SP Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tigers hold OB to zero TDs

By Myra Bean

Even the best teams have to play without their best players sometimes and South Panola is no exception.

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Serving a one-game suspension, senior tailback Darius “Tig” Barksdale was not able to help the Tigers as they downed visiting  No. 2 Olive Branch 17-3 in homecoming.

The Tigers came together as a team and held Olive Branch’s explosive offense to three points and 60 yards of total offense.

Junior quarterback David Renfroe was the workhorse of the night booting a 26-yard field goal, scoring on a two-yard run and kicking two of two PATs (point after touchdowns).

Olive Branch learned senior running back Justin Market’s number and held him to just 12 yards on eight carries Friday night. The Quistors tried to get a bead on sophomore running back Nicholas Parker, but he muscled his way to 126 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown.

The Tiger special teams were instrumental in the victory that had fans tailgating from 11 a.m. on both sides.

A fake punt and subsequent first down in the third quarter by junior linebacker David Conner, gave the Tigers extra push needed to set up Parker’s one-yard touchdown with 6:42 on the clock. The Tigers were on the Quistors’ 44 yard line. Conner took the snap and raced to the 22 yard line with 9:12 on the clock.

Renfroe hooked up with senior tightend David Baker for a 15-yard pass. Baker was tackled at the one yard line.

“Next time I am going to jump or something,” Baker said after the game.

Special teams were also instrumental in getting an Olive Branch punt in good field position. The Tigers blocked the punt  and Joshua Shipp was there to make the tackle at the Olive Branch 36 yard line. That set up Renfroe’s field goal with 35 seconds to go in the first half.

The score was 3-0 going into halftime.

When was the last time South Panola was held scoreless in the first quarter? First two games of the season.

In the Warren Central and Clarksdale games, the first quarters also ended 0-0.

The third quarter was the big offensive quarter in the low scoring affair.

Olive Branch got on the boards with a 37-yard field goal by Jeremiah Revord with 4:20 on the clock.

Quistor quarterback Ryant Denton threw two back-to- back passes to the end zone which were broken up by Chris Butler and Montez Austin, respectively.

On the kickoff, Market returned the ball to the Tiger 16-yard line.

On second and nine from the 17, Parker took advantage of a big hole opened by the offensive line and sprinted right up the middle to the Quistor two yard line. On first and goal from the two, Renfroe scored with 3:14 left in the third quarter.

With the PAT, the Tigers scored the final points of the evening.

Nikki Dillon was crowned homecoming queen at halftime.

In the second half, Tiger senior linebacker Justin Carothers recovered a fumble but the Tigers punted the possession away.

The Quistors were on the Tiger 36 yard line on fourth and two and tried to fake their punt, but junior linebacker Marvin Burdette tackled the runner behind the line of scrimmage and forced a turnover on downs.

The Tigers had their own problems with Olive Branch on the next possession as Renfroe was sacked on fourth and six from the 19 and the Tigers had to turn the ball over on downs.

Senior defensive end Terrance Pope got a sack in the fourth quarter as Olive Branch lost seven yards on the play bringing up third and 17. Olive Branch put the ball up but it was incomplete and forced another turnover on downs.

Renfroe completed four of eight passes for 21 yards and no touchdowns.

The Tigers had 149 rushing yards and were penalized eight times for 55 yards.

“I was just proud of our players,” head coach Lance Pogue said. “With three to nothing at halftime and the game was in doubt, we came out in the second half with an outstanding attitude, a will to win.

“The fake punt to start the third quarter really gave us a boost,” Pogue added. “We punched that in and went up 10-0. We played great defense and got another score.”

Pogue paid special homage to the defense in the kicking game.

“We got some mileage out of our kicking game,” he said.

“Offensively, we weren’t really great, but we punched it in when we had the opportunities,” Pogue added. “Overall it was a great team effort. I am really proud of our players, seniors and really proud of our coaching staff. They did a great job of preparation.”

Senior center Jonathan Wilson said it was a hard game.

“Olive Branch really came to play,” Wilson said. “We had to step it up in the second half after only scoring three points in the first. Sort of made us think we weren’t as good as we thought. We showed everybody just how good we are when we pulled off that victory in the end.”

Junior David Conner said it was the 12,500 fans who kept the team going.

“I just want to thank all the fans for keeping everyone pumped up,” he said. “The offense got down a little bit but as a team the defense let them know that we got their backs, whatever it takes to keep it going.”

The Tigers will be on the road Friday to face another district foe in Columbus for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Columbus’ superintendent is Dr. Del Phillips, former South Panola High School principal.