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NP vs. Lewisburg

North Panola running back Vernon Lewis, No. 1, finds a hole made by teammates Tony Hibbler, No. 7 and Roynell Keys. The Cougars lost a heartbreaker to Lewisburg Friday night 8-0. The Cougars will host Center Hill in its final home game of the regular season Friday at 7 p.m. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

NP stunned by Lewisburg, 8-0

By Myra Bean

Last year, North Panola spoiled Lewisburg’s homecoming. This year Lewisburg spoiled the Cougar’s opportunity to finish out the district season with no more losses.

Instead of evening their record, the Cougars fall to 3-5 overall, 1-3 district. The loss to Lewisburg does not bode well for the Cougars who have to face Center Hill (5-4 overall, 3-1 district). Center Hill moved into a second place tie with Rosa Fort after Senatobia lost its second district game to Rosa Fort Friday, 26-25.

Though the field was still muddy, it was in better conditions than what North Panola had played on the previous three weeks. Regardless, North Panola had opportunities to score and put the game away but fell flat in the face of Lewisburg’s defensive stands in the red zone.

Cougar starting quarterback Quinn Ellis did not report back for the game after the first quarter except to punt once. He left at the end of the first quarter due to an injured ankle. Freshman backup Martavious Butler had the duties, but could not make any headway against the Patriots.

In the first quarter, the Cougars got the opening kickoff and drove the ball all the way down to the Patriot 17 but turned the possession over on downs.

They were on the Patriots 21 at the end of the first quarter and fumbled the ball away with 1:28 to go. Lewisburg was in the same boat in the face of the Cougar defense. They tried faked punts a couple of times and did not make the necessary yardage to retain possession.

The second quarter went in the same vein. The Cougars’ first possession ended with an interception and the second possession on a turn over on downs on the Lewisburg 45. The quarter ended on the third possession.

Cougar defender Cortez Hibbler and Samtrix Frost recorded four tackles for loss yards in the first two quarters. Hibbler recorded one quarterback sack.

The next disappointing possession came in the third quarter as North Panola got the ball on the Patriots’ 11 after the Patriots’ punter slipped. Running back Vernon Lewis got the ball to the seven-yard line on the first two possessions. Two passes from Butler went incomplete on third and fourth downs, forcing a turnover on downs with 8:19 to go.

The Cougars’ next possession was also a turnover on downs on the Patriots’ 33-yard line.

The fourth quarter belonged to Lewisburg. They took their first possession of the fourth quarter with 10:22 left in the game. With help from a couple of personal foul penalties on the Cougars, marched the ball 53 yards to score on a one-yard run by quarterback Colby Sappington with 6:02 left in the game. Lewisburg led 6-0 as the PAT failed.

North Panola’s punt was snapped over Darius Loveberry’s head and went out of the end zone for a Patriot safety. Lewisburg got the ball back on a free kick by North Panola with 3:48 left in the game and ran out the clock for their first district win of the season.

Lewisburg had 190 yards of total offense, while North Panola was held to 112 yards, 75 rushing, 37 passing.

Butler completed three of 11 passes for 24 yards. Ellis completed two of seven passes for 13 yards.

Lewis was the leading rusher with 73 yards on 24 rushes. Ricky Hunt caught five passes for 37 yards.

North Panola will host Center Hill Friday at 7 p.m. in the final home game of the regular season. Lewisburg will travel to Senatobia Friday and host Lafayette County in the final game of the season October 30.