SP vs. Columbus
By Angie Ledbetter
It might have been short notice as the South Panola Tigers got word of the game change with Columbus early Wednesday morning but that did not alter their game plan against the Falcons. The Tigers traveled to Columbus Thursday due to weather expecting to come in on Friday and crushed the Falcons 53-7 to go 3-0 in district play.
The Tigers came out in the first quarter and shattered the Falcons early. Nicholas Parker scored on a 75-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. Carothers followed a few minutes later with a 20-yard touchdown.
With 5:55 left on the clock, Parker ran in a 14-yard touchdown. Brassell completed the quarter with a 45-yard reception touchdown from Self. The two point conversion attempt failed and the Tigers had a 27-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Carothers added a five-yard touchdown with 10:08 on the clock and Nolan Parker’s PAT was good. The Falcons fumbled and Devin Clark recovered the ball. Parker capped it off with a touchdown with 3:44 left in the half.
The Falcons scored their only touchdown with 1:47 left in the second quarter when Damian Baker scored and the PAT by Avery Ford was good. Tigers lead 41-7 at the half.
The Tiger defense held the Falcons to 184 total yards of offense and nine first downs. They racked up 51 tackles, 15 for a loss, four sacks, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Devin Clark had six total tackles and one and a half sacks to lead the Tigers. Justin Wright and Temario Strong each had six tackles and half a sack.
Issac Gross had five tackles and half a sack. Qyen Griffin logged four tackles and an interception. Taylor Rotenberry four tackles and a sack, along with Dennis Draper who had four tackles. Pierre Conner brought down one interception. Recovering fumbles were Devin Clark, Kendrick Market, Deshun Henderson and Nico Agate.
The offense put up 552 total offense yards with 21 first downs. Nick Parker had 113 yards on six carries with three touchdowns. Carothers had 95 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns. Qyen Griffin had 64 yards on four carries. Jonathan Bownes had 34 yards on 12 carries and Marcus Dixon had 29 yards on eight carries.
Quarterback Lee Self completed eight of 10 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Backup quarterback Bobby Epps completed one of one pass for nine yards.
Nolan Parker was five for five PATs and Martez Wallace was one for one PAT.
Nick Brassell had four receptions for 153 yards with one touchdown. Taylor Rotenberry had one reception for 33 yards with one touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, Taylor Rotenberry scored on a 33-yard reception from Lee Self and the PAT was good by Martez Wallace.
The Tigers final scores came with 4:10 left in the game on a Jonathan Bownes two-yard run and the PAT by Wallace was good.
“I thought we played well,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue. “Columbus is young and had been struggling some, losing five straight games before ours. We had a good carry over from the Olive Branch game. All the kids got to play which was fun for them.”
Pogue was proud of the “B team” players who scored on Columbus’ first team offense.
“A lot of those kids don’t get to play and they practice all the time, too,” he said. “It’s a good reward for them. I thought they did a good job. Our “B” team defense did some positive things. When I say “B” team I mean kids that don’t start and get to play a lot. They’re mostly scout team players.”
It is easy for teams and coaches to overlook upcoming teams and look to the future. Pogue wants the team to not be satisfied.
“Hopefully they have the attitudes that they’re not satisfied and they want to keep working and getting better. Everybody in the state that’s playing football has a goal to get to the state championship. In order to do that, you have to get better each week and play good ball at the right time. Hopefully our time is starting to click and we’ve hit our groove a little bit.”
The defense is a strong spot right now. Temario Strong was named top performer player of the week in the Clarion-Ledger last week with three tackles and a fumble recovery in the Olive Branch game.
“Temario has a lot of ability,” Pogue said. “He is a young guy and I think his future is unlimited. He has played good up to this point like we hoped he would and had a great game against Olive Branch and Columbus. We need him to continue that.”
The Tigers will celebrate homecoming this Friday again the Tupelo Golden Wave. Tupelo hosted Southaven Monday night after the game was postponed from Friday.