NP Cougar Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008

North Panola’s Marque Phillips scores on this 15-yard pass from Quin Ellis Friday against Winona. The Cougars lost 14-12 and ended their season in the second round of playoffs. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Failed 2-point conversions cost NP

By Myra Bean and Brad Greer

Special teams are important.

The North Panola Cougar team finally got the point Friday night in a 14-12 loss in the second round of playoffs to Winona.

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North Panola missed two 2-point conversion attempts which could possibly have meant a win and an opportunity to still be playing football.

The reality: the Cougars finished the season 7-5.

The weather could have been blamed for a number of things with a steady drizzle falling on a field that had two inches of rain a couple of days earlier. A cold front moved through late in the third quarter, bringing an increase in wind, dropping the temperature and scattering leaves all over the Winona Tiger field.

Converting the two-point attempt was also a factor in the first round contest against Booneville the previous week when the Cougars missed their first three and were down 21-18. In the end, they pulled out a win, 26-21.

Despite the wet, rainy weather last Friday, the Cougars churned out 185 yards on the ground and 142 in the air for a total of 327 yards. Winona was held to 211 total yards with 180 on the ground and 31 in the air.

Ricky Hunt was the leading Cougar receiver with 77 yards on four catches. Making the two touchdowns were Marque Phillips with 28 yards on two receptions and a touchdown and Kiwanis Bobo with 41 yards on three receptions and one touchdown.

The receiving corps was decimated again when running back Vernon Lewis left the game after he aggravated a continuing ankle sprain. Before he left he rushed for 64 yards on 12 carries to be the leading rusher. Rodregus Salter had 40 yards on nine carries.

Winona was led by its decorated quarterback/safety Harry Peoples with 156 yards on 25 carries and a 60-yard touchdown. He completed two of six passes for 30 yards and a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jamodrick Hobbs. He completed a second pass for a minus four yards.

Winona got on the boards first with a 60-yard run by Peoples with 7:03 left in the first quarter on Winona’s second possession from scrimmage. The PAT (point after touchdown) by Matt Larochelle was good for the 7-0 lead.

The Cougars answered on their third possession from scrimmage on a 15-yard pass from Ellis to Phillips. The touchdown capped a three-play 30-yard drive after a fumble recovery. The two-point conversion failed and Winona maintained a 7-6 lead.

The Cougars took the lead on a 12-yard pass to Bobo from Ellis with 3:34 left in the first half. The two-point conversion run failed but the Cougars led 12-7 at the half.

The only score in the second half was a 34-yard pass from Winona’s Peoples to Hobbs with 6:14 on the third quarter clock. With the PAT, Winona led 14-12 which was eventually the win.

For the season, North Panola has 3,751 yards of total offense and allowed 3,378. North Panola scored 328 points and allowed 298.

Top performers for North Panola were:

•Quarterback Quin Ellis, 84 carries, 275 yards, nine touchdowns, three fumbles, 232 passing attempts, 103 completions, 1,698 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions;

•Wide receiver Ricky Hunt 59 receptions for 1,125 yards, averaged 19.07 yards per reception, 11 touchdowns and six drops;

•Tailback Vernon Lewis, 186 carries, 1,000 yards, 5.38 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns and six fumbles;

•Fullback Rodregus Salter, 100 carries, 520 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, five touchdowns and no fumbles.