By Myra Bean
North Panola will take its first road trip of the season tonight to face non-district foe the Greenwood High School Bulldogs.
The Cougars (1-2) are coming off a heart breaking 22-14 loss to South Delta last Friday. The game was tied at 14 in the fourth quarter and the Cougars had the ball.
Cougar quarterback Quinn Ellis took a hard sack and the ball was knocked free by Bulldog Reginald Brown. With 5:12 left in the game, South Delta defensive end Shaquille Carter picked it up and ran 25 yards unchallenged for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was good.
“We just wrapped it up and gave them the game,” said Cougar head coach Clifton Davis Jr. following the game. Davis said it left a “bad taste” in his mouth.
Greenwood enters the game 2-1 after defeating Yazoo City 14-0 last week. The lone loss was to Velma Jackson for the season opener 14-12. In the second game, Greenwood narrowly defeated Indianola Gentry 8-7.
Friday’s game between North Panola and South Delta was scoreless after the first quarter.
South Delta’s quarterback Jeremy Barnes broke for a 66-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. The two point conversion by Barnes gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead. With 6:34 left in the first half, Vernon Lewis put the Cougars on the board with a nine-yard run. The two-point pass was incomplete from Ellis to Ricky Hunt. At the half, South Delta led 8-6.
Also in the second quarter, the Cougar defense put up a stellar performan. Cortez Hibbler had a tackle for a loss of six yards. Teon Arnold had a tackle for a loss of seven yards. Anthony Hibbler, Kendrick Callicutt and Samtrix Frost combined for a quarterback sack and loss of four yards. Frost had a tackle for a loss of four yards. Darius Loveberry intercepted a pass from Barnes and Curtis Arnold recovered a fumble.
Neither team scored in the third quarter. South Delta broke the drought by breaking for a 52-yard run by Barnes with 10:47 left in the game. The two-point attempt failed and the lead was 14-6.
Hunt returned the kickoff to the Bulldogs 17-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Lewis scored on a 17-yard run with 10:24 left in the game. Ellis connected with Loveberry on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14.
“We had more than a few mistakes,” Davis said. North Panola committed four fumbles and one interception.
“It was a poor exhibition of football,” he continued. “We made mistake, after mistake, after mistake. Each mistake seemed to lead to another one. We didn’t capitalize on anything.”
On one play, South Delta had a fourth and 10. North Panola committed two offside penalties and gave the Bulldogs a first down.
“We didn’t do anything we were supposed to do,” he said. “They didn’t do anything we were not ready for. If we don’t get better from this game and continue to make these types errors, it’s going to be a long season.”
Greenwood presents a spread offense to throw teams off because they really want to run, according to Davis. Last week against Gentry, the Bulldogs had 212 rushing yards and only 20 passing. The defense uses the blitz and recorded seven sacks last week.
Ellis was the victim of a sack and suffered a mild concussion, according to Davis. He will not play against Greenwood. Freshman Martevious Butler will be under the center for the Cougars.
Last week, North Panola had 174 yards of total offense, 114 passing, 60 rushing. South Delta had 228 yards of total offense, 193 rushing and 35 passing.
Ellis completed six of 15 passes for 68 yards and one interception. Butler completed one of four passes for 46 yards and one interception.
Anthony Hibbler had four rushes for 22 yards. Lewis had 14 rushes for 16 yards and two touchdowns. Hunt was the leading received with four catches for 72 yards.
Kickoff time for tonight’s game is 7:30 p.m. in Greenwood.
Directions: Take I-55 South to the Grenada/Greenwood Exit. Take right onto Highway 8. At the Highway 8/7 split, take Highway 7 into Greenwood. When in Greenwood, pass the Civic Center and go to traffic light at intersection with Highway 82. Take Highway 82 West and go over overpass. Look to right where new houses are built and school entrance is in that area.