NP Alignment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

North Panola embraces new alignment as a 4A team

By Myra Bean

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When the 2009-10 school year kicks off, Mississippi will have a six-class alignment system. The breakdown shows 32 schools in 6A including South Panola who was a 5A school in the old system. The new 5A division also has 32 teams, most of whom were 4A schools in the old system.

In 4A are 50 teams. North Panola is in Division 2-4A. That old 3-3A district added two schools, Lafayette County and Center Hill, while Holly Springs and Independence retained their 3A status.

“I thought we would be with the same group of schools,” North Panola head football coach Clifton Davis Jr. said. “I feel good about the alignment.”

The 3A division has 48 teams; 2A has 45 and 1A has 34 teams.

Davis said there was nothing surprising to him about the realignment. He knew North Panola had lost some students but was not sure how the school would fall in the new alignment at the time.

North Panola was second from the bottom of class 4A right before the dividing line.

With Lafayette County moving to this group of schools, the competition level of Region 2-4A went up a notch higher. Senatobia was the only school in 3-3A to have claimed a 3A state championship.

Lafayette has consistently made an appearance in the playoffs the last 15 years except for 1994, 1996 and 2000. They lost in the north half championship in 2004 and has never won a state championship.

North Panola has released its 2009 and 2010 schedule which includes new opponent Kingbury of Memphis to open the seasons in a classic game on August 21 this year. Both years the games will be played at North Panola.

In 2009 the first three games will be played at home. The season opener against JFK of Mound Bayou is followed by South Delta in Rolling Fork. The last non-conference game will be on the road to Greenwood.

North Panola will open district play against Senatobia, followed by Lafayette County. Home coming will be against Rosa Fort on October 9. Lewisburg, Center Hill of Desoto County and Byhalia round out the schedule on October 30.

Davis has already started looking at what the competition will bring to the field and feels good about the returning starters to the Cougar team.

Sophomores quarterback Quin Ellis and wide receiver Ricky Hunt were named to the 3A All-state second team this year.