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Friday night highlights

 The Drive For 5South Panola defeats Olive Branch 43-28

By Myra Bean
The South Panola Tigers are one step closer to claiming a fifth straight state championship after a stimulating 43-28 win over Olive Branch Friday night in the north half championship. The Tigers now hold a 74-game win streak.

Olive Branch jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. South Panola scored to bring the score 10-7. Then took a 14-13 lead into halftime.

Olive Branch recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half on the 19 yard line and scored to go ahead 19-14 after the two-point conversion failed.

South Panola went ahead on two touchdowns 29-19. A high snap on a punt went over punter David Renfroe’s head for a safety for Olive Branch to close the gap 29-21.

It was all Tiger ball after that as the Tigers led 43-21 until a last minute touchdown pass by Olive Branch to close the gap again 43-28.

Team leader Darius “Tig” Barksdale rushed 31 times for 409 yards and four touchdowns. This includes an interception returned 42 yards for a touchdown.

Quarterback David Renfroe connected with Justin Market right before the half on an 18-yard pass for a touchdown to take a 14-13 lead into halftime after Renfroe’s PAT.

South Panola had a total offense of 505 yards including 417 rushing and 88 passing on six completions.

Olive Branch was held to nine yards rushing, but completed 10 of 39 passes for 232 yards and two interceptions.

Tiger cornerback Montez Austin intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter to stop a potential touchdown.

South Panola will meet George County of Lucedale in the 5A state championship game next Friday at 7:30 p.m. George County dominated last year state runner up Meridian 33-12 to win the South State Championship.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting announced in a news release the state championship games will be televised this year.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting will provide statewide coverage of the 2007 state high school football championships, according to the release. Fans statewide can catch all of the action of the MHSAA/FedEx State football Championship presented by BankPlus LIVE on both Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) television and online at www.mpbonline.org Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8.

The complete schedule is as follows:
Friday, December 7, 2A at 2:30 p.m., 5A at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 8, 1A at 11 a.m.; 3A at 3 p.m.; and 4A at 7 p.m.