SP vs Columbus pregame

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 5, 2012

Tigers to host determined Columbus team tonight

By Angie Ledbetter

After an ecstatic win over Olive Branch last week to put the South Panola Tigers at No. 5 in the Clarion-Ledger’s Super 10 Poll, they will host district foe the Columbus Falcons (4-2, 1-1) on senior night.

The Tigers lead in their division with a 2-0 record. 

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Twenty seniors will be recognized during pregame. The last home game will be homecoming, October 19.

Tiger head coach Lance Pogue said senior night is a bittersweet time.

“You get close to the kids and they kind of grow up with you. It’s part of high school football and I’m happy and proud of each one of them.

“It’s hard to believe we’re this far into the season,” Pogue added. “It seems we just started practice July 30 and it’s really moving fast.”

Pogue said the Tigers always seem to have a hard time with Columbus.

“We always play them right behind Olive Branch and it’s an emotional game for both sides,” he said. “We try to stress to the players that they got a huge win over Olive Branch so they don’t want to lose the momentum. Hopefully they’ll be pumped up and ready to go.”

The Falcons’ roster includes 19 seniors, 26 juniors and 30 sophomores. They enter the game with one division win and one loss after shutting out Tupelo 14-0 two weeks ago and losing to Southaven 17-7 last week. Their non division loss came by way of ranked West Point who defeated Columbus 26-19 on August 31.

“If it hadn’t been for a turnover or two Columbus would’ve been right there in the Southaven game and a couple of plays away from being 2-0 in the division,” Pogue said.

“I remember last year when we only beat them 21-6 and in 2007 we had Tigs Barskdale and some of those guys and Columbus had us down 14-0 at the half, but we came back and won. It seems like we always get their best shot.”

Pogue said the team has to guard against a letdown.

“We’ve worked so hard to give ourselves a chance to win the Olive Branch game because we knew if we could it’d give us a great opportunity to move forward—so you don’t want to lose the momentum you’ve gained. Hopefully our motivation will be playing at home and senior night.”

Their other three wins were against Aberdeen 21-0, New Hope 9-6 and Louisville 21-13.
The Falcon offense has scored 91 points in six games averaging 15.1 per game. The defense has allowed 62 points, averaging 10.3 per game.

Columbus will be under the field direction of junior quarterback Trace Lee, 6-1, 180 pounds. He has completed 29 of 72 passes for 437 yards with three touchdowns, his longest being 43 yards.

“Lee can really throw the ball,” said Pogue. “He threw it 45 times last week against Southaven so Columbus puts it in the air a lot.

“Lee’s brother played at Columbus a few years ago and went on to play at Mississippi State University.”

Columbus’ key running back is junior Kevin Jackson, who has 90 yards on 17carries.

“He’s a dangerous threat and we’ve got to always try to identify him.

“Columbus is really good defensively,” Pogue said. “That’s been their deal all year and their strong point.”

Alex Lipscomb, 6’1”, 170-pound sophomore defensive lineman, has two interceptions recorded this season.

“Lipscomb is about the size of Quandez Lee and about the same kind of player. He’s a good player, really stands out and we’ve got to find a way to keep him from disrupting our offense,” Pogue said.

Along with Lipscomb will be senior running back Quan Latham, 5’10”, 193 pounds.  

There is a whole collection of Columbus players who are nice looking athletes, according to Pogue.

“They have a mixture of experience and inexperience but what they do have is speed and athletic ability. When they dress out in uniforms they’re a really good looking football team.”

Kickoff is 7 p.m. tonight.