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Myra Bean column

Merry Christmas from The Panolian Sports Department

Sometimes it seems the year go fast and when you look up it’s three days before Christmas and you have not started your shopping.

No matter what else is going on, hopefully a big thank you is always in order.

It has been quite a colorful year in sports in Panola County. It seems to me sports is expanding as more children are born and parents have more children participating.

This year is really interesting as the seniors are the children who grew up with my child Danielle and they are all preparing to graduate in May. I will mimic the old saying, “Where has the time gone?”

I won’t get into all of that I just want to say a few things on this most special of holidays and then I will let you get back to what you are doing.

I want to publicly thank the three people who help me throughout the year with coverage of the sports in Panola County: Angie Ledbetter, Andy Young and Brad Greer. I honestly could not do it without them. Andy and I came into this thing back in 1998 and Angie joined in about two years later. This year we acquired Brad and I think the sports coverage has expanded in leaps and bounds.

I have to also thank managing editor Rupert Howell for covering some things when I have been out of pocket over the year.

Now more interesting stuff:

Coach Lance Pogue

I got a call last Thursday from Rex Ladner of American Football Monthly magazine, www.americanfootballmonthly.com, a magazine for football coaches. He told me South Panola head coach Lance Pogue has been selected as the Southwest Coach of the Year. The article and photos will appear mid-January.

I talked to Coach Pogue about this and he said, “I don’t deserve it.”

I beg to differ.

Making the necessary decisions to keep the South Panola Tigers undefeated through the season and make and break other records is a tall task. Not just anyone would have been able to do it. Coach Pogue not only had to deal with the players and their parents, but relatives, fans, school officials and people who want nothing else but to see the Tigers lose a game.

He is pretty good with other media people too. When they need a photo of the team or him, he sends them all to me. That’s how I get a heads up on the rest of the world.

Now American Football Monthly is located in North Palm Beach, Fla. Why would people in Florida be thinking about high school football in Mississippi? That just shows how global South Panola has become. Coach Pogue is a major part of keeping Batesville – oh, I mean South Panola, Mississippi – on the map.

I did the South Panola, Mississippi thing because on the Toyota Line of Scrimmage, they call us South Panola, Mississippi. On the website, they just say Panola, Mississippi. It’s like the Town of Panola still exists even though Batesville replaced Panola in 1866. If you were around then when it was Panola, please let us know. We want to know who is walking around at least 155 years old.

Back to the main point. Congratulations Coach Pogue and the South Panola coaching staff and team on giving us another great year to celebrate. Yes, we are spoiled and used to winning and plan to keep on expecting you to win. Even if we L-word one day, we will just have to get through it. You do realize we have never gotten over that loss to Wayne County. We need to play them and avenge the 2002 team. That’s just not right to have that over our heads.

Santa Claus

I hope everybody read Taylor Ivy’s column in Panola People Friday about Santa Claus. She just had one thing wrong. It is important to know the names of the eight – I mean nine – reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh. Everything else was correct. I am glad she did all that research so I do not have to.

NFL

I have been remiss in coverage of the NFL this season, but our main coverage area are the high schools of Panola County. With all three football teams making the playoffs and South Panola setting records all over the place, the NFL had to be set aside for a while.

I do want to remind you I have the 169 entries for people who entered our Super Bowl contest and after this week’s games, I will be narrowing the field to see who did okay.

Our own Deshea Townsend is with the Pittsburgh Steelers who were 10-5 after Thursday’s 41-24 win over St. Louis. As of Friday, Pittsburgh led the AFC North over Cleveland. Cleveland and Cincinnati played Sunday, but with our early deadlines, the score was not available.

Townsend has 52 total tackles this year, 12 pass deflections and two interceptions.

The Steelers’ last game will be Sunday, December 30 at Baltimore at 12 p.m. cst.

Mississippi State

The Mississippi State Bulldogs will be playing Central Florida in the Autozone Liberty Bowl, Saturday, December 30 at 3:30 p.m. It will be televised on ESPN.

If you have not gotten your tickets, I hope you will be able to find some because they sold like hotcakes. A sellout crowd is expected to be on hand. This is so great for the Bulldog team.

The Liberty Bowl website declares the game sold out.

Some information about the Bulldogs include Sylvester Croom was selected the SEC Coach of the Year for the turnaround his program has taken the last three years.

Bulldog safety Derek Pegues of Batesville was selected to the second team SEC. Also on the Bulldog team is Demario Bobo, starting cornerback.  The Panolian will be represented at the game with Angie, Brad and Andy on hand to bring us the latest.

I hope the rest of your holiday season is joyous and bright and we will see you next year!