NP Cougar football

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 9, 2007

NP Cougars and Charleston to tangle

By Brad Greer

Though it seems like forever, four years ago to be exact, but the  North Panola Cougars  have made it back to the Class 3A playoffs.

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The journey to  Jackson’s Mississippi Memorial Stadium and the  3A state championship begins tonight as the Cougars travel to Charleston for a 7 p.m kickoff in the first round of the North 3A playoffs.

North Panola (5-5) will enter as the District 3 third place finisher while Charleston (6-4)  is the District 4 runner-up.

Both clubs are coming off impressive wins last week as North Panola defeated Rosa Fort 36-15 to qualify for the playoffs while Charleston  got past Lexington McClain 24-12. The Tigers lone district losscame against district champion Velma Jackson 8-7 on Oct.19.

Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr. said one thing that impressed him about the Tigers was their speed.

“They are one of the fastest teams we will play this season. They are not big size-wise, but overall team speed is their greatest strength. Their quarterback is an adequate passer and they have a pair of solid running backs. On defense, they probably will stack eight and nine men on the line of scrimmage and make us throw the ball. But our guys are excited to be in the playoffs and will be ready for the challenge,” said Davis.

Freshman quarterback Quin Ellis will return to the starting lineup tonight after leaving last week’s game with a shin injury. Also, tailback Bruce Wilbourn sustained a pulled groin on a 65-yard touchdown run, but Davis said Wilbourn is  85 percent and will be ready to play tonight.

Charleston, who is coached by Perry Liles, is led by senior quarterback Clint Harris. Junior running back Quontarian Murray has 11 touchdowns while sophomore RB/DB Jeffery Rainey has found the endzone seven times this season.

The Tigers started the year 1-3, but rebounded to win five of the last six games. Charleston lost to Oxford (36-12)  to begin the season then blanked West Tallahatchie (48-0) before falling to defending 3A champ Franklin County (17-6) and Grenada (14-8).

In other playoff action: District 3 No.1 seed Byhalia hosts District 4 No. 4 seed Humphreys County. No. 2 seed Senatobia hosts  No. 3 Lexington McClain while District 3 No. 4 seed Independence travels to District 4 No.1 seed Velma Jackson.