SP football v Clarksdale

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2008

SP to face rival Clarksdale

By Angie Ledbetter

The South Panola Tigers (1-0) will continue their road games tonight as they travel about an hour west to Clarksdale to take on a huge rivalry, the 4A Wildcats (0-1).

The Tigers are coming off of their first win of the season after defeating Vicksburg last week 27-6 in the second game of the 46th Red Carpet Bowl Classic but the Wildcats lost in the same bowl as Warren Central defeated them 21-12 in the first game of the night.

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The Wildcats had a 12 point lead in the game at halftime after a 50 yard and a 4 yard touchdown run but missed both PATs.  Warren Central came out in the third quarter and scored on a 39 yard pass and a 34 yard field goal to make it a 12-10 game. In the fourth quarter, Warren Central rallied and scored on a 43 yard run and a 28 yard field goal to win the game.

“They struggled a little bit the other night against Warren Central but again they had some miscues, too,” said Tiger’s Head Coach Lance Pogue. “They had a big lead that kind of got away from them. They’ll do like we did, you go back and try to work on things. I know they’ll be a lot better this week. Going over to their place, they’ll be excited to play us.”

The Tiger team’s improvement is Pogue’s focus.

“We respect everybody we play but I’m more concerned about us getting better and come Friday I think we’ll be ready to play.”

This game between the Tigers and the Wildcats go way back in history as being one of the biggest rivalries in this area. It is a known fact that no matter which place the game is played, you better get there early because it will be packed.

Even though it’s not a district game and doesn’t count for any playoff spots, it’s for big time bragging rights.

“Historically, this is our big rivalry,” said Pogue. “We had a tough game with them last year and we were fortunate to get out to an early lead and got on top of them.”

Going back to 2004, the Tigers beat the Wildcats 32-12.  In 2005, Tigers won 27-7, in 2006 Tigers won 19-13 and last year, Tigers shut them out 42-0.

Head Coach Jim Hughes’ team is much like the Tigers, sporting a field of 61 young players. The team consists of 15 seniors, 20 juniors, 24 sophomores and two freshmen.

“They’re young in some spots,” Pogue said. “They lost a lot of guys to graduation and Coach Hughes is trying to rebuild his team with some younger guys and they play hard. A few mistakes got them bit the other night.”

As a junior, James Ball will lead the team at the quarterback position.

“They have a quarterback who hasn’t played much and looked to me that he did some good things. I thought he could run around and make some big plays.”

“Clarksdale has a good defensive team,” said Pogue. “But at the same time I give a lot of credit to Warren Central, too. They were a really good football team and to come back from 12-0 tells you a little bit about their character.”

Pogue said that just goes to show that in this business that no lead is safe.

“I’m expecting to get Clarksdale’s best shot but hopefully we’ll be ready to play our best game,” he said.

Directions: Address is 1101 Wild Cat Drive
Estimated Time: 1 Hour
Take MS-6 west for 35 miles. MS-6 becomes 4th Street. Turn right onto Desoto Avenue. Turn left onto E 2nd Street going 2.2 miles. Turn slight right. Turn right onto Lee Drive/Wildcat Drive.