NP vs Water Valley

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cougars stumble and fall to Water Valley in first playoff game in 4 years

By Myra Bean

The North Panola Cougars have nothing to hang their heads about as they just finished a turn around season.

After going 1-9 in each of the last two seasons and 4-6 in 2009, the Cougars ended their 2012 season in the first round of playoffs against Water Valley  41-22 Friday night,

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In what the locals dub “Death Valley”, the Cougars (5-6) had a hard time getting started against the Blue Devil attack.

After three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) in the first half, Water Valley led 34-0 with only seconds to go in the third quarter. As time expired in the third quarter, quarterback Willie Hibbler found Darrius Thomas for the 26-yard strike to avoid the shutout and put the Cougars on the board.

The 10-play, 91-yard drive was highlighted by 32 and 11-yard passes to Jaquay Daniels and a seven-yard pass to Lucius Walls.

Hibbler ran in the two-point conversion to cut the lead 34-8.

The Cougars forced the Blue Devils to turn the ball over on downs on their next possession and then marched 77 yards in 3:38 to score on an eight-yard pass from Hibbler to Robert Oliver, his first touchdown of the season. The score stood 34-14 after the two-point attempt failed with 5:58 left in the game.

The drive was highlighted by pass receptions to Thomas for 19 yards and Daniels for 45 yards.

Water Valley scored its final touchdown with 3:57 left in the game on a 40-yard pass from E. J. Bounds to Cortaveus Hawkins. The PAT by Alex Robles was good for the 41-14 lead.

The Cougars were not finished however.

On a 12-play, 71-yard drive, Hibbler scored on a six-yard run with 46.9 seconds left in the game. Justin Conner took in the two-point conversion to cut the lead 41-22.

Water Valley scored in the first quarter on a one-yard run by Jeoffrey Gordon. The PAT was no good for the 6-0 lead with 3:38 left in the quarter.

The Cougars fumbled the ball away with 10:16 left in the quarter.

The score stood going into the second quarter where Water Valley scored two more runs, one an interception returned for a touchdown. The first touchdown of the second quarter was a 28-yard pass to L. J. Hawkins with 5:58 left in the half which followed an interception by Blue Devil Devin Fleming at the 8:35 mark.

On the Cougar’s next possession, T. T. Person returned an interception 45 yards for a score with 3:56 left in the first half. Robles kicked both PATs for the 20-0 halftime Water Valley lead.

Water Valley scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, a 15-yard run by Brandon Bounds with 8:01 left and a two-yard run by Bounds with 4:28 left. Both extra point kicks were good for the 34-0 lead.

The Cougar defense caused a Water Valley fumble and senior linebacker Aaron Kimmons recovered with 9:36 left in the first quarter.

Leading tackler for the Cougars was Kimmons with 15 total tackles and one fumble recovery followed by senior linebacker Tony Hibbler with 11 tackles, two for lost yards and one sack.

Jerod Gordon also had 11 tackles and Steve Russell had nine.

The teams were almost even in offensive yards. North Panola had 347 total yards, including 281 through the air, while Water Valley had 352 total yards with 197 rushing.

Willie Hibbler completed 17 of 30 passes and one touchdown. He had 19 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown as the leading rusher.

Also carrying the ball were Conner, 18 yards on eight carries; Darrius Thomas, 17 yards on two carries; and Cedric Clay, 12 yards on three carries.

Thomas was the leading receiver with 120 yards on five receptions and one touchdown. Daniels had 91 yards on five receptions, followed by Robert Oliver with 53 yards on five receptions and one touchdown. Lucius Walls rounded out receiving with 17 yards on two catches.