SPFB vs Columbus

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2011

Tigers head to Columbus

By Angie Ledbetter

After swallowing the biggest loss of the season, the South Panola Tigers (3-3 overall, 1-1 district) are looking forward to rebound on the road tonight as they travel to Columbus to take on a much improved Falcons team in a  7 p.m. kickoff.

The Falcons are 3-0 at home this season. Both teams enter tonight’s contest with one division loss.

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In 6A region 1 the Falcons stand at No. 4 spot where the Tigers are No. 6. In the 6A state ranking the Tigers stand at No. 4 and the Falcons at No. 8.

“Columbus is a much improved team this year with a bunch of seniors,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue. “I remember when they started as sophomores two years ago and I always felt when they got older they’d be really good. It seems like they’re putting it together this year. They’re very good with a lot of ability and speed.”

The Falcons have fielded 140 points in six games and allowed 121 from opponents while the Tigers have scored 100 and allowed 88.

Columbus opened the season defeating Aberdeen 31-14. The following week they beat West Point 35-27 in overtime. They shut out New Hope 33-0 in the third game of the season. Their first loss was to Louisville 22-10 in their fourth game.

They edged Tupelo 24-23 two weeks ago in the district opener and last week Southaven handed them their first division loss 35-7.

Columbus uses two different quarterbacks. Sophomore Trace Lee has completed 29 of 66 passes for 380 yards with six touchdowns and senior Cedric Jackson has completed 18 of 35 passes for 224 yards with one touchdown.

“Trace Lee is Tyson Lee’s younger brother. Tyson played quarterback at Mississippi State University two years ago.

“Lee is more the passer for them and Jackson is their runner so they have a combination going,” Pogue added.

For the Tigers Tevis Flowers has completed 33 of 71 passes for 488 yards with two touchdowns. 

On the receiving end for Columbus is senior wide receiver Deontae Jones who has 25 receptions for 359 yards and five touchdowns.

DeAndrea Harris has eight receptions for the Tigers for 239 yards with one touchdown.

As for Columbus runners, senior running back Damian Baker has scored 44 points. He has 578 rushing yards on 92 carries and seven touchdowns.

“Baker has been starting three years at tailback and is a really good running back with good size. I think he has a future as a college running back,” Pogue said.

On offense for the Tigers Tony Conner has six touchdowns for 36 total points. Conner has rushed 121 times for 533 yards with four touchdowns.

The Falcons’ defense has 12 interceptions and returned them for 147 yards. Senior linebacker Gemriah Williams has recorded 32 total tackles.        

“Columbus is playing really good defense and not giving up many points other than last week against Southaven. It was a close game until the fourth quarter when they gave up an interception return for a touchdown and it unraveled on them late.”

Leading the defense for the Tigers is Issac Gross with 36 total tackles and two sacks. Temario Strong has 31 tackles with three sacks and one interception.

According to Pogue practice went well this past week.

“All the kids are hungry and want to do well,” he said. “Looking at the picture we’re only starting four or five seniors and that’s a tough deal for anybody. You take teams like Olive Branch. They’re like we were last year with a heavy group of seniors. It makes such a world of difference, especially with us offensively since we have all those new guys. Teams that have a lot of seniors with a lot of ability have the upper hand and that’s the cards we’re dealing with right now but we’re getting better.”

Directions: Take I-55 south and take exit 185 toward Winona. Take US 82 east for 86.9 miles. Take MS-50/MS-12 exit toward Columbus. Turn left onto Tuscaloosa Road. Take third right onto N Lehmberg Road. Take second right onto Warpath Road. The stadium is on Warpath Road right past Sale Elementary School which is 520 Warpath Road.