SP football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 4, 2007

61 and counting, the SP ‘Streak’ continues

By Myra Bean

VICKSBURG – Though some cracks were found in its veneer, the foundation of the South Panola Tigers remained solid.

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The Tiger’s “streak” remains intact as South Panola held off a determined Warren Central Viking team, 31-18, in the first game of the Red Carpet Bowl Thursday night.

One of the cracks was a 70-yard kickoff return by the Viking’s Benwau Caple, which followed a Viking safety.

In his post game interview, first year coach Lance Pogue acknowledge the problems. He said he thought the kickoff team was ready to go but that proved they had some work to do.

Pogue directed the Tigers to their 61st consecutive win while getting his first win as the Tiger coach.

South Panola’s leading scorer for the evening was tailback Darius “Tig” Barksdale with 261 yards on 31 carries. Barksdale scored two touchdowns on runs of three and one yards, respectively.

Junior quarterback David Renfroe completed six of 11 passes for 58 yards, had one touchdown, kicked a field goal and was four of four on extra point kicks.

Renfroe got the Tigers on the board first with a three yard run with 9:58 to go in the first half.  Renfroe faked the handoff to Barksdale, swung left  and went into the end zone unmolested. He also kicked the extra point.

Justin Market scored on a  12-yard touchdown with 4:05 left in the first half to put the Tigers up 14-0 after Renfroe’s extra point kick.

Warren Central got on the scoreboard for the first time after Montez Austin’s interception was negated due to a holding call. That moved the ball to the Tiger 41-yard line.

With some hard running and passing, Warren Central moved the ball to the three yard line and scored on a two-yard touchdown with 1:31 left in the half. With the PAT, the Tiger lead was cut 14-7.

To continue the scoring in the second half, Barksdale scored on a three-yard run with 10:18 on the third quarter clock.

Warren Central was three and out on its next possession, but backed up the Tigers on the one-yard line with the punt.

Barksdale was sacked in the end zone for the safety and the lead was cut 21-9. Then with the kickoff returned for the touchdown, the lead was further cut to 21-15 with the missed PAT due to a high snap.

That caused some more sweating from the fans and the coaching staff as that score stood at the end of the third quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, South Panola had the ball on the Viking eight yard line threatening to score. Two incomplete passes and a holding call backed the Tigers up to the 17-yard line. On fourth and goal from the 17, Renfroe kicked a 34-yard field goal for a 24-15 lead.

The Vikings answered that kick with a kick of their own from 26 yards out with 4:50 left in the game.

The Tigers got the ball back on the kickoff and drove it down to the one-yard line where Barksdale scored the final touchdown of the evening with 1:50 left.

Renfroe’s PAT was good for the 31-18 score.

Pogue was complimentary of Barksdale saying Barksdale make things happen for the Tigers.

“We feel the offensive line is our strength,” Pogue said. “He hammers in there and finds some holes.”

Though it was hot, humid and muggy, the tempers of the fans were probably hotter as South Panola was hit with 12 penalties with a loss of 101 yards, while Warren Central was only hit with four penalties for 28 yards.

The mistakes the Tigers committed in this game will have to be worked on starting with practice at 8:30 Monday morning, Pogue said.

“We obviously have to have a better effort next week,” he said. “We have work to do. We have a big time game in Batesville next week.”

South Panola, No. 1 state-ranked team, will be taking on the No. 2 team in the state, Clarksdale on Friday.

Clarksdale played Vicksburg at the Red Carpet Bowl Friday night.

At the end of the game, South Panola was presented with the Red Carpet Bowl trophy.

The players said after the presentation that particular trophy was going in the field house.

The Tigers ground out 323 rushing yards and held the Vikings to a  minus 15 rushing yards.

In the air, the Vikings had 76 yards to the Tigers 58 yards. South Panola had 381 total offensive yards while the Vikings had 61.

The ticket booth will open Friday at 6 p.m.