SP vs. Petal
By Angie Ledbetter
The South Panola Tigers took to the Robert H. Dunlap Stadium Friday night under bright lights and a packed house of fans and shut down the Petal Panthers 38-0 to start the new season.
The young, inexperienced and underdog Tigers had a lot to prove and after falling in the state championship game last December. For the first time since 2004, they came through the Tiger tunnel as the No. 2 team in the state according to the Clarion-Ledger’s preseason poll.
They dominated the game in every area racking up a total offense of 333 of which 197 came from rushing 42 times. Lee Self was perfect in passing with 11 of 11 for 136 yards.
The Tigers had 16 first downs, six penalties for 35 yards, two fumbles, two quarterback sacks and punted twice for 88 yards. The Panthers rushed 34 times for 49 yards and were 1 of 5 in passing for -1 yard, giving them a total offense of 48 yards. They had five first downs, five penalties for 50 yards, two fumbles and punted seven times for 208 yards.
Each team struggled in the first quarter and kept fighting to keep control of the ball but the quarter ended with no score.
“Defensively, it took us a little while to get started,” said tiger head coach Lance Pogue. “On offense we had a new quarterback and linemen. It took them a little while to get started but we hit our stride in the second quarter.”
Pogue said they will play to their strength, offensively which means the quarterback position will see two or three guys.
“Overall I felt we did really good,” said Pogue. “I’m really proud of the defense with them being that immature and they held up like they did. Petal is a good football team and will do good the rest of the year. I’m proud of the win.”
To Pogue this was a much needed win in part for the confidence of the younger players.
“We had to have this game to get where we want to go.,” he said. ”Knock on wood, we’re pretty well injury free also.”
“Our best is yet to come because our youth and inexperience will get better each week as they grow. We’re going to have a good football team.”
Pogue went on to praise playmakers of the night including quarterback Lee Self, kicker Nolan Parker, tailback/linebacker Qyendairs Griffin, running back Domonique Carothers and linebacker Antonio Conner.
Dandy Dozen player Nick Parker led the team with 88 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Parker also ran the “Wild Tiger” offense for the Tigers, a play known as the Wild Rebel for Ole Miss.
“Realistically by design, we didn’t want to over work him if we could afford it,” he said. “I just wanted to shift the load a little bit off Parker and not put as much weight on his shoulders and I thought it worked out pretty good. ”
Top receiver was Nicklos Brassell with eight catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. His longest was 39 yards.
Nolan Parker was 5 of 5 on extra points and kicked a 27 yard field goal.
On defense, Dennis Draper had two quarterback sacks and Market had five tackles.
“I thought Kendrick Market played outstanding. He played the same position as David Conner did last year but last year he played defensive back, so that was new to him. He did a really good job.”
Pogue also highlighted Devin Clark on defense, along with Draper, Pierre Conner, Justin Wright and Temario Strong.
The first quarter went scoreless as neither team could advance. The Tigers punted once and the Panthers twice.
It was well into the second quarter when the Tigers got their rhythm going. With 4:49 on the clock, Domonique Carothers took the ball four yards to score the first touchdown of the season. Nolan Parker followed with a PAT to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Parker kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:04 left in the quarter on fourth and seven.
Griffin recovered a Panther’s fumble on the eight-yard line with 53 seconds on the clock and Brassell scored on a six-yard reception from Self with 53 seconds left in the half. The extra point by Parker was good to give the Tigers a 17-0 lead at the half.
The Tigers kept their rhythm going on offense and the defense held strong in the second half. With 7:40 on the clock in the third, Self connected with Brassell on a 29-yard pass. With the PAT, the Tigers led 24-0.
Griffin followed that with a 35-yard run to score with 4:33 left in the quarter. The PAT gave the Tigers a 31-0 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The last touchdown of the night came by way of Nick Parker with 6:57 left in the game. On a handoff from Self, Parker jumped and dove into the end zone for the final score of the game. Nolan Parker topped it with his fifth PAT to give the Tigers a 38-0 lead.
The Tigers will take their 1-0 victory on a long road trip Friday to Brandon to take on Northwest Rankin who lost to Louisville 41-14.