SP v Tupelo

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 17, 2008

South Panola fullback Reuben Corley (center) runs against Columbus in last Friday action. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

SP and Tupelo to play game of the week

By Angie Ledbetter

Tupelo showcases SEC-caliber recruits and plans to use them to take down the South Panola Tigers and their 82-game win streak tonight.

Eighty-one players make up the Golden Wave team and three of those players, Chad Bumphis, Chris Garrett and Deauntay Payne made the All-State first team.

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Garrett committed to play for LSU while Bumphis has offers from nearly every team in the SEC.

Justin Bean, wide receiver, has committed to Kentucky. Wide receiver Garrion Heard will have his pick of where he wants to go play, according to Tiger head coach Lance Pogue.

“I told the guys that we are playing three guys who will probably be playing in the SEC and going against all that, it will be something they can remember forever. Hopefully we will do a good job with it.”

What has become one of the biggest rivalries in District 1-5A for the past several years, tonight will be no different as the Tigers (7-0) and Golden Wave (6-1) go to battle in Tupelo.

“By far, they are the best throwing team that we have seen. This is going to really test our secondary to great lengths. They run a little bit but they want to throw the ball to those guys. Those three guys are dangerous and have a quarterback that can deliver it so that is their style of play,” Pogue said.

Going back to the history between the two teams, the Tigers have had the upper hand with victories. Last year they defeated the Golden Wave 22-9 in regular season and 29-21 in the third round of playoffs.  In 2006 Tigers dominated the game 35-9. In 2005 the Tigers dominated 34-17 and 41-14 in 2004.

Both teams enter the game with identical 3-0 division records and a lot at stake tonight. A win for either team will give them an upper hand on the division playoffs with only three games remaining.

MaxPreps have the Tigers at #4 and the Golden Wave #10. The Golden Wave enter the contest with only one loss on the season against Madison Central (24-21) on September 19. After having a 14 point lead with four minutes left to go, the game went into overtime and Madison Central kicked a field goal to win. The Golden Wave’s victories have been over Covington, Tenn. (42-0), Grenada (44-0), Amory (47-14), Columbus (39-12), Starkville (28-0) and Southaven (41-14).

They have outscored their opponents 265-61 this season in seven games.

According to Pogue, the Golden Waves are a very explosive offensive team that poses a lot of problems.

“To stop them, we have got to get a pass rush but at the same time, we have got to do a good job at the secondary,” Pogue said. “They are going to catch some balls because they are so talented. We have got to tackle well by being physical back there and getting some hits on those guys.

“We have just got to mix it up by bringing some pressure and doing a good job on our coverage. I don’t think you can do exactly one thing and make a living at it because if they get a read on you, they are explosive and make big plays all over the field,” added

As far as playing on the road, Pogue is not concerned.

“I am not overly concerned about where we are playing, it is who we are playing. The key to the game is getting out there on the field and playing good ball.”

Pogue said Tupelo is very comparable to Olive Branch.

“Tupelo throws the ball better than Olive Branch but Olive Branch is a mixture of run and pass. Tupelo is more pass all the way and it wouldn’t surprise me if they throw 80 or 85 percent of the time. It is going to be a lot of balls in the air.”

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Tickets are $6 at the gate which open at 4:30.

Directions: Take Highway 6 East to Tupelo. At first traffic light in Tupelo take right on Cliff Gookin Blvd. The school is on the right about a mile.  Follow the signs.