NP Cougars football

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 2, 2007

Cougars: win or go home tonight

By Brad Greer

Three weeks ago, North Panola was sitting undefeated and all alone atop the District-3 3A standings and looked like a cinch for the playoffs.

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But after district setbacks to Independence and Senatobia, the Cougars are fighting for their post-season lives tonight as they travel to Tunica to face Rosa Fort in a winner-take-all battle for the No. 4 and final playoff spot. The winner of tonight’s contest will face the Region 4 No. 1 seed Velma Jackson next Friday in the first round of the North 3A playoffs.

Both Rosa Fort and North Panola come into tonight’s contest with identical 4-5 records overall and 3-2 in district play. The Cougars were blanked by Senatobia 35-0 last week while the Lions eased past Lewisburg 35-14.

In other games involving district teams, Byhalia (6-3; 5-1) hosts New Albany. Holly Springs (3-6; 1-4) travels to Lewisburg ( 1-8; 0-5) while Independence (5-4; 3-2) hosts Senatobia (7-2; 4-1) in a crucial match that will decide the No. 2 seed. Byhalia will head into next week’s playoffs as the top seed.

The Lions are led by senior quarterback Will Dunn and the backfield duo of junior RB/LB Shaviea  McKinnley and sophomore RB/LB Courtney Vaughn. McKinnley has scored seven touchdowns on the year while Vaughn has found the endzone 13 times this season including five times in last weeks victory over Lewisburg.

One of the problem areas concerning North Panola will be the ability to stop the  rushing attack of Rosa Fort. The Cougar defense has given up over 200 yards rushing in the last three games. In the last three contests leading up to that, the Cougars had held their opponents to less than 200 total offense.

In last week’s lost to Senatobia, senior Bruce Wilbourn accounted for 127 of his team’s 193 yards with 48 yards rushing and 19 receiving yards. Roderick Frost hauled in three catches for 57 yards.