NP v Rosa Fort

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2008

The North Panola team rejoice after defeating Rosa Fort 44-20 Thursday in a pivotal district matchup. The Cougars won decisively, but came in second in 3-3A and will host Booneville Friday night in the first round of the playoffs. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Cougars slam Lions 44-20; to host Booneville in first round

By Myra Bean
North Panola claimed second place in 3-3A with a 44-20 victory over Rosa Fort Thursday night and will host Booneville Friday night.

There was a three-way competition for the district champion title in 3-3A between the Cougars, Senatobia Warriors and Rosa Fort Lions which mimicked a rock-paper-scissor game.

In the loss to Senatobia October 23, Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr. said they missed assignments and were out of position.

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“We didn’t do the things we were supposed to do,” Davis said. “We did not execute our defensive gameplan.”

North Panola seemed to have corrected the problem and minimized mistakes as they knocked Rosa Fort from first place to third in the district.

Before a capacity crowd in Sardis, Rosa Fort took the opening kickoff but the Lions were forced to punt.

On its opening possession, North Panola quarterback Quin Ellis scored on a one-yard run with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

The touchdown and two-point conversion pass from Ricky Hunt to Kiwanis Bobo on a reverse option from Ellis, capped an eight-play, 43-yard drive in 2:07 minutes.

The drive was aided by four Rosa Fort offside penalties for 20 yards.

The Lions kept threatening that point spread by matching the Cougars for a touchdown run of 40 yards with 11 seconds gone in the second quarter. The PAT was good to cut the Cougar lead to one, 8-7.

North Panola did not let them hang around too long. The Cougars’ first possession of the second quarter lasted 12 plays and was capped by an 11-yard pass from Ellis to Hunt with 5:49 left in the half.

The possession covered 65 yards with four different Cougar rushers and three completed with to three receivers.

The two-point conversion pass from Hunt to Bobo was good for the 16-7 halftime lead.

North Panola had Rosa Fort pinned at their own 17-yard line and forced them to punt. Due to a roughing the kicker penalty on the Cougars, the Lions found new life with a first down and 10.

The Lions were not able to capitalize and punted it away – without penalty.

North Panola took the opening kickoff of the third quarter but was forced to punt. The ball was snapped high over punter Tyrus Mack’s head and he fielded the ball on the Cougar 24.

The Cougar defense had new life and made big plays to stop the drive.

The Lions moved the ball to the three yard line in three plays. The Lions were hit with a holding penalty which knocked them back 10 yards to the 12 yard line.

Rosa Fort worked its way back to the five yard line on fourth down and goal to go but a big tackle for loss of five yards by Kevin Taylor forced a turnover on downs with 5:55 left in the quarter.

Rosa Fort pulled within two points on a 31-yard punt return with 4:09 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed and the Cougars held a 16-14 lead.

On the kickoff, Cougar Darius Loveberry returned the ball 29 yards to the Cougar 49-yard line.

Then Ellis found Hunt on a 29-yard pass on first down and 10 to the 28-yard line.

On second and two from the 20, an offside penalty by Rosa Fort gave the Cougars a first down at the 15. Four plays later, Ellis scored on a one-yard run with 1:10 to go in the quarter. North Panola led 22-14 as the two-point conversion failed.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Cougars despite Rosa Fort breaking a 45-yard run at the 10:44 mark. That touchdown brought the Lions back within two points, 22-20 after the two-point conversion  pass failed.

After that touchdown, it was all Cougars as North Panola scored 22 unanswered points on their three possession to put an exclamation point to their regular season.

With 8:53 left in the game, Rodregus Salter scored his second touchdown of the year on a five-yard run. The Ellis to Bobo connection resulted in a two-point conversion for the 30-20 lead.

Ellis found Hunt for a 38-yard touchdown with 5:39 left in the game. Hunt was wide-open for the catch on a possession that took one play and 10 seconds. The two-point conversion pass from Ellis to Bobo was good for the 28-20 lead.

The crowd and the team knew they had the game in their hands at this time and began to celebrate.

Players on the sideline bathed the coaches they could get run down with iced Gatorade while the temperature continued to plummet.

Though five minutes remained on the clock when the Cougars stopped the Lions, the offense still had to finish the game. While the crowd and players on the sideline celebrated, the offense was setting up its final touchdown, a three yard run by Salter, his second of  the game. The two-point conversion failed but the 44-20 score was all that was needed for the win.

The Cougars and Lions were close  in statistics as North Panola had 280 total yards while Rosa Fort had 284.

Ellis completed nine of 14 attempts for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Ellis rushed five times for 25 yards and two touchdowns.

Salter was the leading rusher with 43 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Vernon Lewis had 38 yards on 12 carries.

Hunt was the leading receiver with 152 yards and six catches and two touchdowns.
During halftime, the senior football players, cheerleaders and band members were recognized.