Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008
By Myra Bean
North Panola head football coach Clifton Davis Jr. sat down for an interview right after school to layout the future of the North Panola football program.
In 1996 when North Panola went under a conservator due to low funds, the athletic and football programs were threatened to be cut. That is not the case under the new conservator.
Academics are the problem this time and Davis reports he has not lost any players due to grades.
“I am preaching that all the time,” Davis said. “You have to be a student first then an athlete. You have to balance both of them out. You can be an outstanding student and an outstanding athlete.”
The football team will attend a camp at Clarksdale High this summer. The Southern Mississippi coaching staff will conduct the camp.
Otherwise, the players will be expected to show up at the field house for summer workouts. Davis hopes to have 50 players dressed out for the team this upcoming season. Seven from last year’s team graduated.
“We have a good nucleus coming back,” Davis said. “If everybody works as hard as they did when I got here in July, we will be competitive.”
Some players he is expecting to lead the team include seniors Tyrus Mack, Rodregus Salter and Vernon Lewis. Other underclass leaders include Quenatrious Hibbler, Cortez Hibbler and Mareco Tolliver.”
Basically we have our entire line except Templeton (Hardy),” Davis said. “If everybody comes back and works hard, as attentive as they were, we should be competitive.”
A big hole in Davis’ scheme that has to be filled concerns the coaching staff. North Panola will have to replace a minimum of three coaches.
“Our coaching staff has been decimated,” Davis said. “I have talked to a couple of former players who played under me. We will inform them when the changes are complete.”
Defensive coordinator Eddie Maxson left to head coach Shelby. Eric Rice is now an assistant at South Panola. Ray Jackson is playing in the arena league in Georgia.
Remaining is Davis, offensive coordinator Clifton Davis III and assistant Troiski Pettis.
North Panola opens the season with two home games Coahoma County and Ripley on August 29 and September 5, respectively.