SP vs. Northwest Rankin
By Angie Ledbetter
The South Panola Tigers (1-0) will take their game on the road tonight to Northwest Rankin in Brandon to take on the Cougars who fell to Louisville, defending two-time 3A champions, 41-21 last week.
The Tigers opened with a shutout last week against Petal and quarterback Lee Self was named to the Clarion-Ledger’s top performers for the week. Self was perfect on 11 passes for 136 yards with two touchdowns.
The Cougars put up a fight in the first quarter with Louisville and the game was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter. Louisville took control of the game scoring 14 points in the second quarter to give them a 28-14 lead at the half. Louisville put up six points giving them a 34-14 lead at the end of the third. The Cougars scored seven points in the fourth quarter but the Cougars answered to win 41-21.
Aiming for the playoffs again, the Cougars will face some tough powerhouse opponents. Rolling in town tonight will be their first 6A opponent and some familiar faces they have not forgotten since November 21.
Making it to the second round north state playoffs last year, the Cougars faced the powerhouse of North State Champions South Panola Tigers who put them out 21-14.
Showcasing a team of youth with experience, the Cougars have 83 players with 29 seniors, 25 juniors and 29 sophomores. They will rely on a strong defense without many returning starters. On offense they return six starters.
Under center will be 6’2”/200-pound senior quarterback Chase Taylor #14 or 5’10”/150-pound junior Jonathan Haley. At wide receiver is Michael Taylor, a 5’11”/153-pound senior.
“I know Northwest Rankin will regroup and give us their best shot,” said Head Coach Lance Pogue. “They struggled last week with their defense but Louisville is good offensively. With one game, it’s hard to say. I know they’ll be better this week than they were last week. We’re going to expect them to be at their best.”
They play two quarterback, but is mostly a running team, according to Pogue.
They lost two good running backs from last year who graduated, Pogue said.
“I think they’re trying to find an answer at running back and they’ve got some new offensive lineman,” he said. “Looks like they’re being very simple offensively and just trying to find their way a little bit. I expect them to expand some offensively this week so we’ve got to be on our toes for that.”
Pogue said his team is looking forward to Northwest Rankin.
“They lost a lot of players from last year and are kind of rebuilding in some spots this year. They struggled last week against Louisville but Louisville has a heck of a team. A lot of teams would struggle with them.”
Pogue called last week’s game an “outstanding performance.”
“I know there is a lot of room that we can grow.”
Pogue said they answered some unknowns going into the game.
“We always had confidence in Lee (Self) but until you actually go out there and play the game when the lights are on, you don’t know,” Pogue said. “But I thought he answered the bell really well. Some of the guys on defense held up really well for the first time. On the offensive line, some did good. Austin Douglas played center for the first time and he was very solid.”
The game will be aired on FM 100.5 with Judge George Carson with pregame at 7 p.m. and kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
Directions: Take I-55 South to the Lakeland Exit in Jackson (at University Medical Center). Take left. This is also Highway 25. Go 5.8 miles and Northwest Rankin is on right at 5805 Highway 25. Go past new Festival Mall and past Castlewood subdivision and golf course or for a shorter route: take I-55 south for 138 miles. Take exit 105A and go .4 miles. Turn right onto Natchez Trace Parkway and go 2.1 miles. Turn slight right onto ramp and go .3 miles. Turn right onto Old Canton Road and go .8 miles. Turn left onto Lake Harbour Drive and go .8 miles. Stay straight to go onto Spillway Road. Go 5.3 miles. Turn right onto Grants Ferry Road and go 1.1 mile. Turn left onto MS-25 North. Go 1 mile. The school is at 5805 Highway 25.