NP vs Charleston pregame

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2012

NP Cougars “restore the roar”
North Panola to host Charleston in big 3-3A contest on senior night

By Myra Bean

North Panola will be the only local team playing at home tonight and they have a big contest in store.

“I think it’s going to be a heck of a game,”  Coach Derrick King said.

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North Panola (4-3 overall, 2-0 district) will host defending 3A state champion Charleston (7-1, 2-0).

Since North Panola literally stole a guaranteed 12-7 win from Winona last Friday night, people have sat up and taken notice.

The win put North Panola even with Charleston in Region 3-3A at 2-0.  Charleston has one loss this season on its record, a 21-18 drop to 5A Oxford Chargers.

The Cougars are operating under two themes this year: “Don’t get outworked” and “Restore the Roar.”
With the win over Winona, the Cougars are showing they can make noise with the big cats. Head coach King said he believes the roar is back in the program.

“We have a lot of hype going,” he said. “The boys are ecstatic.”

King reports 100 percent participation in Monday and Tuesday practices when school was closed for fall break.

They were at the field house from 12 to 5 both days with practices starting at 2.

The history between Charleston and North Panola does not include a lot of meetings. Going back to 1998, the teams have only met five times as they have moved in and out of 3-3A. Charleston has spent a lot of years in 2-3A, while North Panola has spent some time in 4A.

In 2007, the teams met in the playoffs that Charleston won but ended up losing the next week.

Last year Charleston routed the Cougars 55-0.

Last week’s upset of Winona gave the team more confidence, according to King, to face these other Tigers who will invade Cougar field on senior night.

“We are showing the community we are doing something different,” he said. “For the most part, we played another fourth quarter game. We had to play all four quarters so we have been there now, three times, in both district games which is huge. So going forward now, that gives us confidence in that area.”

King said the team is not overconfident they can take down the defending state 3A champion Tigers, but they are going for the win.

“I think our boys realize that we are still trying to be a good team,” he said. “We watch film and we respect Charleston a ton. They are well-coached and in every aspect of the game, they are solid. They won the state championship. They have played a heck of a schedule. We understand our opponent and we respect them. In our mindset we have to get them right now.”

The Cougar defense kept Winona out of the end zone except for one bloop and kept them out of field goal range. The Cougars have scored 104 points this season and allowed 135. Charleston has scored 292 points and allowed 110.

The Cougar coaching staff is not asking the offense to manage the game, King said.

“We would like to attack,” he said. “We want to run our offense. We think that with some of the stuff that we have put in the game, we have put ourselves into position to finish the game. We did a good job of that last week. Offense was on the field a lot. We kept our defense off. So we are getting better at controlling the ball and we want to continue doing that. We want to score. We want to go for points.”

Charleston top players include preseason all-star senior, wide receiver, defensive back, athlete Kameron Myers, 5’8”, 168 pounds; senior wide receiver/defensive back Tilmus Bradford, 5’11”, 155-pounds; senior defensive back, running back and wide receiver Deshadrick Truly, 5’10”, 180 pounds;  sophomore defensive back, quarterback Dontavius Powell, 5’10”, 150 pounds; senior defensive tackle, offensive guard Markell Taylor, 5’10”, 230 pounds; and junior linebacker Keydarrius Wyatt, 5’6”, 165 pounds.
North Panola will recognize and honor its 17 football seniors, along with cheerleader and band seniors in a halftime ceremony tonight.

The season is winding down and King said he really just got his seniors.

“It is a big night for them,” he said. “We are on  a winning streak, playing the defending state champions.

I think it will be an emotional game and I hope it works in our favor. Looking forward they deserve to be recognized for sticking with the program. They have had four different head coaches. It is a tribute to them and to their parents and families that they have stuck around.”

Kickoff is 7 p.m. and tickets are $6.