway 6 East, will hold a grand opening December 11 at 10 a.m.

The new retail offerings are the latest signs of a growing retail presence in Batesville, with state sales tax figures providing the best evidence. Last week, The Panolian reported that year-to-date sales tax figures show a 12 percent jump over 2005 numbers.

On Highway 6 West, the 300,000 square feet Batesville Compress building has been offered for sale, Batesville real estate broker Bobby Baker said. The building is owned by a group of Panola cotton producers who purchased the facility when the Federal Compress and Warehouse Company made plans to close the facility several years ago.

The east side of the compress building is still used as a cotton warehouse for the storage of thousands of bales, Baker said.

Across Highway 6 from the compress building, Woody Loden IV is building a structure adjacent to the building which formerly housed Med-Serv.

School wants better contact with parents
By Billy Davis

South Panola High School is seeking information from its students’ parents in order to update and improve a phone notification system called B.E.N.

The Better Easier Notification system, which kicked off in October, can send a school-wide message to announce events such as testing dates or a holiday schedule.

The school faculty also uses B.E.N. to contact parents about a student’s discipline problems or absenteeism.

Last weekend, B.E.N. alerted parents about the high school’s upcoming exam schedule and reminded parents to submit permission forms if a child plans to leave early on exam day.

To send that message, the phone system attempted to reach 454 phone numbers over a three-day period. A printed report of the phone activity showed 166 messages reached a person while 156 messages were left on answering machines. Another 87 people received the message but hung up.

The report also showed B.E.N. reported 91 "operator intercepts," which are typically phone numbers not in use, four fax lines and 25 no-answer phone calls, which together roughly account for one-fourth of the phone calls made.

SPHS principal Dr. Gearl Loden said he hopes publicity of B.E.N. in The Panolian will increase the number of proper phone calls to parents – and also lower that number of hang-ups.

To add or change phone numbers, parents should call the school at 563-4756, 563-5982, or 563-5722, and say you want to update a contact number.
"B.E.N. is only as good as the numbers in the system," said Loden.

The B.E.N. system sits atop a shelf in the high school’s counseling area, where two outgoing phone lines are visible on a nearby wall. On a Gateway computer used by records clerk Dorothy Black, school faculty upload the recorded messages and B.E.N. begins calling numbers at random.

"Since it’s not alphabetical, you can’t tell your buddy, ‘Hey, they’re calling,’ because you don’t know when the phone call will come," said Traywick.

Black, Traywick and Camille Garner, who is the voice on the messages, oversee B.E.N. after undergoing training on the system last year.

Garner, a Spanish teacher, writes the messages then wears a microphone head-set to record those words into the computer’s software.

Loden said he used B.E.N. when he formerly served as principal at Houston Elementary School.

"This is something I wanted in place before I walked in the door," Loden said. "You can never reach all the parents, but you can try to reach most of them."

Patience paid off for Big Buck leader
By Billy Davis

Some deer hunters, like Matt McGraw, just have all the luck.

McGraw enjoys hunting deer with a compound bow, but last week he took a borrowed .308 rifle and a climbing stand up a tree in Tallahatchie County. When he came down Tuesday afternoon, he had bagged his biggest buck ever.

The 14-point buck was lying in an overgrown field about 100 yards from the hunter. McGraw couldn’t see the body of the deer, but spotted the antlers as he glassed the field with binoculars.

"I could see the antlers moving as he looked around," said the hunter, whose buck scored 63.50 points in The Panolian’s Big Buck Contest.

If that score sounds familiar, that’s because deer hunter Randy Dungan scored 63.50 points with a Tallahatchie buck he bagged November 22, which put him in the lead. If you’re keeping count, that’s two Big Buck Contest leaders who have bagged their trophies in Tallahatchie County.

McGraw said the employees of Batesville Pawn Shop, the co-sponsor of the contest, were in disbelief that two trophy deer are tied for first place.

"They measured it and re-measured it," McGraw recalled with a chuckle.

When McGraw spotted the buck, he waited several minutes for a clear shot, but he eventually lowered the .308 and waited. The buck fell asleep, all but disappearing into the brush, until the hunter spotted one of the tines.

As the afternoon crept toward evening, McGraw hit a grunt call at 4:30. The buck raised its head and looked toward McGraw.

"All I could do was shoot where I thought he was, which was a neck shot," the hunter said. He fired once, and the buck never moved.

Christmas parade is tonight in Batesville
The perennial director of the Batesville Christmas Parade predicts it will be "nice and cool" for tonight’s annual event.

Jerry Lightsey, who has coordinated the parade for the Batesville Lions Club for 17 years, said more than 50 entries are expected to begin lining up along Watt and Park streets at 5:30 this afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 30s for the parade.

The parade starts at 6:30 and will follow its traditional route down Broadway, through the Square, and end on College at Batesville Intermediate School.

Expected are a number of fire trucks, 15-20 floats, the South Panola High School and North Panola High School bands, scout troops, and Santa Claus.

There will be no horses, Lightsey said.


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