Number One Ranking

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2010

Finally: Tigers land top spot in national poll

By Myra Bean

It finally happened.

The South Panola Tigers are ranked No. 1 in the nation by one of the top six ranking polls,

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The news spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon when poll results were released.

Even when the Tigers were on the nation’s third longest, 89-game win streak, they were never ranked higher than second, and that by Sports Illustrated.

South Panola moved to No. 3 in three other polls, USA Today, Maxpreps and Prepnation. Calpreps ranks South Panola No. 4 while ESPN ranks South Panola No. 7.

South Panola Tiger radio play-by-play announcer George Carlson, who serves as a Mississippi Supreme Court justice, said, “For South Panola fans, this week will be remembered for a long time, because for the first time ever, South Panola is ranked as the No. 1 high school football team in the United States.”

Carlson added, “With thousands of high school football teams around this great country, it is really almost an unbelievable accomplishment. All of us who comprise the South Panola Nation unquestionably are proud of head coach Lance Pogue, his assistant coaches and staff, and most importantly, our football players for this honor – their hard work has paid off.

“The cold hard facts are that in order to get the attention of the prep pollsters, high school teams have to be willing to go across state lines and play the games like we did last weekend against Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Ga.,” Carlson said. 

“If we stay on course, the higher rankings from MaxPreps and USA Today will come in due course,” Carlson said.

The Supreme Court justice noted South Panola “leap-frogged” four teams, going from No. 11 to No. 7. in the ESPN poll this week.

A former Tiger, Justice Carlson is always willing to talk about South Panola football and usually gets in a “plug” for the program while at speaking engagements across the state.

He also emphasized, “I believe Coach Pogue would be the first to say that we have to stay focused and take these games one at a time, and let the chips fall where they may as far as the polls. 

“But, no doubt about it South Panola fans are having fun with all this national attention,” Carlson added.

South Panola has one of its biggest challenges of the season tonight when they travel to Memphis University School.

That team was the last to defeat the Tigers in the third game of the season last year, 21-19. Neither team has lost since and MUS is on a 28-game win streak.

That game ended ended a 54-home game win streak  for the Tigers that began November 9, 2001.

The Tigers had to restart after meeting the Owls last year. South Panola’s current streak stands at 14 going into the game.