NP v Holly Springs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2008

North Panola battles to a district win over Holly Springs, 20-13

By Myra Bean
It was a battle for dominance between North Panola and Holly Springs Friday night in a 3-3A contest of wills.

North Panola head coach Clifton Davis Jr. was ecstatic Monday morning that his team overcame adversity to take a 20-13 district win over Holly Springs.

North Panola got the edge thanks in part to a first-half fumble recovery in the end zone by Kent Lyons.

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At that point it was hard to tell what the outcome of the game would be, but making Holly Springs pay for its mistake was just the ticket for this district win.

“We grew up this week some,” Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr. said.

Holly Springs surpassed North Panola in total yardage for the night with 286 with 209 passing and 77 rushing. North Panola had 205 total yards with 119 passing and 86 rushing.

The game was scoreless following the first quarter. Just a couple of minutes into the second quarter, Holly Springs scored on a seven-yard pass and kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Lyons’ fumble recovery in the end zone with 3:01 left in the half put the Cougars on the boards, but the two-point conversion for the lead failed. The Cougars were down 7-6 going into halftime.

The drive had Holly Springs in the middle of the field, but three successive sacks by Tyrus Mack and Cortez Hibbler pushed Holly Springs deep into their own territory.

It was again a battle in the third quarter as neither team could find the end zone, but action heated up in the fourth quarter.

Senior Cougar running back Vernon Lewis scored on a nine-yard run with 11:38 left in the game, but the two-point conversion failed. The Cougars led for the first time 12-7.

Holly Springs retook the lead on a 32-yard pass but missed the two-point conversion and led slightly 13-12 with 3:10 left in the game. The Hawks punted but the ball only went 10 yards and hit a Cougar on the leg and Holly Springs recovered the ball. The North Panola cornerback missed the pass and Holly Springs caught it for the touchdown.

With a minute ticked off the clock and 2:15 left in the game, North Panola went ahead again on a Lewis 18-yard run. The Cougars drove 90 yards in a minute. They started on their own 10 yard line after a block in the back penalty on the kickoff. Quarterback Quin Ellis found Kiwanis Bobo for the two-point conversion and the 20-13 lead. The Cougars held on for the win to go 2-2 overall, 1-0 district.

Davis was very complimentary on the receivers making catches this week. He said Ellis did the same as he always did, but the receivers held on to the ball.

Ricky Hunt had six receptions for 87 yards to lead the receivers. Bobo had one for 17. Lewis was one for 12.

On defense, Mack and Hibbler each had 10 tackles. Davis said he expects that of them each week, but defensive end Jarmetric McNeil had an “exceptional game,” according to Davis.

“McNeil was constantly in the offense’s face,” Davis said.

Lewis led in rushing with 38 yards on nine carries, followed by Rodregus Salter with 28 yards on seven carries.

Mack had four kickoffs, averaging 55 yards per kick. He had three punts with a 36.7-yard average.

The Cougars will be celebrating homecoming this week with the theme “A Look Back at the ‘70s.” The annual coronation will be Wednesday night in the high school auditorium. The 2008 king and queen will be announced at this time.

The Cougars will take on district foe Byhalia (0-4, 0-1) who lost to district opponent Lewisburg 41-20 Friday night.