SP vs Clinton pregame

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2012

SP and Clinton meet again in playoffs

By Angie Ledbetter

It is “win or go home” time and nobody knows that better than the two teams who will meet on Tiger field in Robert H. Dunlap Stadium tonight.

The South Panola Tigers (10-2) will host the Clinton Arrows (7-5) in a 7 p.m. kickoff in the second round of playoffs.

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The winner will advance to take on the winner of the Olive Branch/Madison Central game in the North State game next Friday night.

The two teams have not met since November 20, 2009 when the Tigers shut out the Arrows 35-0 in the second round of playoffs.

The Tigers had their own bad memories to contend with as last year they fell to Madison Central in the second round 28-14 in Jackson.

Ask any player on this 2012 team and he will tell you there will be no repeat of last year. They have one thing on their mind and that’s Jackson.

Senior Tony Conner said, “Jackson all the way and a 6A state championship.”

Deon Mix, known for his singing would sing, “I’m Going to Jackson” because he said he believed from day one of his senior year that this team would return and win the 6A state championship.

Under new head coach Judd Boswell, Clinton started the season slow but turned it around on October 5 beating Murrah 31-26. Since then they have won five straight games beating Northwest Rankin 17-15, Warren Central 41-40, Greenville Weston 31-0, Vicksburg 7-0 (by forfeit) and Southaven 31-7 last week.

Tiger head coach Lance Pogue said the Arrows are believing in their new head coach and staff.

“When kids don’t have a lot of success but they keep believing and keep hanging in there and something good happens and they start winning some games, you really gain that confidence and believe. So that’s what they’re doing right now. They’re playing better week from week.

“With them beating Southaven handily it tells me that they’ve greatly improved,” added Pogue. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence and are a dangerous team right now.”

Early season losses came by way of Meridian 27-6, Brandon 37-7, Provine 32-17 and Jim Hill 14-10. The two division losses were to Madison Central and Jim Hill.

Comparing teams, the Tigers are averaging 8.1 points in the first quarter while the Arrows averaged 5.5. In the second quarter the Tigers average 9.3 and the Arrows 3.9. In the third quarter the Arrows average 6.6 while the Tigers had 5.7. The last quarter the Tigers average 28.4 and the Arrows 20.7.

South Panola is averaging 182.6 rushing yards per game compared to the Arrow’s 183.0. In passing the Tigers average 149.4 and the Arrows 61. The Arrows have 58.3 tackles averaged per game compared to the Tiger’s 40. In sacks the Arrows have 2.2 per game and the Tiger’s 1.8. Total points averaged per game, the Tigers have 28.4 and the Arrows 20.7.

The Arrows are led on the field by senior quarterback Cale Luke,  6’2”/170 pounds, who has completed 55 of 119 passes for 660 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Luke has also 150 carries for 757 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 fumbles.  

“He has good blood lines with his dad Tom Luke who played quarterback at Ole Miss from 1989-1991. He’s really a tough kid who can run the football and throw it well.

“He’s a really balanced guy and seems to be the team leader,” Pogue said.

Two key running backs are Ali Ellis and Demarcus Harried.

“Both of them are good players but a little bit different kinds of backs,” Pogue said. “Their offense is centered around their running backs and quarterback.”

Ellis also has nine kickoff returns for 161 yards.

“He’s a guy that can fly. You have to get your hands on him and wrap him up because if he gets an open field he can take it the distance.”

Pogue said defensively they form their own identify.

Junior linebacker Quantus King has accounted for 94 tackles that include 69 solo.

“He’s a very physical kid who makes a lot of tackles. We’ve got to identify him offensively.”

Another player to watch is Reece Everett who is the kicker.

He has punted 35 times for 1,291 yards that included 10 inside the 20, 40 kickoffs for 2,378 yards with 37 touchbacks with the longest at 60 and seven field goals.

Tickets to tonight’s game will be sold at the high school from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $7.

No reserved seating is available during playoffs.