Myra Bean column

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Batesville prepares for Florida visitors

Everything has been painted and spit-shined in preparation for tonight’s ESPNU debut of the South Panola Tigers.

This Super Bowl Clash of the South has the town and school making sure all t’s are crossed and i’s dotted to showcase the best of what Panola County has to offer. All of this is happening because of the main event: the nationally ranked South Panola Tigers vs. the sometimes nationally ranked Apopka Blue Darters.

A blue darter, according to Thesaurus, is a bluish-grey North American hawk having a darting flight.

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This is the first such meeting between these teams and has people across the nation talking, taking vacations to come see the game and probably taking a few bets on the side.

The Franklins vs. the Mackeys

Speaking of bets, South Panola staff member Sylvia Franklin revealed the ongoing saga in her family.

Her brother, Rufus Mackey, now lives in Apopka, Fla. and has two children. Rufus staunchly believes in the South Panola Tigers. His 12-year-old son, William, meanwhile staunchly believes in Apopka, since they only live two blocks from the school.

William and Sylvia’s 12-year-old son Peyton has a little side bet going. Sylvia said at first they were betting $100 and she told them  to back off. So now it’s at $20.

They are burning the phone lines up with all their talk of who’s going to do what on the field tonight.

“You should just hear them,” Sylvia said.

Rufus lives in a house divided in Apopka. His wife and two children are for the Blue Darters. He is for South Panola.


There is just a big party atmosphere going on around town. Across from The Panolian, the ESPN light truck and the satellite vehicle have been topics of conversation. There is just not enough light available for television so they brought their own.

The South Panola maintenance staff has been working hard all summer and especially this week getting everything ready for tonight. Department manager Keith Moore said they have gotten behind on some other stuff and need to get caught up.

Speaking of party, there will be a big one in front of Quiznos in the Eaglecrest Parking Lot today from 2 to 5 p.m. Mayor Jerry Autrey, South Panola head coach Lance Pogue and principal Dr. Gearl Loden will speak, along with former players Cassius “B” Ware and Paul Morgan to get the crowd ready for the big game. The South Panola cheerleaders will also make an appearance.

The public is invited to attend. There will be giveaways and just a lot of fun, according to Stan Sandroni of Q93.7.

There is sure to be some tailgating going on around the stadium making mouths water for some good ole grilled burgers.

Most of all, welcome to Batesville, Miss., Florida visitors. We hope you enjoy your stay, no matter how short it is.