NP vs Byhalia game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cougars faced shut out to Byhalia, get Water Valley in first round

By Brad Greer

Having already wrapped up a post-season berth two weeks ago, the North Panola Cougars looked to do something Friday night at Byhalia it had not done since 2008 and that would be to  host a North 3A playoff game.

The Indians spoiled those plans however with a 25-0 victory on a cold, wet night to end the regular season for both teams.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

With the win, Byhalia (6-4; 3-2) finishes second place in Region 3-3A and will host Region 2 third-place finisher Mooreville Friday night. North Panola, (5-5; 3-2) meanwhile will travel to Region 2 runner-up Water Valley for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Turnovers plagued North Panola as the Cougars turned the ball over four times during the game, two of which led to Byhalia touchdowns.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Indians got on the board at the 8:38 mark of the second quarter as Marquis Rodgers connected with Justin Washington on 26-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and 6 call. The scoring drive began on the Cougar 43-yard line after 17-yard punt return by Keenen Jones.

North Panola moved the ball to midfield on the following series before D’Andre Buchanan picked off one of three Willie Hibbler passes in the game and returned it to the Cougar 42. One play later, Devonte Norman escaped a heavy North Panola defensive rush and raced 42 yards for the score to increase its lead to 12-0 with 4:12 remaining before halftime. Norman led Byhalia in rushing with 99 yards on 15 carries.
Following a three-and-out by the Cougars on their ensuing possession, Byhalia looked to pad its lead in the closing seconds of the first half but  Darrius Thomas interception of a Rodgers pass in the end zone with 13 seconds remaining snuffed out the drive.

 The North Panola defense kept Byhalia at bay in the third quarter as the Indians started their first two drives on the Cougar 30 and 22 yard-lines only to turn the ball over on downs deep inside North Panola territory.

Byhalia extended their lead to 18-0 with 5:15 left in the third period on Rodgers 34-yard scamper. The Indians started the drive on the Cougar 30 yard-line after 10-yard North Panola punt.

Byhalia put the finishing touches on the victory with 1:18 remaining in the fourth quarter as 335-pound offensive lineman Monrekus Green lined up at fullback and plowed his way in for a one-yard touchdown run as Juan Hernandez booted the PAT to make the score 25-0.

“It was really hit or miss on a few things we tried to do on offense tonight. We moved the ball some, but then ended up turning the ball over. This reminded me of the loss to Lewisburg back early in the season where turnovers killed us,” said North Panola head coach Derick King.

North Panola ended the night with 82 yards passing and 55 yards rushing for 137 yards of total offense. Byhalia meanwhile registered 245 yards of total offense including 206 yards rushing and 39 yards through the air. Both teams were penalized nine times while the Cougars held a 9-8 advantage in first downs.

Tony Hibbler led North Panola in rushing with six carries for 21 yards. Justin Conner followed with 20 yards on eight totes. Willie Hibbler registered 11 carries for 13 yards and was 7-of 21 passing with three interceptions.

Cedric Clay chipped in with five carries for seven yards, Thomas had two carries for – minus six yards.

Jaquay Daniels led the receiving corps with two catches for 40 yards while  Dameon Phillips added a pair of receptions for 26 yards. Robert Oliver had one catch for 13 yards, Clay added one reception for eight yards and Lucius Walls contributed with one catch for -minus five yards.