SP Football

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 10, 2008

LaReco Lee goes up for one of his three interceptions in a recent game. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

Tigers prepare for Columbus in homecoming

By Angie Ledbetter

The South Panola Tigers (6-0 overall, 2-0 district), with their 81 game winning streak, will celebrate homecoming tonight with a “Temple of Doom” theme hosting the Columbus Falcons (1-5, 0-2) in Robert H. Dunlap Stadium.

In last year’s game between these teams, the Falcons had a 14-0 lead at the half. The Tigers fought back and scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter and seven points in the fourth to win the game.

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This game may still be on the minds of several Tigers that played in that game. There are probably several Falcons who also remember.

When it comes to this series, the Tigers own it.  Since 2003 they have out scored the Falcons 189-34. The closest game was last year.

The Tigers are coming off an emotional game against Olive Branch last week where they escaped with a 20-13 win. Columbus lost to Southaven last week 28-14 in district play.

The Falcons come into this game with nothing to lose, according to Tiger head coach Lance Pogue.

“When you have nothing to lose and have had no success, you play relaxed because you are not really expected to win.”

The Falcons opened the season by losing to No. 3 ranked Noxubee County 53-0 followed by a 42-7 loss to West Point. They lost 16-7 to New Hope and won September 19, shutting out Greenville-Weston 28-0. They started division play on September 26 and lost to Tupelo 39-12.

Falcons Head Coach Bubba Davis has a roster of 91 players that include 31 seniors, 28 juniors, 30 sophomores and two freshmen.

Leading the team will be Randy Brown, a 5’10’’, 170 sophomore quarterback. The defensive back is Jessie Leech, a 5’6’’, 205-pound senior. Wide receivers are Marcus Rice and Xavier Hunter.

On defense are Victor Deloach, a 5’11” senior lineman and Dennis Wilson 5’9” senior tightend.

“They have a new coach and are completely right in the middle of rebuilding a program,” said Pogue. “You can tell that it is a transition time and they haven’t had any success.  You know that they are fighting for success and hungry and hope they don’t turn it around right now.”

Pogue worked with the team on keeping them “grounded” and moving forward for this game.

“I’ve been pleased with our senior leadership,” Pogue said. “We can rely on those guys to help keep this thing grounded and keep trying to move forward and improve every day. I don’t expect any kind of a let down or come back like we did after that Florida game when we played Horn Lake. We are not going to be emotionally charged like we were for that Olive Branch game but I just want to play good solid football.”

Even with all the homecoming activities that went on this week, Pogue said it was not hard keeping the team focused. He wants and expected the players to take part in the school activities and to enjoy the week.

“When it is time to practice, let’s do that and when it’s time to play, let’s focus on that,” he said. “Like those seniors, it is their last time to be able to experience this. I want them to enjoy the school function part of it but at the same time, they know that the game is of major league importance and the finality of the homecoming. We don’t want to have a let down and not play well. We try to tie it all in together.”

The Tigers have out scored opponents 184-46 so far this season in six games. Running back Nicholas Parker has carried the ball 135 times for 1,036 yards with 10 touchdowns. Quarterback David Renfroe has completed 48 of 94 passes for 827 yards and eight touchdowns.

Leading the defense is dandy dozen linebacker David Conner with 39 total tackles, three for loss, 4.5 sacks, three pass deflections and one interception. Marvin Burdette follows with 33 total tackles, two for loss, four sacks and two pass deflections. Kendrick Strong is the sack leader with seven, has 23 total tackles, two for loss and one pass deflection. Leading in interceptions is LaReco Lee with three, a pass deflection and seven tackles.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. tonight and the homecoming court will be presented at halftime.