NP Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 1, 2009

North Panola’s Ricky Hunt caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Quinn Ellis in the Cougars’ 34-6 win over John F. Kennedy Hornets. The Cougars will be home Friday to host South Delta. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Cougars crush Hornets in second half rally, 34-6

By Myra Bean

After a 6-6 tie at halftime, it seems as if a new team played the second half for the North Panola Cougars.

The Cougars (1-1) defeated the John F. Kennedy Hornets of Mound Bayou 34-6 in its second home game Friday night. The slow start had Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr. speaking candidly to the players at halftime.

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“We had no offense or defense in the first half,” Davis said. “We played like we were in a daze.”

When he should have been smiling with joy over the win, a frown marred Davis’ face.

“We act like we are supposed to win,” he continued. “Every team has to play. No one’s going to give us a game.”

After halftime, the Cougar defense was on fire while the offense turned its opening possession over on downs. The Cougars were fourth and goal from the three when an offensive interference penalty cost the Cougars the down and the Hornets got the ball on the 20. On the Hornets’ first possession, #32 and #23 combined for a quarterback sack which brought up fourth down and punting situation.

The Cougars scored on the next possession on a one-yard run by senior quarterback Quinn Ellis with 5:23 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion by Darius Loveberry was good for the 14-6 lead.

The Hornets fumbled two consecutive possessions and the Cougars capitalized. At 5:09 Curtis Arnold recovered a fumble at the Kennedy 27 yard line. It took the Cougars eight plays to score on a 13-yard touchdown reception by Ricky Hunt from Quinn Ellis. The extra point kick was no good. The Cougars led 20-6 with 1:59 left in the quarter.

At 1:05 to go, Kennedy fumbled again and #6 recovered it on the Kennedy 38 yard line. Two plays into the fourth quarter, Ellis scored on a six-yard run with 11:15 left in the game.  The score stood at 26-6 after the two-point attempt failed.

The Cougar defense kept up the press throughout the fourth quarter and the Kennedy woes continued.  Anthony Hibbler went right through the line to the quarterback for a sack on first and 10 for a nine-yard loss. On the same possession, Cougar Cortez Hibbler broke up a pass by getting his hand on the ball. On the next possession, No. 23 came up with a sack for a loss of 11 yards. On second down and 21, Numbers 57 and 42 caused a fumble that No. 42 recovered on the Kennedy 24 yard line. During Kennedy’s final possession, Anthony Hibbler and Cortez Hibbler combined for a sack and a loss of five yards.

On first and 10 from the 24, Vernon Lewis scampered down the left sideline to score with 5:41 left in the game. After faking the Hornets out with an extra point, Hunt scored the two-point conversion for the 34-6 score.

The Cougars scored first in the second quarter on a beautiful 37-yard pass from Ellis to Hunt with 6:45 left. The extra point kick was no good.

Despite a touchdown saving tackle on a 26-yard Hornet pass by Loveberry at the three-yard line, the Hornets scored on a one-yard run with 2:31 left in the first half. The two-point attempt failed and the was tied at six going into halftime.

The Cougars logged 321 total yards of offense while limiting Kennedy to 88, 44 passing and 44 rushing. The Cougars had a balanced offensive attack with 166 rushing yards and 155 passing yards.

Ellis completed 11 of 22 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis was the leading rusher with 115 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Hunt had 10 receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cougars will host South Delta for its third consecutive home game Friday with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.