North Panola vs Independence

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

North Panola’s first win ends in shutout

By Myra Bean

Jamal Mangrum’s 80-yard pick six as game time expired put the exclamation point on North Panola’s first win of the season Friday night.

North Panola shut out Independence 42-0 in a must-win game for both teams. North Panola avoided a winless season by capitalizing on some mistakes by Independence. Both teams turned the ball over four times each, but North Panola scored some points off the efforts of the defense.

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On defense Qyndarius Russell was the pressure point for the Independence quarterback. Through Russell’s efforts, North Panola scored first on a safety with 9:50 on the first quarter clock. Aaron Kimmons was also a thorn in the Independence quarterback’s side as he blocked a pass and recorded a couple of tackles in the first quarter.

North Panola had a rocky start on offense. The first possession ended in an interception and the second possession ended in a fumble on the Independence five-yard line. A 28-yard run by Quadarius Cole on the first play from scrimmage had brought the Cougars to the six-yard line.

Cougar junior quarterback Martavius Butler scored the first touchdown on a hard-fought run from the one-yard line. With arms outstretched, the ball crossed the pylon for the 8-0 lead as the two-point pass attempt failed with 4:18 left. The two-play, 42-yard drive was aided by a 41-yard pass from Butler to junior receiver Jaquay Daniels. Sophomore defensive back Shameek Thomas recovered the fumble which led to the touchdown possession.

North Panola put together one of its best drives in the second quarter starting from its own 30-yard line. It took 11 plays to go 70 yards for a five yard run by running back Chris Conner with 44 seconds left in the half. Conner also scored the two-point conversion for the 16-0 halftime lead. The possession took 6:05 off the clock and was aided by six of eight completed passes from Butler to four different receivers. Conner caught a five yard pass. Cole’s sweep pass was for minus two yards. Willie Hibbler caught a 31-yard pass and a 16-yard pass. Jatavius Farmer caught two passes for 21 and 18 yards, respectively.

North Panola immediately got the ball back as Izear Farmer recovered a fumble with 31 seconds left in the half on Independence’s second play of the possession. Butler found Willie Hibbler on a 33-yard pass right before the half which brought the ball to the 14-yard line but the Cougars let the clock count down to the half.

The second half the Cougars came out more determined than ever. They had not forgotten the lead they had over South Pontotoc but lost it right before halftime and never regained the advantage losing 25-24. Independence had no answer to counter the Cougar offensive attack and no offensive game plan to counter the Cougar defense.

The Cougars made things very difficult for the Independence offense in the third quarter. The second possession ended in a fumble and recovery by Chris Conner. Independence’s next possession also ended in a fumble recovery by North Panola’s Steve Russell. Qyndarius Russell got a sack in the third for a 14-yard loss and so did Kimmons for five lost yards.

On offense, the Cougars had one pass intercepted but the defense immediately got it back on the Independence 35. After stalling on third and one, the Cougars called for jumbo on fourth down and one. Tony Hibbler takes the ball 25 yards to the one and then finished the possession with a one-yard touchdown run with 2:13 left in the quarter. Butler scores the two-point conversion for the 24-0 lead. The touchdown capped a five-play, 35-yard drive.

It was the Martavious Butler-Jatavius Farmer show in the fourth quarter for the Cougars as Butler found Farmer twice for touchdown pass receptions. The first was a 14-yard strike at the 9:52 mark but the extra point kick by Willie Hibbler failed.

The drive started two plays before the end of the third quarter as Butler hit Conner for a 17-yard reception to get to the 50 yard line. The drive was also aided by a nine-yard run by Cedric Clay and a 20-yard run by Conner.

Alone in the end zone with 6:20 left in the game, Butler hit Farmer for the final offensive touchdown of the game. The drive started on the Independence 18 after the Wildcats attempted to convert a fourth down and 21 from the 26. Tony Hibbler dropped the quarterback for an eight-yard sack.

North Panola garnered 355 yards of total offense including 202 passing and 153 rushing. Butler completed 13 of 23 passes for 202 yards and one interception.

Conner was the leading rusher with 61 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown. Hibbler rushed for 26 yards on two carries and a touchdown. Clay also had 26 yards on five carries. Cole rushed for 23 yards on four carries, followed by Thomas with 16 yards on three carries.

Willie Hibbler led the receiving corps with 80 yards on three catches followed by Daniels with 68 yards on two catches. Farmer had four catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

Tony Hibbler led the defense with seven tackles and four assists, two sacks, three tackles for loss yards, forced two fumbles and recovered one. Steve Russell had four solo tackles, two assists, one sack, three tackles for lost yards, forced one fumble and recovered one.

Mangrum had three solo tackles, two assists, one tackle for loss and one interception returned for a touchdown.

The Cougars will play its final game of the regular season Friday, hosting Byhalia (5-5 overall, 2-2 district) at 7 p.m. Byhalia defeated Palmer 56-30 Friday night to move into third place in the district.