Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007
NP travels to Byhalia
By Brad Greer
In 1997, the University of Florida with their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel captured the national championship with their high- octane offense known as the “Fun -N- Gun” offense.
But tonight, North Panola will face the high school version of it as the Cougars hit the road to face the Byhalia Indians in a Region 3-3A clash at 7 p.m.
Both teams enter the game at 2-2 and 1-0 in Region play. Last week, North Panola got past Holly Springs 24-20 while Byhalia drilled district newcomer Lewisburg 66-28.
Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr. said the key in tonight’s clash will be keeping Byhalia’s offense on the sidelines.
“We are going to have to slow the tempo of the game down and control the clock. We’ve got the move the football and shorten the game. We do not want to get into a high-scoring game with them,” said Davis.
The Indians use four and five wide receivers in their formation and will throw the ball 90 percent of the time, said Davis.
Marcus Thomas will be under center for the Indians. The senior has thrown for 13 touchdowns already this season including five last week against Lewisburg. Chris Hill and Marquis Green are his main targets.
Hill has five touchdowns on the year while Green has a combined nine scores in both rushing and receiving.
Byhalia has lost to Horn Lake (33- 18) and to Bolivar Central, (Tenn.) 61-24 while defeating Desoto Central 46-41. The Indians are averaging 38 points per game but are giving up 31 points per contest.
Another key to the contest will be the play of North Panola’s defensive secondary.
“No. 31 (Green) is very explosive when we gets the ball and they have another receiver that is very good. I told our defensive backfield to bring their track shoes cause it might be a long night,” Davis said.
Offensive starters will be Quinn Ellis at quarterback with Darryel Burdette and Vernon Lewis in the backfield. The wideouts will be senior Bruce Wilbourn and freshman Ricky Hunt while Roderick Frost is at the tight end. Wilbourn scored two touchdowns in the victory over Holly Springs. Ellis scored on a 13-yard run with six minutes remaining in the third quarter for the go ahead touchdown.
The offensive line will consist of Tray Madkins at center along with David Hill and Marico Toliver at the guards and Templeton Hardy and Cortez Hibbler at the tackle poisition.
Defensive starters include Christopher Willingham at the end with Hardy and David Turner at the tackles. Curtis Arnold, Hibbler and Tyrus Mack are the linebackers. Trey Tucker and Darius Loveberry hold down the cornerback spots while Trustin Perry and Marque Phillips are the safties. Loveberry got the Cougars on the scoreboard last week with a 30- yard fumble return.
Starting defensive end Brandon Williams will miss the game with a knee injury. Davis said he hopes to have the junior back in a few weeks.
Directions: Take Highway 6 west to Oxford. Take Highway 7 exit, turn left to Holly Springs. Get on Highway 78 in Holly springs. Take left towards Memphis. Go about 15 miles and take Exit that says Highway 309. Take right and go through town, cross the railroad tracks. Will see elementary and middle schools on the hill, keep going until get to high school. Field is behind school. Or go to Senatobia and take Senatobia Exit, Highway 4. Keep straight until get to Highway 7. Turn left to go towards Holly Springs. Follow directions above.