SP Tiger Football

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2008

South Panola Tiger junior running back Nicholas Parker, No. 4, has scored 21 touchdowns this season and rushed for 1,974 yards. Here he takes on a Provine defender head-on last Friday night. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

New blood enters Dunlap Stadium tonight to take on Tigers for Round 2

By Angie Ledbetter

The 12-0 South Panola Tigers get ready for tonight’s showdown with the Northwest Rankin Cougars (10-2) from Flowood for the second round of Class 5A playoff action at Robert H. Dunlap Stadium.

The Tigers will enter the stadium tonight ranked No. 1 in the Clarion-Ledger Super 10 poll, the same place they started the preseason. No one has been able to knock them out of that place since the season started. After 12 games, the team still is going strong each week and are ranked No. 10 by USA Today and No. 10 by Rivals.com.

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Total offense for the Tigers in 12 games is 5,162 yards while their opponents have 1,183. They have dominated scoring throughout the season with 384 points while allowing opponents only 93 points.

 Junior running back Nicholas Parker leads the Tiger offense with 21 touchdowns on 247 rushes for 1,974 yards.

Senior quarterback David Renfroe has completed 106 of 183 passes for 1,654 yard and 13 touchdowns.

Senior cousins and linebackers David Conner and Marvin Burdette lead the Tiger defense. Conner has 82.5 total tackles and Burdette has 77 total.

This will be the first time that the Cougars will have a chance at stopping the Tiger’s active ntional 88-game winning streak.

The Cougars ended the regular season with a 9-2 overall record and second place in 2-5A district.  Madison Central won the division, defeating Northwest Rankin 42-22 on October 31. After getting runner up in the division, they hosted Tupelo, the No. 3 seed in Region 1 last Friday night at Northwest Rankin.

“It was a little bit of a surprise when the Cougars knocked Tupelo out of the playoffs in the first round last week by defeating them 19-16 in overtime,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue. “It’s 5A football and you just never know. You just have to be ready every week. Anybody knows when you get to 5A playoffs, it is tough. You don’t run through anybody 40-0. You get everybody’s best shot. You just try to find a way to win every week.

“The guys are excited and everybody’s goal right now is to play for a state championship,” Pogue continued. “We expect to play well and try to get to the third round.”

Pogue will recognize a familiar face on the Cougar side of the field.

“We don’t know a lot about the Northwest Rankin football team but I am well aware of the coach there. Coach David Coates was the assistant coach 20 years ago at Holmes Junior College when I played football down there. I know him well and he is a great guy. He has been down there a long time and has a solid program.”

Coates has been head coach at Northwest Rankin for 17 years, after leaving Holmes Junior College in 1991.

“That school has really grown throughout and Coates has turned the football team into a really good team. Anytime you beat Tupelo, you have a really good football team,” Pogue said.

“Last week was a big win for Northwest Rankin. Whoever is there, you have to be ready to play. Northwest Rankin just outplayed Tupelo and took advantage of a few mistakes Tupelo made. It was a bad weather game which it was throughout the state everywhere.”

According to Pogue, the Cougars are a running team and do not throw much. When they do use the pass, they use screens. Northwest sports one receiver who is a good player, according to Pogue.

“They want to run the football and they have two good backs,” Pogue said. “We have to deal with that. Defensively, they’re a team that tries to be opportunistic and get you to turn the ball over and take advantage of a mistake or two that they might force. They’re not a flashy team by any stretch but they don’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Northwest Rankin has a good, solid team, Pogue said, and the Tigers expect to get their best shot tonight.

Northwest Rankin’s  other loss was to Pearl, 12-9, in the second game of their season. They defeated Kosciusko 41-24 to start the season.

After losing to Pearl, the Cougars came back and defeated Brandon 31-20, Terry 35-28, Warren Central 13-9, Provine 14-0, Grenada 27-0, Clinton 20-14, Greenville Wesson 31-20, Murrah 34-21 and Tupelo 19-16.

In order to stop the Cougars, Pogue said the Tigers just have to play good defense, run the ball like they have been doing and mix in the throwing game.

“We just have got to play our game,” he said. “Nothing changes but we just have to play our style of play. This time of the year with the playoffs, defense and running the football will go a long way. That has been one of our strengths and we have got to continue to do that.”

Coates brings to town a roster of 77 Cougars which include 24 seniors, 29 juniors, 23 sophomores and one freshman.

At the quarterback position will be Taylor Chase, a 6’2”-203-pound junior. Running backs are Terrance Crosby, 5’10”-177-pound senior and Chad Wright, a 5’8”-217 -pound senior.

On defense is senior linebacker Jarvon Sutton, 6’0”-235-pound.

The pregame show with Pogue will start at 6:30 p.m. on FM 100.5.  Kickoff is at 7 p.m.