Sports / Outdoors – 2/9/2007

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 9, 2007

The Panolian: SPORTS – February 9, 2007

  From the 02/06/07 issue of The Panolian   

National Signing Day – Roll, Tide
Nine Tigers sign with colleges
     South Panola senior fullback/tailback Jeramie Griffin (front, left) signed a National Letter of Intent to play with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Witnessing his signing were his mother Ammie Griffin (front, right); (back, l to r) coaches Michael Fair, Willis Wright and Trenell Edwards.
By Myra Bean

South Panola had nine seniors sign National Letters of Intent to play collegiate football next year.

The biggest news was tailback/fullback Jeramie Griffin, 6’0, 225 pounds, signed with the Crimson Tide of Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Griffin said he chose Alabama because of its tradition of winning.

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"I want to continue winning like I did in high school," Griffin said.

Griffin agreed that new head coach Nick Saban had something to do with his decision.

NFL cornerback Deshea Townsend of the Pittsburgh Steelers signed with Alabama in 1994 and then the Steelers in 1998. Townsend earned a Super Bowl ring last year with the Steelers. Former NFL linebacker Dwayne Rudd also signed with Alabama in 1994 and signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 1997.

Tiger linebacker Chris Strong, 6’2", 250 pounds, who has since transferred to Genesis One in Mendenhall, made good on his verbal commitment and signed with the University of Mississippi.

Offensive lineman Hunter Bailey, 6’2", 310 pounds, signed with Jacksonville State University out of Jacksonville, Ala.

Bailey visited Jacksonville State last weekend and said he really enjoyed the visit.

"The recruiter and coaches are great," Bailey said. "I really look forward to getting over there."
NFL running back Kory Chapman attended Jacksonville State. Chapman has since earned two Super Bowl rings, while playing on practice teams, with the New England Patriots in 2005 and this year with the Indianapolis Colts.

Tiger wide receivers Roderick Jefferson and Marcus Lee signed with Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena.

Lee said he felt comfortable at Valley.

"It’s a pretty good school," he said.

Jefferson said he chose Valley because it is a traditional throwing school.

"One of the greatest NFL receivers came out of Valley," Jefferson said, referring to Jerry Rice.

Signing with community colleges were Kevin Young, Rodney Diggs and Leroy Diggs, all with Northwest; and Marlon Wilks, Itawamba.

Wilks said he made a visit to Itawamba and
liked it.

"At first I was confused about what they were offering, then when that cleared up I decided to take the offer," he said.

Lady Cougars fall to Lady Blue Devils
By Myra Bean

In district action, the Water Valley Lady Blue Devil (24-2 overall) defeated the North Panola Lady Cougars 52-48 Tuesday night.

The Lady Cougars dragged in the middle of the game and were down by eight points, 19-11, in the second quarter.

They could not seem to get anything going that first half and Water Valley increased the lead 29-16 at halftime.

A new team emerged for the second half of play. The Lady Cougars caught up with some hot shooting by senior Joya Wilbourn for back-to-back baskets to cut the lead 29-20.

Hustling down in the low post area, Lady Cougar senior LaTorya Hill put up the shots to keep them in the game.

The Lady Cougar pressure defense caused the Lady Blue Devils problems and turnovers. The lead was down to four, 36-32 on a Shavetta Gordon three-pointer with 14.3 seconds to go in the game. At the buzzer, Water Valley hit a three to answer. At the end of the third quarter, the 13-point lead was down to seven, 39-32.

In the fourth quarter, on an assist from Kinshunta Bobo to Hill, the Lady Cougars were within one point of the Lady Blue Devils, 45-44 with 4:03 left in the game.

Water Valley turned the ball over throwing it out of bounds. Hill on an offensive rebound and subsequent field goal, gave the Lady Cougars their first lead of the game, 46-45, since the opening free throw.

Water Valley immediately set up in the their left corner and answered with a basket of their own and retook the lead for good. North Panola did get back within a field goal on a Gernesha Edwards three-pointer, 50-48, but Water Valley held on for the win.

The seniors from the basketball teams, cheerleaders, band and dancers were honored in between games.

Monday night, the Lady Cougars lost to Independence in district action, 38-30. Audrey Taylor led the Lady Cougars in scoring with eight points.

The district tournament begins at Water Valley, Monday, February 12. The schedule has not been released at press time.

SP hopes to name coach by March 1
By Myra Bean

The application process for finding a new head football coach for South Panola High School came to an end yesterday afternoon.

South Panola principal Dr. Gearl Loden said he received two applications from Georgia, two from Tennessee and one from Alabama in addition to the others he had received from Mississippi.

"People have also emailed me and spoken to me in person about the position," Loden said.

Loden, along with assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Willis Wright and superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer, will sit down and go through the applications and conduct interviews with top applicants.

"I hope to have a coach named by March 1," Loden said.

The second year South Panola principal also said Dr. Shaffer will call a special board meeting if necessary if a candidate is chosen after the regular school board meeting on Tuesday, February 20.

"From the applications we have received, this will be a challenging decision," Loden said. "There are several in-state candidates who have a very good history of 10 plus wins a year and state championship history."

South Panola School board must give approval after the selection committee makes its recommendation for the new hire.

Lady Tigers dominate Lady Wildcats; Tigers flounder
By Danielle Bean

The South Panola Lady Tigers had little trouble with the Independence Lady Wildcats as they defeated them in non-conference action 61-40 Tuesday night.

The Tiger boys on the other hand ran into some sharp cat claws and lost 44-37.

The Tigers will end the regular season tonight on the road to Clarksdale for more non-conference action beginning at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, District 1-5A Division 1 will start district tournament action at Horn Lake. A tournament schedule had not been released at press time.

Lady Tiger head coach Ralph Stallings said both South Panola teams will probably play Horn Lake in the first round. Since it is in Horn Lake, the Tigers may not get to play until 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. girls and boys, respectively.

Lady Tigers
Independence actually got on the boards first and led 6-2 with 6:11 left in the first quarter.

South Panola’s Vetorra Cole tied the game at six with 4:52 on the clock, followed by a three-pointer by Sabrina Townsend with 4:03 left to break the tie 9-6.

The Lady Tigers held a 16-15 lead at the end o the quarter.

Townsend shot two three’s in the second quarter to further put South Panola ahead as they outscored Independence 15-7. At the half, the Lady Tigers led 31-22.

South Panola held Independence to four points in the third quarter which gave them the advantage they needed to increase their lead and take the win.

Townsend was the leading scorer with 27 points, followed by Skylar Barnes with 17.

Tiger Men
The Tigers scored the first points and led 4-0 to start the game. They held the lead through most of the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, South Panola was on top 12-10.

Going into the second quarter, South Panola was on pace to keep one step ahead of Independence, but the Wildcats made a move and tied the score at 18 with 3:28 left in the half then went ahead. At the half, Independence led 20-18.

The Tigers came out flat in the third quarter and did not score until a free throw by Regan Bailey with 5:12 left in the quarter. Independence had built a 26-19 lead.

Tiger Kerrion Moore hit a couple of field goals and free throws to get the Tigers back in the game. At the end of the third quarter, Independence held a 34-26 lead.

South Panola had the opportunities to score, but turnovers plagued the team in the final quarter.

Antonio Allen led the Tigers with 15 points.

Myra Bean contributed to this story.

Cheerleaders competing
     Jessica Kelsay and the South Panola High School and junior high cheerleaders are on their way to national competition in Orlando, Fla. this weekend. They left town Thursday night and will compete Saturday to determine semifinals.
Keep up with the cheerleading national competition.  Go to and click on the link for information for the 2007 National High School Cheerleading Competition

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