SP Honored

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 7, 2010

South Panola head football coach Lance Pogue (left) accepts the trophy for being honored on the MaxPreps Tour of Champions Tuesday from Sgt. Daniel Palmer from the Mississippi National Guard. MaxPreps ranked South Panola No. 18 nationally.

MaxPreps honors Tiger football team

The South Panola High School football team has finished No. 18 nationally for the 2009 season. The announcement was made by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 16,000 high school varsity football teams.

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South Panola (14-1) whipped Oak Grove of Hattiesburg, 56-14, on Dec. 4, 2009 to claim the Mississippi Class 6A state championship. It marked the second time in three seasons that the Tigers won the title and it’s the school’s eighth football championship overall. The Tigers are a cumulative 43-2 the past three seasons. South Panola is one of 50 schools being honored on the fifth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the National Guard.

“The National Guard’s long-term commitment to high school sports has enabled the MaxPreps Tour of Champions to create and sustain the most prestigious national honor given to high school teams in America,” said MaxPreps President Andy Beal.  

“To us, it’s a great honor. We’re proud of what we’ve done in the state of Mississippi, but to be nationally recognized by such a prestigious organization such as MaxPreps is a great honor. We appreciate what you do for us,” said South Panola head football coach Lance Pogue, who completed his third season.

“First of all to win a state championship in Mississippi in first 6A but to be recognized on a national scale for one of the top 15 out of 15,000, it’s an unbelievable honor. That puts you right there at the top programs all over the country. There are people in there from California, Texas and Florida. We’re right there in the top group,” Pogue said. “For them to come to us, it puts a little bit more baring on it to me because we’ve been recognized in the newspapers before in USA Today. But for them to bring their organization down here to us and present it, it’s really a special day.”

MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program, known as the Freeman Rankings, to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighed 2.1 times a regular season game.

Editor’s Note: Angie Ledbetter contributed to this article