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SP Sanford and Pope

Tiger seniors’ prediction comes true

By Myra Bean

Back in the summer Quin Sanford was adamant South Panola was going to return to the state championship in 2007.

“I know for a fact we are going back,” the senior offensive lineman predicted in late July.

Five months later the Tigers made it so. South Panola will compete for its seventh state championship against George County of Lucedale tonight.

Sanford is one of three South Panola players who has committed to play football at Ole Miss next fall. Sanford is also one of four South Panola players who will take part in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game next Saturday, December 15, in Mobile, Ala.

Making the commitment last summer to play at Ole Miss was no big deal for Sanford at the time. He thought he would be playing for Ed Orgeron. Recently, Orgeron was replaced by former Arkansas coach, Houston Nutt. Sanford is more excited than ever to get a chance to play for the Rebels next year.

“There was nothing really about it. I took a little visit over there, liked the campus and stuff,” he said. “We really looked at the academics, moreso than the football team. They want us to not only play football but fall back on something if you don’t make it to the big league. (I) just liked the campus and all our kinfolks are over there. I went on and made the commitment. Ole Miss is kind of like home.”

Sanford has one of those faces which makes him look young and not very tough. He is aware of that. He said people do not think he is that tough on the field, but he is.

He and the rest of the Tiger offensive line has blocked out the opponents’ defenses and put running back Darius “Tig” Barksdale in a position of breaking a state record this year with tonight’s game.

Barksdale can break the 5A state rushing record with 108 yards tonight.

“We are better on the offensive line,” Sanford said. “They have been starting since 10th grade year. We know the routine.”

On the defense, Sanford said the defensive line, along with the whole defense, has more speed this year.

Sanford made the Rivals.com recruiting list, but he never thought he would. He has a three-star rating with a 5.5 Rivals Ranking and nationally ranked No. 49. The 6’3”, 270-pound lineman runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds.

Sanford sent a message to the fans that they have nothing to worry about.

“I like the whole coaching staff,” he said. “I feel so confident around them that I feel they can take us back to the state championship with no problem.

He is the son of Ted Sanford and Jacqueline Bobo and attends Liberty Hill Baptist  Church.

Sanford said his parents have a big influence on his life.

“My dad keeps on pushing me even when I feel like I want to give up,” he said. “My mom will do the same thing. Every once in a while, she will sit down and talk to me about what I want to do in life. She told me I don’t really have to play football but she knows I love football so she won’t ever let me give up. I appreciate what my mom and dad do to keep pushing me on.”

Terrance Pope

Defensive end Terrance Pope is a member of Pope Chapel. He said he feels like he has the whole town of Pope cheering him on.

He is a member of Pope Chapel and the son of Tasha Pope nad Julian Vaughn.

Before the season started, there was a lot of debate on who would showcase the best defense for the season. Pope and the Tigers were bound and determined to stop all that debating and prove who had the best defense.

Pope predicted the Tigers would give the fans a show. They did with plenty of come from behind victories to highlight the 2007 season.

Pope is listed on the scout.com website. He is not ranked but has a two-star rating. He said he was surprised to find himself listed among the top to be recruited.

“I just started playing football in the seventh grade – just to be going out there and it turned into this,” the 6’3, 260-pound end said.

Some people who have impacted his life include his cousin Justin Pope who played defensive end on the 1998 state championship team and his brother James Pope, who played basketball and football.

Pope listed his school choices as Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.