SP vs OB game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

South Panola head coach Lance Pogue celebrates after No. 8 Darrell Henderson’s touchdown gave the Tigers a 28-7 lead over Olive Branch Friday night. Next to Henderson is Ladarius Strong. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Tigers exact revenge over No. 1 ‘Quistors

By Angie Ledbetter

Leslie Poole field was electrified Friday night for the Great American Rivalry Series game because the visiting underdogs South Panola Tigers walked on the field and denied the 6A defending state champions and the No. 1 team in the state – the Olive Branch Conquistadors – a 26th straight victory and a second win in the last 16 tries against the Tigers.

The Tigers handed the Conquistadors a 28-14 loss in the 1-6A showdown before a standing room only crowd to go 4-2 overall, 2-0 division.

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“The positive is this is just the start,” said Tiger head coach Lance Pogue. “We want to keep building, working and getting better. We’ve got some goals in mind but this was a big step and now we’ve got to come back next week and keep getting better.”

With five remaining district games to be played, Olive Branch along with Columbus, Southaven, Desoto Central, Tupelo and Grenada all have 1-1 records, while Horn Lake has an 0-2 record.

South Panola went into the game allowing 19 points per game but the defense held Olive Branch below the 37 points they’d been averaging.

Dashawn Lindsay led the defense with seven total tackles. Tony Conner had five and one pass deflection and Matthew Davis three tackles. Javon Norris had two tackles and one sack.

The Tigers used their ground attack against the Conquistadors. Ladarius Strong rushed the ball 31 times for 122 yards scoring two touchdowns. Darrell Henderson had 15 carries for 81 yards with one touchdown.

Rip Kirk completed five of 12 passes for 51 yards with one touchdown to Tyler Beard. Beard had two receptions for 12 yards. DeAndrea Harris had two receptions for 22 yards and Bailey Lawrence had one for 17.

Logan Robertson punted once for 37 yards. Conner had one punt return for 64 yards and Henderson had two for 17.

The Tigers had possession of the ball for 25:58 minutes racking up 289 total yards on 64 plays and went 11 of 14 on third down conversions. They had six penalties for 61 yards.

Olive Branch was held to 149 total yards and 11 first downs while possessing the ball for 22:02 minutes. They had three penalties for 15 yards and went four of 12 on third down conversions.

Olive Branch quarterback Sam Craft completed five of 11 passes for 45 yards with one 32 yard touchdown to Malik Naylor. Naylor finished the game with three receptions for 46 yards. Josh Cooley went seven of 15 for 75 yards passing. Craft carried the ball nine times for 26 yards. Cooley had three carries for a negative nine yards with one touchdown.

The Tigers won the toss and deferred to the second half. With a few minutes off the clock Tyler Beard scored from from five yards out and Clayton Sibley’s PAT was good with 7:37 on the clock. Strong took the ball 42 yards to score but the touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty with 1:31 left in the quarter.

Olive Branch tied the game with 9:57 in the second when Craft connected with Naylor on a 32-yard touchdown and Zack Weir’s PAT was good.

Strong scored from four yards out and Sibley’s PAT was good giving the Tigers a 14-7 lead at the half.

The Tigers advanced their lead to 21 when Strong scored on a one-yard run and Sibley added his PAT with 11:23 left in the game.

Continuing their domination, the Tigers struck one last time when Henderson rushed from 14 yards out and the PAT by Sibley was good giving the Tigers a 28-7 lead with 5:23 left on the clock.

With two minutes left in the game, Olive Branch scored on a Cooley three-yard run and Weir’s PAT was good.  

In the Clarion-Ledger Super 10 poll Picayune took the No. 1 spot while South Panola moved to No. 5 and Olive Branch dropped to No. 6. Rivals.com ranked Olive Branch No. 5 and South Panola moved to No. 3 in the state.  

Pogue referred to the two nationally-ranked teams which defeated South Panola, Hoover and Bentonville.

“We just believed in what we were doing and this was a big game for us,” said Pogue. “What we did in the two first games really didn’t have anything to do with tonight even though we would’ve like to won but got beat.”

As far as making the Tiger team tougher playing those teams, according to Pogue the team has always been tough.

“We’ve been through a little of adversity by losing those two games but we told them to keep believing but at some point in time you’ve got to do something to show the results. We had a great week of practice and this was good for them because they can now understand they had some tough times but this is the good time.”

The Tiger team dominated all three phases of the game in offense, defense and special teams.

“All three phases of the game we played lights out,” said Pogue. “We responded to a challenge and I really feel good about our players and our team.”

Pogue said he was sorry people got a bad taste in their mouths because South Panola lost to Hoover and Bentonville.

“The No. 12 and No. 13 team in the nation beat us and it created some negative sideline people out there and I’m sorry they got negative like that,” Pogue said. “But all I can say is that’s a group of players and coaches that believe in each other.

“We just beat the No. 1 team in Mississippi with a 25 game winning streak and all I’m concerned about is the direction of our players,” Pogue said.

South Panola continues district play Friday night hosting Columbus at the new time of 7 p.m. Olive Branch will play a 1-6A district contest at Desoto Central.