NP Cougars

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2007

Cougars raising eyebrows

By Brad Greer

With all the hoopla surrounding nationally-ranked and four time state champion South Panola, there is another team in Panola County that is raising some eyebrows.

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The North Panola Cougars (4-2 overall, 3-0 district), will put its three-game winning streak on the line tonight as they host the 4-A Oxford Chargers in the final non-district game of the season starting at 7 p.m.

Both teams are coming off impressive wins last week as North Panola defeated Lewisburg 42-14 while Oxford pounded Indianola Gentry 38-9.

Bruce Wilbourn scored three touchdowns and recorded 267 all-purpose yards, while quarterback Quin Ellis passed for a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more, while the Cougar defense forced five turnovers while holding Lewisburg under 200 yards total offense.

Roderick Frost, Darius Loveberry, Tyrus Mack and Brandon Williams each had fumble recoveries while Randy House intercepted a pass in the victory.

Wilbourn leads the team with 507 yards rushing and nine touchdowns to go along with 961 yards in all-purpose yards. Ellis meanwhile has completed 35 of 90 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Oxford, meanwhile, comes in tonight’s game with a 3-3 record after starting the year 1-3. All three of the Chargers losses have  been by a combined 15 points. Oxford defeated Charleston (36-12) then lost to Horn Lake (17-15), Senatobia (19-13) and cross county rival Lafayette County (21-14) in overtime before defeating Cleveland (26-19) two weeks ago.

North Panola head coach Clifton Davis Jr. expects this to be one of the Cougars’ stiffest tests of the season.

“Oxford has a real good passing attack,” he said. “They will use two quarterbacks. They are very solid defensively with some very good linebackers.

“It will be a very big challenge for us tonight,” Davis continued. “They will be the biggest team that we have played all year. We are just going to have to eliminate some of the mistakes that we’ve made last week.”

Davis predicts it will be a big stepping-stone if the Cougars win tonight.

“I would rank Oxford up there with Ripley and Lafayette County as the stronger teams we have played this year,” he said.

A trio of quarterbacks led by senior Matthew Shaw (6’3; 180 pounds), will be under center for the Chargers. Junior Riley Saunders (6’0; 169) and sophomore Jay Hughes could see playing time. Shaw has thrown five touchdown passes so far on the year.

Running-back Derrick Williams (5’10; 165) will also be in the back field. Seniors Haratio Williams (6’2; 180) and Taylor McGraw (6’3; 186) will be the wide receiver’s. Williams is an Ole Miss commitment. Junior Brian Evans (6’6; 315) anchors the offensive line.

Davis said junior running-back Kenny Jones is expected to return to the lineup after missing five weeks with a hair-line fracture of his foot suffered in the first game of the season against Coahoma County.