Rupert Howell 11/27/12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Community’s identity linked to successful Tigers

It’s just another state championship at stake, so what’s the big deal?

It’s our identity. Those who don’t like football or don’t care can’t or won’t understand. But many do care and Friday night thousands of us will be sitting under the stadium lights in Jackson when South Panola Tigers take on Brandon for the 6A championship.

We like good games and obviously we like to travel, we Tiger fans. Crowds have been kind of skimpy at recent South Panola hosted playoff games. The home team was heavily favored in those games. That wasn’t the case last Friday when the hearty traveled to Madison filling up the stands with some reportedly standing.

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And the armchair quarterbacks and coach wannabes were wrong again.

As usual, they thought we needed a new coach after the team lost earlier in the season to nationally ranked football powerhouses from both Arkansas and Alabama.

You would have thought the world was ending.

But Coach Lance Pogue stayed the course, telling those who listened that his team was good and had a bright future. Again, he was right and we play for the state championship.

And if that’s not a big deal to you, it is a big deal to most every community and high school throughout the state and beyond.

Sportswriter Brad Greer this season has attempted to follow former South Panola players who have moved on to two and four year colleges, continuing to play the game while getting a free education. Some, if not many, of these young men might not have enrolled in two and four year colleges and universities if not for this football program.

The positive publicity for the community is also uplifting and almost nowhere can you go that someone hasn’t heard of the football powerhouse at South Panola. And Panola’s airport will soon host planes of university coaches from other states interested in some our premier players who will be graduating this spring.

Let’s not take this for granted. Some communities never have this opportunity. If you can’t go, at least turn your television on to PBS.

Go Tigers!