NP vs Winona game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

North Panola sophomore Willie Patterson intercepts a Winona pass and returns it for good field position that set up North Panola’s second touchdown at the halftime buzzer. The Panolian photo by Andy Young

Cougars upset Winona in district catfight
NP wins fourth straight game in more than a decade

By Myra Bean

North Panola’s Derek King got his first water bath as a head coach when the Cougar defense held Winona at the end zone with 1 second left on the clock. He was just about speechless in a post game interview.

“It is surreal right now,” he finally got out.

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It is not that this was the coach’s first win or even second or third but it is the first time he has won four games in a row since high school.

“Even when I was in college I didn’t go four in a row,” he said. “I am excited, humbled, so many adjectives.

“This is a credit to the boys sticking with us,” King continued.

  North Panola (4-3 overall, 2-0 district) made milestone after milestone in this game with the Tigers (4-4 overall, 1-1 district).

The Cougars held Winona scoreless through the first half and took a 12-0 lead into halftime. Winona was also scoreless in the fourth quarter and held to their lowest scoring game of the season.

Emotions ran high after Winona had made it to the Cougar 11-yard line on a big catch and two big penalties of 15 yards each against the Cougars. The drive started on the Winona 32 with 54 seconds left in the game.

The game clock did not start with 11 seconds left in the game on one play so one second was left on the clock before the final play. Winona sophomore quarterback Marlo Hill attempted a pass to senior captain wide receiver Deon Stinson as time expired. In what may become the play of the game, Cougar senior linebacker Aaron Kimmons was in the right place at the right time to get his hands between the ball and Stinson and thus end the game in favor of the Cougars.

“It was either make it or break it,” Kimmons said. “We weren’t going to let it end in a defensive loss. We said we were going to win it and we did.”

Players rushed the field, hugged the coaching staff, statistician Mike Britt fell to the ground in tears and King and principal Jamone Edwards chest bumped as the Cougars finally won a game they were not expected to win.

With the past two meetings with Winona both losses for the Cougars, the finally got their revenge.
Winona proved they had some offense when senior running back captain Patrick Purnell cut to his right and raced 63 yards down the field for the Tigers’ only touchdown of the game. Tyler Ballard’s extra point kick cut the Cougar lead to five, as the Cougars had failed to convert both two-point attempts.

Cougar sophomore quarterback Willie Hibbler was more than determined to get his team on the scoreboard with less than a minute to go in the half. From 43 yards out, Hibbler powered up the middle and then cut to his right dragging some defenders and knocking others out of the way all the way to the end zone with 38 seconds to go.

Cougar sophomore cornerback Darrius Thomas had intercepted a Winona pass on the Cougar 30 and returned it to the Winona 43 to set up the touchdown drive.

Then on Winona’s next possession, as they were trying to score before the half, Cougar sophomore cornerback Willie Patterson intercepted a pass on the 50 and returned it to the Winona 27-yard line.

On first and 10 from the 15, Hibbler connected with Darius Walls as time expired for the 12-0 lead. The drive was aided by a 16-yard pass from Hibbler to Dameon Phillips.

King gave a lot of credit to the defensive coaching staff of Denver Wade, Robert Lester Jr. and South Oakes.

“An absolutely amazing development,” he said. “Their individual position training is key. Amazing kudos to them.”

On offense, North Panola had 222 total yards including 136 passing. They were penalized 19 times for 170 yards. Winona had 11 penalties for 90 yards.

Hibbler completed 10 of 25 attempts for 136 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was the leading rusher with 36 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.

Also rushing for the Cougars were Tony Hibbler, 28 yards, two carries; Justin Conner, 16 yards, five carries; Jaquay Daniels, three yards, three carries; and Cedric Clay, three yards, 10 carries.

Receivers include Daniels, 41 yards, one catch; Conner, three yards, one catch; Phillips, 22 yards, two catches; Walls, 39 yards, three carches, one touchdown; and Clay, 10 yards and one catch.

Leading the defense was Tony Hibbler with three tackles, one tackle for six lost yards, caused one fumble, and had three quarterback hurries.

Other defensive players include Izear Farmer, two tackles; Jerod Gordon, two tackles for five lost yards; Willie Patterson, one tackle, one interception; Aaron Kimmons, four tackles, one game-saving pass deflection; Rondarius Hunt, two tackles, one sack for four lost yards, one fumble recovery; Kendrick Austin, one tackle, one sacks for three lost yards; Antwun Armstrong, Virgil Jones, Justin Conner, and Jamal Mangrum, one tackle each; and Darrius Thomas, one tackle, three pass deflections and one interception.

The last time North Panola had a winning season was 2008 when they went 7-5. North Panola lost 14-12 to Winona because they did not score the extra points.

The good news for the North Panola team is they have qualified for a playoff spot. From now on they will play for placement.

Friday, the Charleston Tigers (7-1, 2-0) come to Sardis. The defending 3A state champions are coming off a 48-0 win over Marks Palmer.