NP Cougars v Byhalia

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cougars rout Byhalia 50-21 in homecoming

By Myra Bean

Despite turning over the ball twice at the one-yard line, the North Panola Cougars (3-2 overall, 2-0 district) had an impressive victory over Byhalia for homecoming 50-21 on Friday.

As the overflow crowd came to witness the presentation of Shenika Eppenger as Miss Homecoming and the rest of the homecoming court, the Cougar team put on a performance that would not disappoint the court or the crowd. The Cougar team also showed off their new home uniforms with the familiar red and white colors.

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Before the Cougar offense got on the field, the North Panola defense and special teams had already scored 14 points. On first and 10 of Byhalia’s opening possession, Cougar Darius Loveberry intercepted a pass and returned it for a 53-yard touchdown. Kiwanis Bobo scored the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

Byhalia punted away its next possession and on the return Cougar’s Ricky Hunt went the distance for a 38-yard touchdown with 10:52 on the first quarter clock. The two-point conversion failed and the Cougars led 14-0.

Byhalia got the next possession on their own 31-yard line, but was stopped for a loss of 14 yards by Tyrus Mack and Loveberry. Then on second and 16 from the 17, Byhalia hooked up for an 83-yard touchdown pass with 10:03 left in the first quarter, but the two-point conversion failed. Byhlia trailed 14-6.

North Panola scored one more time in the first quarter. Vernon Lewis scored on a 10-yard run with 5:19 left. The two-point conversion failed. The possession was aided by a high snap on the punt and the Cougars got the ball at the Byhalia 24 yard line and finished the drive in five plays. At the end of the first quarter, North Panola led 20-7.

Both teams scored in the second quarter. Byhalia scored on a 14-yard pass with 2:49 left in the half and kicked the extra point to cut the lead 20-14.

North Panola fumbled on the one-yard line and Byhalia recovered. The possession was aided by a 31-yard run and four completed passes.

North Panola was in hurry-up offensive mode and moved the ball from its own 20 on a 39-yard run by Lewis. Then, for the touchdown, Marque Phillips caught a 30-yard pass which was deflected off the hand of a Byhalia defender trying to break up and intercept the pass. With 1:15 left in the half, North Panola was up 28-14 after a little trickaroo two-point conversion. Quarterback Quin Ellis handed off the ball to Hunt who then passed it to Bobo for the score.

The third quarter went swiftly as Byhalia had the ball most of the quarter, but was not able to score due to the tenacity of the Cougar defense. Sacks were recorded by Memphis transfer Kenneth Lyons, newly added to the Cougar roster and by Mack to force a turnover on downs.

The only Cougar score in the third quarter was a 35-yard run by Rodregus Salter with 6:13 left. The possession was two plays and took 28 seconds and covered 55 yards. The two-point conversion failed and North Panola led 34-14 going into the final quarter.

North Panola had the ball going into the final quarter and ran time off the clock. The Cougars scored with 6:41 left in the game. Hunt capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive with an 18-yard pass from Ellis. On a handoff from Ellis, Lewis passed the ball to Hunt for the two-point conversion and a 42-14 lead.

During the possession, there was an attempt to punt, but the snap was high. Punter Mack took the ball and ran from his own 41 to the Byhlia 20 for the first down. The Cougars recovered a fumbled ball but lost 10 yards back to the 18.

Byhalia started moving the ball down the field in the fourth quarter and scored with 4:47 left in the game on a 19-yard pass and kicked the PAT to cut the lead 42-21.

The Cougar’s final score of the evening was a 13-yard run by Lewis with 2:25 left in the game. Lewis also scored the two-point conversion for the 50-21 lead and win. The touchdown capped a five-play, 50-yard drive which was aided by a runs of 15, 9 and 5 by by Lewis and an 18-yard run by Salter.

The Cougars logged 438 total offensive yards including 298 rushing and 140 passing. Byhalia had 331 total yards, 78 rushing, 253 passing.

Lewis was the Cougars’ leading rusher with 155 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.

Other rushers include Mack, 68 yards on three carries and Salter, 45 yards on eight carries and one touchdown.

Ellis had 21 rushing yards on seven carries and completed eight of 19 attempts for 140 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Receiving the ball were Phillips, 92 yards, two receptions, one touchdown; Lewis, 31 yards, five receptions; and Hunt, 17 yards, one reception, one touchdown.

Mack had eight kickoffs of 400 yards and three punts for 110 yards.

The Cougars will be on the road for the next three games. Friday, they will travel to Lewisburg to take on the Patriots who lost to non-conference foe Southern Baptist 63-48 Friday. Kickoff is 7 p.m.