South Panola football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Relax, have faith in Tigers, Wilson says

By Myra Bean

The first game of the 2007 South Panola season will be played on Thursday, August 30 not Friday, August 31.

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Vicksburg hosts a tournament the first weekend of the season called the Red River Classic. South Panola will play Warren Central Thursday night and Vicksburg and Clarksdale will clash Friday night.

“This is the only game played in the state Friday night,” said South Panola head football coach Lance Pogue.

“Relax,” said South Panola senior center Jonathan Wilson to the anxious fans about the upcoming season with a new head coach and coaching staff.

“Every  year you hear the same rumors that we will lose, every year the streak is supposed to end,”  Wilson said. “If you have faith in us, you already know we will come through. We work hard. Every morning we are up here working out.

“We’ve still got talent, no matter what anybody says,” he continued. “Regardless of what anybody says, we still have more talent than any other team. So we don’t have to rebuild, we just reload.”

Wilson is a two-year starting center, who learned the position as back up to Josh Boren during his sophomore year. Wilson played defensive tackle his freshman year and moved to the offensive line when there was a shortage of linemen.

“At the time, they told me I would just be there for a little while, but as you can see I have been there more than a little while,” Wilson said. “I got used to it. It got fun and I got good at it. I like it.”

Wilson was accompanied to the interview by his dad Clint, who has become a fixture at the South Panola field house during workouts and practices.

Wilson said he does not mind sharing his dad with the other guys.

“I don’t mind because he has had an influence on me and he can have an influence on other people,” Wilson said. “Whatever he does to help me, he can do to help other people.”

Clint  Wilson said he gets encouraged being around the young people.

“I like to talk to them to encourage them,” Clint said. “I try to show them what they need to do to survive in this type of society.”

Clint talked about how America has shifted from an industrialized society to a computer/technology society.

“If people don’t think this is where American is headed, they are deeply wrong,” the dad said. “Manufacturing in this country is dead.”

That’s why Clint said he tries to encourage the students to stay in their books.

“A number of kids have come through,” Clint said. “They are successful in football and fail in books. I try to keep them in tune with what they need to know to succeed.”

Jonathan agreed with his father’s philosophy and has taken a leadership role on the team.

He said the senior class of 2008 is a big class on the football team. He and some of the other seniors have taken it upon themselves to make sure everyone is at practice.

“We try to anchor the team right now,” Wilson said. “We make sure we all keep our heads right, make sure everybody knows what we have to do going into this year.

“Each  year gets harder to win,” Wilson continued.

Wilson has heard Warren Central bragging about its offensive line. He also heard on Mississippi Sportstalk that Provine is expected to represent the North.

“I believe Warren Central is just scared,”  Wilson said boldly. “Anybody else who has us the first game are talking to hide their fears. I won’t lie. If I had to play South Panola, I would be worried, too, to have them the first game. It’s bad to start off the year with a loss. But we are going to take it to them just as hard as anybody else.”

As for Provine, he said they gave Provine some false hope during the spring game. Provine played a good game against South Panola, but according to Wilson, the Tigers did not play their best ball. They were experimenting with some plays and setups.

Wilson predicts Clarksdale will be their toughest opponent on the schedule this year. His prediction is that Clarksdale will end the season as 4A state champs and a 14-1 record. The lone loss being to South Panola.

“They have a quick defense like ours,” Wilson said. “They can fill up a hole quickly. That’s when our back has to come into his own. That’s when you see how good your back is.

“Clarksdale has a lot of speed on that team and that is where they can cause some problems,” Wilson said. “They still don’t have as much talent on their team as us, when it all comes down to it. We may have to grind that one out, but we are going to come home with the victory.”

South Panola will host Clarksdale for its home opener on September 7.

Wilson and the team do not look forward to playing Grenada. He said they had a bad experience with the opponent “playing dirty” and doing things on the field trying to get them to react and get in trouble.

Wilson was born here but grew up in Chicago. His family and he moved back during his eighth grade year. In Chicago, kids did not play football until high school. He played some city league football but was told at age 12 he was too big to play with the other kids.

He and his father made the trip to Jackson from Chicago in 2002 to watch  South Panola and Wayne County in the state championship game.

He decided then he wanted to play football for South Panola and they moved back to Batesville.

Wilson made the watch list and has some interest from Memphis, Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss. He missed a visit by the Ole Miss coaches when he went to Chicago one weekend.

Wilson said he was upset that he was not in town for that visit, but glad that he caught the interest of the Rebels.