SP vs. Olive Branch
By Angie Ledbetter
Those who came to watch a great match up between the Tigers and the Olive Branch Conquistadors last Friday night, may have left a little disappointed as the Tigers handed the Conquistadors a 34-6 loss before an estimated crowd of 10,000 fans and a television audience.
In what was supposed to be the year that the Conquistadors would end the Tiger’s continued winning streak over them, the Tigers provided one of their best performances on the field dominating every area. A few coaches and players were also battling sickness.
The Tigers and the Conquistadors have been one of the state’s biggest rivalries over the last several years, but the Tigers have outscored the Conquistadors 388-135 and winning 13 of the last 14 games.
With much hype of Olive Branch’s offensive line dandy dozen players Damien Robinson and Shon Coleman along with Eric Lawson, a Division 1 prospect, the three did not stand a chance against a defensive line that spelled Isaac Gross, Taylor Rotenberry, Devin Clark and Temario Strong.
The most talked about running back in 6A, Keshun Shipp, was held to only 15 yards.
The Tigers entered Robert H. Dunlap Stadium fired up and ready to prove they are still a team to be reckoned with.
Tiger running back Nicholas Parker got the Tigers on the scoreboard on their first possession with a one-yard run followed by Nolan Parker’s PAT. With 12 seconds left in the first quarter, Nolan Parker’s 26-yard field goal put the Tigers up 10-0.
Nolan Parker added another 25-yard field goal with 9:43 in the second. Nicklos Brassell scored on a 52-yard reception from Kendrick Markert on a wild Tiger play with 5:15 left in the first half. The two-point conversion failed.
Domonique Carothers scored on a one-yard run right before the half and followed it with a two point conversion to give the Tigers a 27-0 lead at the half.
Olive Branch scored its only touchdown in the third when Keshan Shipp caught an 11-yard pass from Mays but the two point conversion failed.
Carothers finished the scoring for the Tigers with 3:06 left in game when he took the ball from one yard out and Nolan Parker’s PAT was good.
South Panola finished the game with 356 total yards, 17 first downs, two fumbles, four penalties for 24 yards and one interception. South Panola had three sacks.
Nicholas Parker had 26 carries for 104 yards with one touchdown. Carothers had 11 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Market had nine carries for 81 yards. Brassell had one reception for 52 yards and one touchdown.
Market was one of two in passing for 52 yards. Taylor Rotenberry had three punts for a total of 77 yards. Nolan Parker was two of two on field goals.
On defense, Market had seven tackles followed by Dennis Draper, 6; Issac Gross, 4 with a fumble recovery and 2 sacks; Antonio Conner, 4; Temario Strong, 3; Al Hentz, 2 with 1 interception.
Olive Branch had 95 total yards, five first downs, one fumble, three penalties for 15 yards and one interception.
Tiger head coach Lance Pogue was generous with his praise of the team for Friday’s performance.
“We’ve faced a little bit of adversity this year and people got down on us but our kids never gave up,” he said. “We took a lot of critism with the MUS game. Some people got down on us but I didn’t do that. The team stayed together and we were very positive. It just took a little time to get the pieces of the puzzle together. I felt all along this team could play like this tonight. We knew we were young in spots but we’re getting better. Our future is really bright and we’re going to continue to get better. I think we’re just getting in the groove a little bit.”
Pogue was really complimentary of the work of the defense in nearly shutting down the Quistor offense.
“I was really proud of the defense tonight. It was one of the best performances I’ve ever had. Offensively, we really got to clicking. It was a good kicking game and I thought it was a complete team performance.”
Did Pogue see this type of performance coming?
“I know we had a lot of people that were hot and cold on us but we had so many guys that weren’t seasoned enough. We’re mixing and matching and trying to get the ball in some of the guy’s hands. It’s going to help the offensive line. We can throw the ball some.”
On defense, Pogue said the Tigers had a major advantage with speed and quickness.
“I felt like that would give them trouble and it did. I was a little disappointed to give up the touchdown that we gave. I’m really high on our defense right now but I know we still have room for improvement. Our defensive front is young with one senior but really good. They controlled the game tonight.”
South Panola (5-1, 2-0) will be back in action on the road to Columbus for another district matchup Friday at 7 p.m.
Next Friday, October 16, the Tigers will be celebrating homecoming with Tupelo.
Directions to Columbus:
Take Interstate 55 South to Winona. Take a left onto Highway 82 East and go about one and a half hours. Signs to Columbus will mark the way. Coming up to Columbus, take the Highway 50 and 12 Exit. At the traffic light at the intersection keep straight. There will be signs to Columbus High School. Go across a long bridge. When you come to intersection at Lehmberg Road, take a right and see Columbus High School sign. Take the first right at the traffic light on Warpath Road. Go to 3-way stop and keep straight. Take second left past the Elementary School and you will see the stadium.