NP Cougars playoffs

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2008

Cougars prepare for 1st round clash with Booneville

By Myra Bean
Tonight’s first round playoff clash is an old acquaintance renewed. Rival may be kind of strong language for the four games North Panola and Booneville played in the past.

In the years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, North Panola and Booneville played each other for the season openers. North Panola came close but never could snatch a game from the Blue Devils, who are coached by legendary coach Jim Drewry.

The two teams will renew their acquaintance tonight to see which one will continue its season into the second round next Friday night.

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“They are well-coached and we expect a disciplined football team,” said Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr.

They enter tonight’s contest with equal regular season records of 6-4. North Panola is 5-1 in its district and Booneville logged a 4-2 district record.

Booneville logged a two-point loss, 15-13, to league champion Corinth (10-0, 6-0) on September 19. The second district loss was to Ripley (8-2, 5-1), second in district, last week 28-18.

North Panola met up with Ripley September 5 and lost 42-24.

The Blue Devils’ main offensive attack is the run gun featuring big running back Bo Brown, according to Davis. Booneville features “athletic” quarterback Jerion Jones with “fast, very shifty” receiver Andrew Southward. Other Booneville players include receiver Drew Cristo and kicker Jake Scott.

“They have a lot of weapons,” Davis said. “Defensively, they will crowd the line and send the linebackers. We will have our hands full.”

Booneville plays in one of the toughest districts in 3A, District 1-3A. Corinth and Booneville have won state championships in the past. Ripley went undefeated until meeting up with eventual 3A state champion Louisville last year in the quarterfinal round of playoffs.

Brown has six rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns on the season. Jones has rushed for nine touchdowns this year.

Southward has nine rushing touchdowns, three receiving touchdowns, two two-point conversions and one kickoff return for a touchdown.

North Panola is led by quarterback Quin Ellis. Ellis has been busy running and throwing the ball. He has completed 79 of 183 passes for 1,331 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. On the ground, Ellis has 218 yards on 65 carries and nine touchdowns.

Leading rusher for this year has been Vernon Lewis who has 935 yards on 165 carries and 10 touchdowns. He also has 232 receiving yards on 22 catches.

Leading receiver is Ricky Hunt with 890 yards on 43 receptions and nine touchdowns.

The Cougars have amassed 3,086 yards in total offense and allowed 2,981. North Panola has scored 292 points and allowed 261.

Booneville has scored 287 points this season and allowed 204.

Davis said the team is anxious to host a first-round playoff game for the first time since 1990.

“We are in good spirits and anxious to be hosting this game,” Davis said.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. on Cougar field.