SP Football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The South Panola defense wraps up Petal’s quarterback Anthony Alford Saturday night in the season opener. In on the gang tackle from South Panola were (left to right) Taylor Rotenberry, Kendrick Market and Kendall Carr, with Isaac Gross (99) looking for some of the action. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Tigers pummel Petal 38-0

By Angie Ledbetter

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Before an estimated 10,000 plus fans the No. 4 nationally-ranked South Panola Tigers showcased their powerhouse talent shutting out the Petal Panthers 38-0 Saturday night in 6A action while “christening” Petal’s brand new $7 million facility.

With first class surroundings there was no doubt Petal wanted a win to go along with the look. They may have gotten a glimpse of hope as neither team’s offense scored until late in the second quarter

The Tigers went back to their old-fashioned running game with explosive athlete Kendrick Market to kick start its scoring engine.

Market lined up in the Wild Tiger formation and bullied his way for 29 yards. On the next play, he dashed into the endzone on a 15-yard touchdown with 2:57 left on the clock. Market picked up the two point conversion to give the Tigers an 8-0 lead at the half.

Tiger head coach Lance Pogue gave Petal a lot of credit in the first half.

“I knew they were going to come out and give us their best shot. They had a lot of energy pumped up here with their new stadium.”

Pogue was disappointed in his team’s performance in the first half.

“I was disappointed in some of the things we did. Turning the ball over a couple of times and the penalties hurt us. Our defense played 38 plays in the first half and that is too many.”

Petal was riding an emotional high and Pogue was hoping the Tigers would weather that and that Petal would wear down.

“They had too much emotion and adrenalin and that will finally fade out on you.”

It looked like a different Tiger team entered the field for the second half of play.

Senior running back Qyen Griffin did not waste time. With nine seconds off the clock, he broke to the right and sprinted down the sideline 70 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion by Griffin put the Tigers up 16-0.

Petal’s kicker Josh Lomas attempted a 37-yard field goal with 6:45 left in the quarter but it went wide left.

It was the continuation of the Griffin show in the third quarter but sophomore athlete Tony Conner made an appearance. Conner took the ball 24 yards and was brought down at the one-yard line.

Griffin had the honors of taking the ball in for the one-yard touchdown capping an 80-yard, nine-play drive with 3:25 left on the clock.

Conner scored the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 22-0 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“I think you saw in the second half what our potential is,” said Pogue.

Senior quarterback Lee Self connected with Dandy Dozen player senior wide receiver Nick Brassell for a 35-yard touchdown with eight seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion from Self to Timothy Gleaton was good to give the Tigers a 30-0 lead.

“Brassell didn’t have his best game tonight but still made a lot of plays,” Pogue said.

The last touchdown came with 9:24 left in the game. Conner was denied his first touchdown, but he left all defenders in the proverbial dust on a 65-yard touchdown run to cap a three-play, 96-yard drive in 1:38. The two-point run attempt failed.

Petal kicker Lomas attempted a 27-yard field goal but missed. The Tigers added a safety when Lomas attempted a punt but the ball went over his head. He kicked it out the back of the endzone to avoid a Tiger touchdown.

The Tigers’ time of possession was 22:34 with 523 total yards. They had 431 rushing yards, was seven of nine with 92 passing yards, 17 first downs, 11 penalties for 95 yards and lost two fumbles.

The Panthers’ time of possession was 25:26 with 135 total yards on 54 plays. They had 45 rushing yards, was six of 16 in passing for 90 yards, nine first downs and 10 penalties for 65 yards.

Griffin was the leading rusher with 230 yards on 16 carries. Conner had two carries for 89 yards, Market had four for 66 and Tyler Beard had one for 22 yards. Brassell had 2 carries for 4 yards and 4 receptions for 59 yards. Billy Woods and Beard each had 1 reception for 20 yards.

Self was four of six for 59 yards passing with one touchdown. Tevis Flowers was three for  three passing for 33 yards. Taylor Rotenberry punted twice for 83 yards with his longest being 44. Brassell had three punt returns for 18 yards and one kickoff return for 25 yards.

Carrying the load for the Panthers was quarterback Anthony Alford with 59 yards on 22 carries, completing 6 of 14 passes for 90 yards.

The Tiger defense did its part not allowing the Panthers to enter the end zone and recording four quarterback sacks. Temario Strong, Kendall Carr and Conner each had three solo tackles, 3 assists and one sack. Isaac Gross had one solo, two assists and a sack. Al Hentz, Gregdrecus Leland and Deshun Hines each had two pass deflections. Lageffery Glover, Brassell, Market and Rotenberry had one deflection each.

“The defense was great and I was proud of them. Anytime you shut someone out in 6A it is great. We gave up a couple of plays I want to get fixed but overall we were physical.”

Brassell said it was the first game and they had to get back used to playing.

“It is totally different from practice but Petal is a good team especially the quarterback,” he said. “At halftime, it was quiet in the locker room. We focused, put our heads together and decided what we needed to do. We’ve got a lot of things to work on in practice this week for four days before going to Georgia. Hopefully we will do better.”

Griffin was tired after the game saying he had worked hard but had something to prove.

“The coach got on me all week and told me I could be the best back in the state,” Griffin said. “I took that, came out tonight and showed everybody what they had been missing from last year. I made long runs in practice and I believed I could do it in the game. I have to keep it up now and get better. As far as the game, we had to make some adjustments at the half with the offense and get everybody on the right track.”

“The team worked hard, came out and played their game,” said senior offensive lineman Austin Douglas. “Now we need to step it up, getter better and play better as the season progresses. As far as the offensive line, we talked at halftime and knew we had to pick it up. We came out in the second half and did business.”

The Tigers will be back on the road Friday for a nine hour trip to Moultrie, Ga. where they will take on the Colquitt County Packers Saturday in an 11:45 a.m. central standard time game.

Colquitt lost its season opener 15-9.