By Angie Ledbetter
The South Panola Tigers added their second win of the season after defeating the Northwest Rankin Cougars 34-13 Friday night in Flowood, but baggage came with the win.
Even though the Tigers reloaded after halftime, Head Coach Lance Pogue wasn’t happy with the team’s performance.
“I’m proud to win this game but I’m not happy at all with our performance. I didn’t think our focus was very good. We had some good flashes but overall our execution wasn’t what it has got to be. It’s part of the growing pains and we struggled. We had a starter out on the offensive line with a sore knee so we had a new guy in there but that’s still no excuse. ”
The Tigers, ranked #2 in the Clarion-Ledger Super 10 and #2 in Class 6A, had 289 rushing yards. Quarterback Lee Self was 9 of 19 for 130 yards and one touchdown. The Tigers finished the game with 8 penalties for 63 yards and the Cougars had four for 20 yards.
“You can’t make the mistakes and have the penalties that we did tonight and win a big game. That’s part of having a young team and taking a step. We took a positive step last week but didn’t play as well tonight. We’ll be better next week.”
Running back Domonique Carothers topped the chart this week for 133 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. Nicholas Parker followed with 112 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown. Kendrick Market had 36 yards on four carries with one touchdown.
“Nick is a good player but nobody knows much about Domonique. A very compact guy and real physical runner, he breaks a lot of tackles. He’s a good compliment to Nick also. We’re proud to have him and he did a great job tonight. You can’t have enough good backs.”
Nicklos Brassell had five receptions for 80 yards with one touchdown.
Brassell got the Tigers in the game after connecting with Lee Self taking the ball 27 yards to the end zone. The PAT by Nolan Parker was blocked by the Cougars to end the first quarter.
The Cougars got some momentum going after they tied the game with 9:15 left in second quarter. Quarterback Chase Taylor connected with tight end Cody Deforrest on a 53 yard touchdown pass.
Carothers added to the Tigers’ score after driving down field 20 yards and the PAT by Parker was good putting the Tigers up 13-6.
Nicholas Parker put the Tigers up 20-6 after taking the ball in from seven yards out The PAT was good with 2:58 left on the clock.
Enjoying that lead for 1:42 minutes, the Cougars put a damper on the Tigers after Cooper Kelly intercepted Self’s pass taking it 30 yards for a touchdown. At the half, the score tightened with the Tigers having a 20-13 lead.
After being stunned at the end of the second quarter, the Tigers shifted gears in the second half. With 3:56 left in the third, Kendrick Market scored on a five-yard run but the PAT went to the right side. Tigers go up 26-13.
It took a steel wall by the Tigers to keep the Cougars down in the fourth quarter. Carothers added another touchdown late and the two point conversion was good by Self to top off the scoring.
Leading the Cougars on the offense were Deforrest with one reception for 53 yards and a touchdown followed by Taylor who was 6 of 12 in passing for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Battling against the wall, the Cougars were limited to 11 yards rushing, 106 passing and 4 first downs.
“We have a good defense. They couldn’t run the ball with any efficiency and we finally got to the quarterback. We just had one play I was disappointed in but other than that, we shut them down.”
Pogue was reflecting to the play that tied the game at 6.
Senior defensive end Devin Clark led the way with two solo tackles, five assists, one tackle for loss, one sack and one pass knocked down. Qyen Griffin followed with two solo, four assists and one sack. Antonio Conner had two solo and four assists. Justin Wright had one solo and five assists. Kendrick Market had three solo, two assists and one fumble recovery. Taylor Rotenberry had one solo, four assists, one for loss and one sack. Temario Strong had 5 solo, two for loss and one fumble recovery. Issac Gross had six assists and one for loss. Dennis Draper had three assists and one for loss. Josefh Pope had three assists.
“Northwest Rankin is a scrappy team. They take what they have got, get the most out of it and fight you hard. That’s credit to Coach Coates.”
South Panola will host Memphis University School Friday in an ESPNU televised game at a special time of 7 p.m.