South Panola vs. West Point

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 30, 2013

In what could be dubbed “the battle of the two best running backs in the state,” South Panola’s Darrell Henderson, No. 8 and West Point’s Aeris Williams, (not pictured), put on a show for the crowd. Henderson rushed for 185 yards and Williams for 193 yards in a special Thursday night football edition at Tiger Field. South Panola routed West Point 55-33. The Panolian photos by Andy Young

Henderson and Williams put on show for fans

By Angie Ledbetter

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If you thought you weren’t going to get your money’s worth at Thursday night’s game between the South Panola Tigers and the West Point Green Wave, you found out differently as both teams battled it out in a slugfest as the mighty Tigers won the battle 55-33. 

 It was the Darrell Henderson show as he scored six of the eight touchdowns and rushed 185 yards on 18 carries. The junior also had four receptions for 60 yards and two kickoff returns for 90 yards, one returned for a touchdown.

The Tigers got off to a slow start in the first quarter, scoring only six points but came through the second quarter scoring 22 points to take a 28-14 lead at halftime. 

Every time South Panola seemed to have a comfortable lead, West Point came storming back.

“That is something we talk about all the time,” said seven-year head coach Lance Pogue. “If you make some things happen and you get a little breathing room, so to speak, you have to go ahead and turn up the heat more. It seems like when we were doing that we would let them come back. Those are things we have got to learn from. When you do some things to give yourself a little bit of cushion, go ahead and finish it off and don’t let them have breathing room.”

Henderson scored on a five-yard pass from quarterback Rip Kirk but the PAT was no good with 1:02 left in the first. 

In the second quarter, Oluwain Hoskins scored on a one-yard run. The two-point conversion pass from Kirk to Antavion Reed was good for the 14-0 lead. 

On the West Point side of the ball, senior Dandy Dozen running Aeris Williams was the key all night long. Williams rushed for 193 yards on 31 carries and scored four touchdowns. 

Williams’ first score came in the second quarter at the 3:27 as he took the ball from the wildcat formation 50 yards for the touchdown. The PAT by Omar Lemus was good.

With 1:31 left on the clock, Tiger Henderson scored on a three-yard run and Matthew Williams’ PAT was good for the Tigers’ 21-7 lead.

West Point had 4th-and-3 on South Panola’s 44 and Lacequiu Starks took it all the way to the endzone on the next play and Lemus added his PAT putting the Green Wave back into the game with only 49 seconds left in the half.

On the very next play Henderson took the kickoff and returned it 67 yards for another Tiger touchdown with 39 seconds left in the half. Williams’ PAT gave the Tigers a 28-14 lead at the half. 

To start the second half West Point fumbled the opening kickoff. Tiger Turner Rotenberry recovered for the Tigers. Four plays later, Henderson scored on a 31-yard run. With the PAT by Williams with 11:24 left, the Tigers led 35-14.

Aeris Williams came through for the Green Wave once again, using the wildcat effectively, as he hit a hole and scored from 37 yards out with 7:54 on the clock. After Lemus’ PAT, the Tigers’ lead was cut to 35-21.

With 5:35 on the clock the Tigers were faced with a 4th and 3 on West Point’s 39 and went for the first down. West Point received a face mask penalty, to give the Tigers an automatic first down at the West Point 22. A few minutes later South Panola took a 41-21 lead after Henderson scored from one yard out after the PAT was blocked by West Point.

The Green Wave kept battling going into the fourth quarter. 

West Point had a 4th and 1 on the Tigers’ 21 to start the quarter and picked up a first down. At the 10:22 mark Williams scored on a five-yard run and Lemus’s PAT was good.

With 3:16 left in the game Williams took the ball from the one for West Point’s last score of the night and Lemus’ PAT was blocked by Reed.

The Tigers did not settle for their 41-33 lead so they kept grinding. Roosevelt Jones took the kick and returned it to West Point’s 32. On the next play Henderson took it to the endzone on a 68-yard run. With the Williams PAT, the Tigers led 48-33 with 2:55 left in the game.

The Tigers attempted an onside kick and Javarius Taylor recovered for the Tigers on West Point’s 45. Two plays later Jones scored on a 27-yard run. Williams capped off scoring with the PAT for the 55-33 win, giving the Tigers a much better victory than the 12-10 game last year.

Kirk completed nine of 24 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. He also punted five times for 108 yards with his longest being 41.

Jones had two carries for 45 yards with one touchdown. Hoskins had nine carries for 15 yards with one touchdown also. Demetrivs Market had one reception for 49 yards. Reed had two for 30 yards. 

Dashawn Lindsay had three punt returns for 10 yards and one kickoff return for 20 yards. Jones had one kickoff return for 22 yards.

Leading the Tigers on defense was Ryan Lee with 10 tackles. Other tacklers include Javon Norris, and Quandez Lee, eight; Lindsay, six; and Kitchens, four. Lloyd had three tackles and one fumble recovery and Turner Rotenberry had two tackles with one fumble recovery. Jamarcus Brooks had two tackles and three pass deflections. Taylor had one tackle and one fumble recovery.

The Tigers ended the game with 20 first downs and West Point had 19. West Point had 301 yards rushing and South Panola had 251. It was reversed in passing with South Panola’s 154 yards to West Point’s 43. The Tigers had a total of 405 yards and West Point had 344.

West Point had three fumbles and South Panola had one. The Tigers were hit with 10 penalties for 79 yards and West Point had five for 57. 

Controlling possession of the game was West Point with 29:32 and South Panola 18:28.

Henderson said he started off kind of slow because his hip was hurting him.

“The offensive line and I talked on the sideline,” Henderson said. “We said the linebacker was sliding out and I was reading the blockers and it all came back to me so I started hitting the holes.

“West Point was a physical team and tough,” Henderson continued. “I thought it was going to be a close game like 21-14. We came out focused and last year we got laid down. Williams is a great back and he challenged us.”

Coach Lance Pogue told the team after the game that every time we made a punch they’d throw one.

“It went back and forth but what I’m proud of the most is you had some opportunities to let it go when we’d get something going and they’d answer back, but you didn’t do that and you kept pounding for four quarters,” the coach said. “We’re 2-0 but not even close to where as good as where we’re going to get. You’ve got to stay hungry.

“Henderson had a career night and I’m glad he’s on our team,” Pogue continued. “He’s no doubt an SEC caliber player even though he’s a junior and capable of making a big play every time and he showed that tonight. Williams and he were the difference makers on both teams. Williams is about as good a back that I’ve ever faced in 21 years of coaching. He’s the best physical running back I’ve ever gone against.”

Pogue told the team he was very irritated at the first half. 

“West Point only had four first downs and I don’t think we could’ve played any better defensively the first half other than one run on a fake punt,” he added. “You’ve got to give them credit too. They kept grinding and believing they could hang in there and making some plays and then we were able to pull it away the last five or six minutes left in the game.”

The Tigers will travel to Meridian to take on the Wildcats Friday night at 7 p.m.