All-American Bowl

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2011

Pogue directs East to 13-10 record-setting win over West

By Angie Ledbetter and Adam Liberman

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South Panola’s head Coach Lance Pogue led the East team to a 13-10 come-from-behind victory over the West in a record breaking crowd of 37,893 in the Alamodome at the 2011 U. S. Army All American Bowl in San Antonio last Saturday.

Also coaching on the East team was Trey Dickerson from South Panola who coached the offense. Playing as wide receiver was Nick Brassell.

With the victory, the East now holds a 6-5 advantage in the all-time U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Several records were set at the game. The final score set a low scoring record to pass the 18-15 West victory in 2001. The attendance set a record passing the 36,534 set in 2008. The East set a bowl record with 12 sacks for 61 yards lost. The East’s sack total dragged down the West’s rushing total to -20 on the game and out rushed them 169 to -20 on the day.

It was mostly defense in the first half when only three points were scored by the West and only four total first downs.

The first score came when West’s defensive back Stefan McClure intercepted the ball to set up a field goal to go up 3-0. West got the ball in great field position after a mishandled snap on a punt to set up a touchdown. West quarterback Cody Kessler connected with Jaxon Shipley to go up 10-0 in the third quarter.

The East rallied with a 69-yard run by Demetrius Hart to set up a field goal attempt which was blocked.

East’s first score came in the fourth quarter when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater connected with Miles Shuler for a touchdown. West led 10-6 after the extra point was missed.

The East continued fighting. With 3:38 left in the game, James Wilder scored on a three-yard run to give the East its first lead of the game. The kick by Niklas Sade was good for the 13-10 lead.

Brassell had two receptions for 32 yards.

“We got behind 10-0 in the game but we talked all week about hanging together, not getting divided, encouraging one another and they did that to a tee,” Pogue said. “They just fought so hard the second half and fought their way back in to it. They just wouldn’t be denied.”

Pogue compared this game to the state championship.

“Well it’s a different kind of win. Back home I’ve got to win or I will not be there the next day. Here it was a lot of fun. Obviously, we wanted to win and we had a lot of pride involved in it. It’s something that you can hold on to forever and I wanted so bad to win this game. I thought with all of the Mississippi guys we had, it would be good for us also.”

Pogue said it was an unbelievable experience.

“It was such an honor to be associated with all of these Army people and what they stand for,” he said. “A lot of these players and coaches will be friends forever now. I’m going to keep the roster and follow these kids. They’re going to the next level and be NFL so it’ll be a fun experience.”

There was a entourage from Panola County who attended the game.

“I’m so excited about all of the people from Batesville that made the trip to support us,” said Pogue. “I appreciate all of them so much.”

Mississippi was well-represented in the game.

“I’m proud of the three players and two coaches that we had from Mississippi also with Nick Brassell, Tobias Singleton, C. J. Johnson, Trey Dickerson and Mike Justice. Hopefully we made the state of Mississippi proud.”

Pogue was awarded the Russell Athletic Coach of the Year award on Thursday night.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be considered national coach of the year. I say thanks to players, coaches, band, cheerleaders, the school and all the great South Panola fans. It’s a collective effort by all.”

Dickerson said, “It was an unbelievable week with a lot of great players. I was very pleased with the outcome of the game and the way our players never got down and found a way to win.”

Brassell said, “It was a great week. We bonded each night with a different person. It was a hard week of practice. We only had five days of practice and we bonded together coming out with the victory. We knew deep inside what we had to do to win and we did it at the end. It was a lot faster than high school football.”

Brassell compared this win to the state championship win.

“This win felt good but the state championship win is one I’ll remember forever and it was back at home. Both were great victories though.”