Published 12:00 am Friday, October 26, 2007
NP in running to get piece of district 3-3A championship pie
By Brad Greer
If someone were to ask any North Panola football player when was the last time the Cougars won a district title, they might get a blank stare back. That’s because most, if not all, of them were not yet born.
North Panola can clinch at least a share of the district championship for the first time since 1990 tonight as they head up I-55 to face long time rival Senatobia in a 7 p.m kickoff.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Senatobia, North Panola and Byhalia are all locked in a three-way tie for first place. Byhalia (5-3; 4-1) travels to Holly Springs ( 3-5; 2-3) while Independence (5-3; 3-2) steps out of district play to host Kosciusko (5-3) and Tunica Rosa Fort (3-5; 1-4) visits Lewisburg (1-7; 0-4)
Senatobia comes into tonight’s battle with a district record of 3-1 and 6-2 overall while North Panola is also 3-1 in district and 4-4 on the year.
The Warriors pounded Lewisburg 49-6 last week while the Cougars fell to Independence 34-14. Senatobia’s losses have come against Itawamba AHS (17-7) and to Byhalia (38-37) with victories over Corinth, (21-10) Oxford, (19-13) Water Valley, (42-0) Rosa Fort (47-7) and Holly Springs (14-6).
North Panola head coach Clifton Davis Jr. calls tonight’s clash one of the biggest in years.
“We can control our own destiny with a win. The kids know what is at stake here and what they can accomplish,” said Davis. “ We’ve got to play well in all phases of the game in order to win and that includes special teams. Senatobia seems to play for the district championship or is in the thick of it every year.”
One of the challenges facing the North Panola defense will be trying to stop Warrior running back V.J. Street.
The six-foot 200-pound senior has rushed for over 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns on the year including six carries for 249 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win over Lewisburg. Davis called Street the best running back his club has faced all season.
Senior Bedford Hunt (5’11; 175 pounds) will be under center for the Warriors while senior fullback/linebacker Brandon Clark (5’-11”; 200) joins Street in the backfield.
“We’ve got to match their intensity level. We’ve got to take the fight to them and dish out whatever they throw back at us. I feel like the kids are ready to play and give it their all for 48 minutes,” said Davis.